Just forget the words and sing along

Monday, February 17, 2014

Bonding Over the Music of the Transformers

It's been a while since I looked at the online catalogues for obscure film scores.  I was gazing at the site for Intrada, once again mulling over whether to buy their score for the Disney classic Condorman.

As I once again started going through their catalogue, checking out the other listings, my heart skipped a beat when I saw their latest offering.

The score for The Transformers: The Movie, as composed by Vince DiCola.

After I added those two CDs to my shopping cart and they were safely in the mail, I knew I had to inform one other about the score for The Transformers: The Movie...my best friend.

"Dude, one of my obscure film score sites has just released the complete score for Transformers," I texted him.

"How is this different from the one we have?" he texted back.

See, BotCon, the official, international Transformers convention, once released the complete score for Transformers: The Movie as a convention exclusive.  My best friend paid too much money for a copy off eBay, and then burned me a copy.  The score originally being released as a BotCon exclusive is covered in Intrada's catalogue description, then goes on to elaborate that this is the score's "first widely available release" and that it was newly mastered.

"I'm sold!" he texted back.  "I'm a sucker for a new mastering."  One of the many reasons why I like my best friend.  He understands how things like "new mastering" and "new digital transfer" are important.

But it was very important I share this news with my best friend because it was the music of The Transformers: The Movie that brought us together, or at least made me proclaim him to be my best friend.  I'm pretty sure I've blogged this story before, but I may as well blog it again.

The Transformers: The Movie came out just as I was discovering music.  With my own cassette player, and my growing love of movies, I began discovering these things called "soundtrack albums," which is all the music from the movie.  So when 10-year old me first saw The Transformers: The Movie, I logically deduced that it must have a soundtrack album, and that it must be mine.

And thus began my quest to obtain a copy of the soundtrack for The Transformers: The Movie.  Every time we went to a record store, I'd head straight to the soundtrack section and start looking under "T".  But I'd always come up empty handed.  But still, I persisted.  Through the rest of elementary school, through junior high, up through college, I'd scour every music store I came across for a copy of the soundtrack for The Transformers: The Movie.  This had become a sacred quest, and the album was my holy grail.

And it was in college where I finally met my best friend.  I was Mr. Awesome, doing my totally awesome radio show, and he was Mr. Awesome, as editor of the school paper.  In a bit of cross-promotional brilliance, I had the idea to start writing an opinion column for the paper in order to promote my radio show.  The Internet was just starting to come into its own, so rather than e-mail my submissions, I usually put my column on a 3.5" disc and dropped it off at the newspaper office.  Seeing some of the images of comic book heroes that he had decorated the newspaper office with, we started talking comic books.  The conversations grew longer, and before long, we'd spend whole evenings hanging out in the newspaper office talking about life, the universe, and everything.

"Everything" for us being cartoons of the 1980s.

When he was editor of the paper, he used to end each issue with two lists:  "Stuff I Hated This Month" and "Stuff That Got Me Through the Month."  As I was perusing the list of stuff that got him through the month, one entry made me heart skip a beat.  He wrote....

"My Transformers: The Movie soundtrack."

I sprinted up to the newspaper office.  "You have it?" I shouted.  "How?  Where?  Tell me!"  I then shared my tale of how obtaining a copy had become my holy quest.

He told me that he actually had two copies:  one on CD, and one on cassette.  And he told me he got them in a method I had never known of before.  He said that most stores do this thing called "special ordering," where if you as the clerk nicely, they'll order an item in for you to buy.  And he got his copies by special ordering them.

So, the next day, with some free time, I went on down to Tune Town, which was the mom and pop music store that used to be in downtown Camrose.  (I'm assuming it's not there anymore, as most mom and pop music stores aren't.)  I approached the clerk and asked if it would be possible for me to special order a copy of The Transformers: The Movie soundtrack.  Tune Town wasn't quite computerized yet, so he had to go leafing through the catalogues he gets from music companies.  "Yes, I can!" he told me.  "And you're in luck.  It's about to go out-of-print."  So I placed my order, I think I had to pay a deposit, and now all I had to do was sit back and wait.

But I didn't know if I could wait.  The end of the semester was coming.  What if it came in before I had to move home for the summer?  That's when I got a call from my best friend.  "Hey, come on up to the newspaper office.  I have something for you."

I went on up to the newspaper office, and he had a present for me.  He made me a copy of The Transformers: The Movie on cassette.  He dubbed the cassette because, this being the mid-1990s, CD-burners weren't commonplace yet.  But that's not all.  In order to break in the newspaper's new colour scanner, he made a copy of the liner notes to complete it.

I was able to play The Transformers: The Movie soundtrack on my radio show that week, and it was glorious.  That's one of the things I miss the most about college radio:  getting a new album and thinking "Man, I can't wait to play this on my show!"  My CD arrived from Tune Town about a week later, and I played it nonstop on my show for the rest of the semester, while I was studying for finals, and just about everywhere else.

With the arrival of the complete uncut score to go along with it, I finally decided to make my iPhone my primary MP3 player, as that's what I seem to mostly be using these days.  I had to chuckle when I copied the soundtrack album for The Transformers: The Movie into my iPhone.  My most coveted album for so long, and now I have a copy in my pocket where ever I go.

And it's all thanks to my best friend.

No comments: