1992 Ron Jones Interview

Lukas Kendall conducted the following interview with Ron Jones in March 1992 at the Sheraton Universal Hotel.

Kendall, 17, was visiting Los Angeles for the first time, at the invitation of the Society for the Preservation of Film Music, to cover their annual film music conference and Career Achievement Award; this was his first-ever in-person interview with a composer.

Jones, 37, had been dismissed from Star Trek: The Next Generation less than a year earlier, and his emotional temperature was hotter than in the 2010 interviews conducted for this box set. He patiently waited as Kendall struggled to get his hotel room’s keycard to work, and displayed plenty of personality in the ensuing discussion. Most of the interview originally appeared in Film Score Monthly #25 (September 1992).

Lukas Kendall: How did the producers’ approach to scoring the series change over your four years?

Ron Jones: What I experienced was that in 1987, when we started the thing, I dealt a lot with Robert Justman, because he was primarily in charge of the music. They had two co-producers and they both shared responsibilities to oversee it, but Bob Justman was in charge. He had come from the original series, so he had a certain philosophy, very musically literate, where he saw the music as being a real exciting part of the show, and he’d always come to the dub and bring up the levels and that kind of thing.

LK: I just watched first season’s “The Battle” the other day, and the volume of the music was surprising after the low mix of the current episodes.

RJ: Yeah, we went from there to the beginning of the second season, when the show sort of found itself, and then kind of branched out from there, and I felt more freedom to express. In other words, to answer your question, first season we were kind of walking in the footsteps of the original series. I watched the original series growing up, but I didn’t really have it ingrained in me. But it went from that sort of “following in their footsteps” to finding itself, its own, second and third season, and the fourth season…but it has gone to a…more subtle approach, being what the producer is expecting and requiring of the composers now, and that’s hard to do. If the story is a powerful story, it’s hard to hold back and be subtle and everything.

LK: When did it sort of change over? Did [second season producer] Maurice Hurley have any opinions on the music?

RJ: I never talked to him, ever, because other producers were involved in the writing. They’d be just over the writing, another guy would be just over the special effects and sound design, and it’s very much like a military organization, where everyone has their narrow responsibilities. Whatever comes across their desk they’re concerned with, and whatever comes across somebody else’s desk they’re concerned with, and occasionally they would come together and have some kind of interaction. But basically the way that the producers could control things so well is they limited interaction…you’re in little rooms and they would dole information to do that and don’t try to tell us how to do things. I mean, with me, it’s evident as you look back at the scores that I tried to do the best thing for each show and I tried to give it everything. If I was a producer, I would probably try to do it a little differently than they did it. The way that they’re doing it now is evidence that they went down a course, and I was not of that philosophy, so they got somebody else.

LK: Did you have to fight that course?

RJ: I fought every day—every day I was there was a fight. It wasn’t a bitter fight…the first season I actually felt I was getting ulcers going to the dub because I’d have to fight, for the score, for its place. There were times I’d say, “Take it out, that cue’s wrong,” and they’d say, “No, we like it, it kind of fills a void.” It wasn’t like I was trying to say, “This is my music, make it bigger than the screen.” I would assume that your audience knows that the composer understands that it’s underscore, but when it’s minus underscore, when you’re not even at a zero point anymore, when you’re fighting for it to even get into its right zone…. And then, when they have all of the tracks spread out, so that when you score the whole thing and it has a certain balance and color, and all of the sudden they start saying, “Let’s take out this part, and leave that part,” and all of a sudden it’s like a flute part or a woodwind part that was never meant to be really heard all of a sudden sticks out, because they took the French horns and the trombones and the synthesizer three out, and it begins to change your color. It’s a very unnerving process, and one that you can’t just take sitting down. You have to say, “You know this will really fit the story if we maintain the colors in their proper balance, because what I was going for was….” I was always fighting for all the things, trying to explain my symbolism, what was the reason for that melody, because I didn’t just do the [hums the Star Trek fanfare]. After the first season, we got over with the trauma of everyone having a new Star Trek. We felt we were big boys now, let’s go out and do something unusual.

LK: I noticed when I first heard the “Best of Both Worlds” CD that there was a lot more to the music than what was dubbed into the episode. The first example I can think of is at the end of Act Two, when the Borg ship is magnified on the viewscreen, and your music just starts blasting, but on the CD it didn’t come out so much.

RJ: Right, and what the audience is getting when they buy the CD is the composer’s viewpoint. When you’re watching the show, you’re watching the producer and executive producers’ viewpoint of the sound effects and everything that’s important. They’ll get a visual, and even though they spent thousands of dollars on that visual, if they don’t like it, they’ll say, “No, change it.” So, everything is subject to change, even in the dub, so when you watch a show, and something jumps out at you now, and you go, “Gee, I wonder if the composer meant that,” usually the composer didn’t mean for that at all to happen. Composers are trained to make music in a structure, where things are in balance, and if something’s out of balance, there should be a reason for it.

LK: What was it like working with the show’s sound effects and the dub?

RJ: I kept trying to find [in] every show an envelope for the orchestra to speak. When I’d look at the videotape of the episode they’d give me for the show, and I’d read the script, I’d say, “Aha! This is going to have a lot of Klingon bridge sound effects, and this is going to have that,” and I’d even call the sound effects people and ask what kind of equalization band, how many hertz is that room going to be in, because we kept getting destroyed by air conditioner sounds. When they dub a Star Trek, there are 128 channels, which is unbelievable. Eight tracks to maybe 16—they expanded it because they kept wanting to get more greasy control over it—is music, the rest is dialogue, and sound effects, and there’s like 16 channels of bridge sounds, and air conditioner sounds for the turbolift…. They’d go in and it’s a different sound, going on a loop, and that thing is just cranking, and those frequencies…you add a splash cymbal to an orchestra and all of a sudden the orchestra just changes color. I kept trying to the look at each show, and say, “You know what, I don’t need all those bass instruments, I need mid-range.” So, sometimes I’d call 14 violas and no violins and six French horns and certain percussion, something like that, and just have real thin D-50s and synthesizers up high, because I knew that the low end was going to be carried, and also because I didn’t want to cover up those beautiful sound effects. I kept telling them the sound effects are more elegant than the music in this show, because you’re creating a whole world. In animation, you have to create a whole world, you have this piece of paper that they put a camera on and it’s supposed to be live. And so it’s the same thing with that, the sound effects were very elegant, when in a 20th-century type of thing, the sound effects aren’t all that important because we all accept them. But when you’re on another planet, the way they walk on a surface, they have to come up with a new “how’s that going to sound.” The air pressure is different…they play with the ring modulation, they play with all those room sounds.

LK: The show gets all the Emmys for the sound, usually.

RJ: Right. And I think two or three of them were shows that I scored, “Best of Both Worlds Part I,” “Part II.” So, to answer your question, yes, it’s a fight, but it’s not like an anguishing battle-fight, it’s not a war. What it is, it’s a struggle, for each voice to be in there to be heard and to be part of it. I had to tell them at the end of the first season, “Look, I’ve screamed, I’ve yelled, I’ve told you guys, I’ve insulted everybody in the room, you’ve either got to decide if the blankety-blank air conditioner is more important than the orchestra. If you feel that way, I’ll call three instruments, and you’ll save a lot of money, and it’ll be just as loud, because you guys got sliders. Rather than have a 56-piece orchestra there, because you’re paying for all this stuff, and I have to write all these notes. I’m breaking my butt, so decide what you like the best.”

LK: So they gave in at that point?

RJ: They never gave in. They never gave in. What I’d do is sort of like lobbying Congress, you hope you get enough votes so that bill passes…

LK: Then it’s vetoed, and…

RJ: Yeah, then it might go to committee, and you know, you might…. I just had to sit on the stage and be there and argue my point, without getting in the way, because I already notched the music and made the dynamics fit. I did a lot of work myself, so the sliders didn’t have to do the work. I didn’t just write the music forte, then they’d slide it and you’d lose a lot. So, if that gives you a detailed answer to the question, without saying, “Yes, it was a battle,” or “no,” that’s my answer. It was always a struggle, and I don’t how Dennis [McCarthy] copes with it, because you have to cope if you want to work in it.

LK: One of the ways you got around the dub, that I could always hear, at least, was like a “synthesized ostinato,” the sequencers and so forth.

RJ: Keyboard Three. And that was the guy that was like my DH in a baseball lineup. He was never in the room, he always went direct onto tape, on his own tracks, in stereo. And that guy could be written…I kind of convinced them that it was like sound effects that you could bring up and down, it wasn’t really important to the score, it’s kind of there, and so they kind of played with that thing. To me, it’s like if Bernard Herrmann was scoring now, the way he used rhythm, not just to carry the punctuation of the melody and harmony but as a psychological effect…when you’re in space and you’re in a computer-enhanced environment, and the computer talks to you, you’re dealing with digital info—the music should take on a digital format too. So that was always to me like MS/DOS or something, it was always a computer language, and there was always a lot of symbolism in what those notes were. You take those four notes, or whatever it was, and it had to do with the mystery of a planet…like in “Where Silence has Lease.” They’re in a place where you can’t figure out anything, and you never even see the bad guy until the fifth act, and then not until the end of the fifth act, and it’s a guy that looks like a cat….

LK: Now, I noticed they tracked some of that music into the end of “Booby Trap.”

RJ: They did, because I scored some stuff they didn’t like. The music editor [Gerry Sackman] and I went upstairs and pulled out a couple of things and—aha—that worked. At the end of that show, I wrote a very unusual, big cue, it was very strange. In fact, the producer said, “That’s very French” or something, and I don’t know where he got the word “French” but…. Anyway, when you’re using that kind of ostinato thing, it was to glue the mystery together. When it made sense at the end, it made sense. Or the other thing, “Night Terrors,” that was a case where you’re being called by something way offstage, and it’s in people’s minds but it’s not, and you have to have something to hang it together. You just can’t hum a tune and say, “That’s going to be the mystery tune,” you have to come up with a little device, and it turned out that the little device was part of the song the crystal voice thing was saying to them, “one moon circles.” And I hired a choir to sing that, because you can’t have a cello sing the words. There were actual words spoken.

LK: That didn’t come through in the episode.

RJ: No, it didn’t. It was buried in there.

LK: It just sounded synthesized.

RJ: Right. We had recorded a synthesizer on pads that were the same notes, but it couldn’t speak. They were always insecure about having voices on there, you know. Even with the Borg show, when you first see the Borg, on “Best of Both Worlds, Part I,” that was a requiem: “Here’s the end of mankind, this thing is coming!” Let’s be serious, you can’t just write a typical “this week’s episode” show, this isn’t another episode of Wagon Train, this was the end of mankind as we know it. When something cataclysmic happens, people get on their knees. No matter what they believe, they get on their knees. So I tried to take a form, like a requiem, and take everybody almost into a rarefied atmosphere. This is not just, “Well, somebody’s going to blow us out of the sky, and we’ll be smart and figure it out.” I wanted it to be like “Goodbye,” like an epitaph for humanity. Like it’s over. And the metallic sampled choir in there was supposed to represent that. If you listen to the soundtrack album you can hear that, but if you watch the show, again, it’s editorial control. I think it was Gene Roddenberry and Rick [Berman] who really felt insecure, because Rick would always relay to me, kind of indirectly, that they’re worried about it.

LK: Was it always in the name of Gene?

RJ: Yeah, and Peter [Lauritson] would say, “I don’t know if you should go that far out.” But I gotta give them a real compliment, that even if they disagreed with me, they always gave me the rope to hang myself with. They didn’t just say “no.” And I could have been dismissed any time during the 42 episodes that I did, but they kept calling me back. They hated me, but they kept calling me back.

LK: What was the last straw, then?

RJ: I don’t know, I don’t want to speculate. I think you build up things over time that bug you, and somehow whatever bugged them was it because they never were clear. I think for legal purposes, because some other employees that had been let go had decided to take them to court, it was like gag thing, like nobody could say anything. It was like, “Uh—goodbye, we’re calling somebody else.” So I don’t know, and that was right after they said, “Great score.” I kicked butt on a score, this “Drumhead” show, a real bummer show…

LK: I was thinking, that last one was one they probably would have liked!

RJ: They dug it! They dug it, they went, “Yeah [claps hands], this is great,” and then the next thing you know, you’re not there. I don’t think it was because of a creative thing, I just think whatever I was doing got the best of them and they said, “Hey, we don’t need this.” But I didn’t try to be an irritant, and also, really, the last two years I was doing it, I wanted to get off, I wanted to get onto something else. When you’re involved in a show like that, it’s just so all-consuming, you can’t even have lunch with anybody, you can’t do anything business-wise outside of it. Here I am working day and night on Star Trek and here I am trying to have a life, and for four years, it’s like being in a tube. You’re in Hollywood, but you’re in a tube. People say, “Oh yeah, don’t call Ron, too, he’s busy with Star Trek.” So not only does everyone think you’re busy, and you are, but you want to get out of it. At the same time, you want to scream and say: [makes motion as if to scream but no words come out]. It’s wonderful, part of me is segmented and is [in] a camp that just loves it, loves the energy, but it’s a very naïve side. The more-informed, reality segment of myself says, “Please don’t ever put yourself in a position where you’re doing a series that long.” And every time I came there, I kept telling myself, “What movie am I doing?” I’d come in there and I’d say to Peter, “Okay, what’s the movie this week?” Because I refused to think of it as Star Trek. I refused to write the same licks, to write the same thing, to call the same orchestra. There was a different band for every show—I never had a Star Trek band. One thing I didn’t like about the first series was that the same nine shows that were scored were used over and over, and you knew when the bad guy was coming, and when the ship is going to blow up, and it was the same licks. You could almost not have the sound on and do your own score just by humming along. Which may be part of its charm, maybe.

LK: I think it is, actually.

RJ: It’s like having an Uncle Chumley that you know very well, who is going to say the same thing. But I felt that this new show had more sophisticated goals and more global concepts that they were trying to put across than the original series, which was more swashbuckling. This was a little more like a “Library of Congress Presents” version of Star Trek, it was a little more Smithsonian, so the music should be taking you to a different world. If I was in my living room watching the show, would I want to hear the same thing, or would I want to be, “Wow, let me watch this thing, it’s grabbing my attention!” I used to love doing the teasers for the show, because it would just set you off in a different world. And one show that was on just tonight was the one where Riker is undercover on a planet, “First Contact.” On that one, I told them that I was going to score that one as if I’m a composer on that planet, that everyone from Star Trek is an alien, which it was. So I came up with licks and different percussion things that were totally not part of the normal mode and scored everything from a different point of view. And of course the producers, they look at me like, “Oh, no, well, Ron’s on one of his things again.” But I came in on every show like that, like on “The Royale.” On that one they all came in and said, “This show sucks, Ron. What are you going to do with it?” They didn’t even care what I did with it! They just knew Ron’s going to do something different. Thank God. That was the one time they said “Thank God Ron’s here.” And I said, “Okay, I’m actually going to score it like it’s a story, like you’re in the novel, and then everything outside of it will be kind of synthetic and lonely, like they’re out there looking in on this thing.”

LK: Yeah, as soon as the characters go through the doors to the hotel…

RJ: It just bang, changes, saxophones and everything, picks up this big band thing and plays it to the hilt. Played it really corny, corny to the hilt. Which made it hip. I thought it was a neat opportunity to pull out some different stops and not have it be the same. So if I ever write my memoirs about it, I would say that each one was like a child, and this one’s a different child, that’s a different child, and I have lots of children. I don’t have one or two children that I keep pushing out there on stage to do the same tap dance. They’re all different.

LK: How do you think your music ended up developing over the four years? To me, it seemed to go from more electronic at the beginning to fully orchestral with scores like “The Best of Both Worlds.”

RJ: Well, I had a full orchestra from the very beginning. In fact, the first two seasons, we had a big orchestra, and they kept tailing it down. They kept saying, “Let’s get it smaller and smaller.” It sounded more orchestral because I tried to write more mid-range, so when I hired the band, the band was in the center of the range, where a speaker is on TV, because that spoke well. I’d sit there at a dub and take my own notes from what was working from each show. I was like a Toyota factory, “How can we make the car better, how can we sonically punch through, since these guys are only going to be concerned about the air conditioner, where’s that frequency?” So it gave you the appearance of more orchestral color as time went on because I kept finding the notches where they couldn’t blank me out. But there was a big orchestra the whole first season. I tell you, the music department must have gone well into the red on the music. I’d get on the phone, and many times I cried. I got on the phone and I’d say, “I can’t score this with seven violins.” I’m a grown man, and I’m crying. I’m saying, I can’t do this story, like Tasha’s goodbye [“Skin of Evil”], here’s a seven-minute scene where somebody just died that was part of the main crew, the first time they’ve had a main character die. I said, “I’m not going to do this to the audience. I—just—can’t.” I’m sitting at the piano and I get up and I’m on the phone and I just say I can’t. I know we’re over budget, send me the bill for the overage, and I have paid for overage, out of my own pocket, I have paid. The money is not important, the importance to me is doing the job right. I would rather die knowing it was done right than to…I just can’t see it screwed up.

LK: Over your four years and 42 scores, were there every any scores or cues you felt “oops” about?

RJ: I had more scores that I rejected myself, in my office, that I could probably score three or four episodes at the end of a season with. I had stacks that would never make it to the delivery person that would take them to Paramount. I did a lot of trial and error, I played with them against the picture with my computers, and I would kind of know what I was getting into and have a feel for it. There was no guesswork, because when you’re on the scoring stage, you don’t have time to tear it apart, it better be right.

LK: Were the producers always at the scoring stage?

RJ: There was always somebody who took the responsibility to be there, but it wasn’t always a producer, it would be chain of command. The executive producer was never there—but there would always be the responsibility, perhaps of a producer or associate producer or both, and they always add their feelings, whether they liked it or not. I’d always wait and see after the music was recorded, and there was dead silence. It was a good take, and then you have to wait to hear okay, it’s cool, or not, from the producers. There were a couple of shows I was scoring on my own, and we’d go to the dub, and they’d go, “Why did you do that?” And I’d say, “Well, you weren’t there! I did what I had to do, I couldn’t call you on the phone every five minutes.”

LK: Did the producers ever try to circumvent you with some assignments? Whenever another composer filled in for an episode, it always seemed to be for you, like Jay Chattaway on “Tin Man” and “Remember Me,” before he came on to the show full time, and George Romanis on “Too Short a Season.”

RJ: Well, George Romanis never filled in for me, it was a favor out of an old relationship. I was taken aside very kindly and very sweetly, and it was kind of first-season paybacks and relationships prior to me that they were cashing in on, and they did that. They did that with some of the guys who did the original series, then we went on, with Dennis and me most of the time. I think what happened too was that I went to the Soviet Union. I cleared this months ahead—I said, “I know what the production schedule is.” They print it out, it’s wonderful, you can see where you’re going to be—if we’re doing every other one, which we had done for years, therefore during this particular period, I wasn’t doing anything, and I had to go to the Soviet Union. I was invited to teach their composers how they score things here. It’s an honor, so I said, “I’m going.” Then I go, and they say, “By the way, we need you.” And I’m in Latvia! Or another time I had the whole schedule free, they said, “Oh, we’re running out of bucks, and we’re going to track such and such a show.” I have a little kid and he gets off summer break, and he gets off spring break, just like normal kids, and you can’t just take off a week, he’ll miss spelling and everything. So we plan our family time, and we said, “Let’s go to Florida.” They were going to track it. [Music editor] Gerry Sackman and everybody said, “Go, go, fine.” Then I get down there, and in about mid-week I get a call: “I don’t think it’s going to work out, we’re not going to track it…we’re going to have to score it.” So it was sort of like there was no conspiracy, there was nothing like that, but it was just always weird. Unless you’re within a five-mile calling distance…what it felt like was like being a Pizza Hut guy, a pizza delivery.

LK: “Score in ten minutes or your money back!”

RJ: Yeah, right, deliver it, and it’ll be piping hot, no matter if it had any inspiration or thought to it at all. That was just an awkward situation for me, as well as them in that I’m 3,000 miles away one time, and another time I was 11,000 miles away…and I say, “Hey, just call somebody, call somebody and…”

LK: Call Dennis!

RJ: In fact, I asked Dennis. One show I had a priority on because I had done a series for Disney, called DuckTales, and the vice president of television there says, we’ve got this one special for NBC, we want Ron to score it. And this guy went from hating me to liking me to hating me. So I said, “Okay, I’ve got to do this,” so that was another time. I called Dennis myself, I said, “Dennis, before I tell them that I’ve got to score just this one thing, will you please cover for me?” And he covered for me [on “The Dauphin”]. So I always had this great friendship and openness between me and Dennis and everybody, so there was no big deal, but it did kind of bug them. They’re working night and day on it. The composer makes royalties, he flies in, does a score, he gets to go to Florida, he gets to go this or that. They’re working back here in Hollywood, and how dare he, we’ll show him. That was kind of the vibe I got, is that they were trying to show me something.

So, I don’t know, you think about it because I tried to do my very best. I felt like I died several times. I live near St. Jove’s hospital, in Burbank, and there were many times I worked so hard, that I’d get in my car—I could barely hold the steering wheel—and I would just drive to the emergency [room], and I would get there, and they would say, “Well what’s wrong with you,” because you have to fill out a form, and I’d say, “I think I’m gonna die.” They’d say, “What category is that?” I’d say, “Well, I think I’m going to die, I don’t know how to explain it, but every system in my body is collapsing.” And so, those guys, no matter how they viewed the music, they never knew the blood that was spilt and they never will. And I never want to work under a situation where I’m put under that without some understanding. They’d say, well, we’ll give the composer two weeks, that way we’ll have two people. Dennis or me, if we had done every episode, would have been buried up at Forest Lawn, dead, because the kind of notes you have to write, the kind of score that show demands…it’s not like a sitcom, you can’t do play-ons and play-offs and exist. I wish them all the best, I’m really happy for them and I don’t hold anything against them. I got a lot out of it and I put a lot into it. I score for me. Ultimately, I score for me. And when I’m creating those little children, I’m creating them because I like to procreate them. And that’s just a vehicle, the fact that they call me to do it and pay me. I would have done it for nothing, just to be creative.

LK: Nowadays, as I understand, the producer control of the music is very tight. There is a term for the bombastic scoring that they want to avoid, “Mister Military,” and it’s not to be used, nor are unusual instrumentation, electronics, etc.

RJ: I think they reduce the chord selection too, you can only do it in D major, because I hear the same chords and same notes. I don’t have any disrespect for the composers doing it, and anything negative I say would be interpreted as sour grapes, so I can’t comment on their thing, but it’s a very neutral, wallpapery type of texture, melodically, harmonically, even electronically, it’s very placid. If I was in space, and I was going to astronaut camp, I’d be excited, my adrenalin glands would be out to here. I tried to assume that I’m a member of the ship, that I’m going to feel the same feelings, and you can’t feel the same feelings and write neutral. If you were on the bridge and here’s space, and you’re gong from one planet to another and there are all these systems, how could you not be in awe? That’s why, whenever there was a story like the one with the nanites [“Evolution”], and the guy created this capsule, I captured his wonder. Here’s this system, and he wanted to watch this one thing happen, and Wesley was hanging with this guy, too. A lot of the wonderment of space, of what environment they were in, aside from whatever mystery the story was…there are these moments. And the one with the Aldeans, too, the one where they stole the children off the Enterprise [“When the Bough Breaks”], it’s the same kind of thing. I put a wonderment of not just the technical aspects, but the wonder of being where they were, of going where none have gone before. I remembered that, that was like ingrained in my mind, whenever the score was written, those words were always there for every note. It wasn’t just “I’m going to submit myself to this week’s regime.” It was like I kept holding that like a candle burning through every score.

LK: Did they bother trying to say things to you, to instruct you?

RJ: They did, but I ignored it.

LK: So it was like “Ron, no more themes,” but it was just like…

RJ: They would say “Too much Ron Jones.” And you know, I felt like my dick was 40 feet high! That’s how I feel, because I don’t want it to be that big, I’m embarrassed when it’s too big, I want it to be appreciated in its proper size, like a Michelangelo, like it’s the human body. But they blow everything out of proportion, so it’s either nothing, you don’t have a penis, or you have a giant one, but they can’t ever balance it, you know? In a way, that’s the way they feel about it, too. Like whose penis is going to be bigger, the producers’ or mine? “Composer’s not going to have a bigger penis than me this week!” I was always amazed at the load they had to carry, so…if being creative takes so much more energy, they did give a lot of space. And I think they counted on their writers and the composer to set off in another world and still dream and bring that magic back.

LK: They’ve had the same regime and the same writers for a couple of years now, and it means they’ve been able to get into some character background. First season, it was like anyone could say anyone else’s lines.

RJ: Right, that’s true, that’s true. I kept waiting for them to break out of that. They did a lot with Data. He went from this “how-are-you” Gumby character…

LK: “I-want-to-be-human.”

RJ: To…like “Data’s Day,” and the one where he created a daughter [“The Offspring”]. That one touched me enormously doing that one. The part where she dies, that was really moving, and I had to be sparse. I only used four notes on that whole thing. There was no melody, no orchestration, there was just four notes going through that whole thing, but those four notes meant something, because that was part of the look, when her life was coming.

LK: Her life only got to be four notes long.

RJ: Yeah. There was a lot of symbolism in the whole thing, you should be able to hear the score and the whole story comes out…the emotion, if you could cut aside the emotion, just put it on a plate, a side order of emotion, that’s what the score should be. Totally. Apart from all other baloney that goes on.

1996 Ron Jones Interview »