The Fansite Interviews...Jody Gray
Jody Gray, one
of the creators of the musical scores for the successful Cartoon Cartoon,
Courage the Cowardly Dog. With each episode delving into different
flavors of darkness, Jody Gray tests the realm of "weird"
with his own musical stylings. In addition, Mr. Gray has scored the
musical theme for Cartoon Network's "The Chuck Jones Show".
In addition he's done music for 26 online "Loney Tunes"
shorts and worked on the music for Warner Bros's online success, "Gotham
To start off what's it like to work on Courage the Cowardly Dog,
compared to your other projects?
J. Gray: "Courage" is both
fun and an enormous challenge. Director John R. Dilworth really
wants the music to be special and pushes us to be as original as
can be. Pretty much each episode is scored from scratch and is meant
to be heard as an integral part of the show as opposed to many contemporary
cartoons where music is kind of just background wallpaper. Much
of "Courage" is scored against the action to powerful
effect. We often ignore the fact that it's a cartoon. There's not
a lot of "Mickey Mousing" i.e. hitting every piece of
action with a corresponding music hit or cue. In fact, we treat
each "Courage" episode as a mini-movie and score it so
that it feels "long form."
Is a Courage soundtrack in the works anytime soon?
Gray: It's being discussed but nothing is in stone.
Which episode of Courage has the music you are most proud of?
Gray: At the moment two shows stand out: The Tower Of Dr,
Zalost and The Ride Of Valkyries.
explain the story behind Doc Gerbil's World?
Gray: It was John's idea, I believe. The classic switcharoo:
a gerbil tests cosmetics on Humans.
influenced the song in the episode King Ramses' Curse?
Gray: It's a musical joke. When trying to visualize what
would be musically so horrible that Eustace and Muriel would scream
and writhe in agony, we came up with really bad disco.
Here are the lyrics: "King Ramses, The Man In Gauze, He's No
Santa Clause, The Man In Gauze." Vocals were done by myself
and Andy Ezrin.
thinks the boat chase in Courage was inspired by John Woo movies.
Can you enlighten us on why you used such dramatic music in that
Gray: Don't recall any specific influence but I love Woo's
work. A lot of that kind of scoring originated with Stanley Kubrick.
Anyway, I believe you're talking about the choir used in "Human
Habitrail." We were simply scoring the opposite of what was
happening on-screen to rather disconcerting, somber and completely
surreal effect! It also played well against the utter silliness
of the "It's Doc Gerbil's World" song basically poking
fun at "It's A Small World (After All)."
compose songs differently if they will be used in more than one
Gray: Sometimes themes are rescored for different instruments.
Often we record long versions of thematic cues we know will be reused
and then cut and paste to fit a scene.
do you think music adds to the mood of a show?
Gray: Music is the subjective, emotional heart, providing
subtle insights while underscoring the characters behavior, set
and setting and their story. It should be an anchor but never obvious.
There are two reasons to be aware of music in a film: 1) when it's
brilliant or 2) when it doesn't work at all. Most of the time music
offers washes of color and is almost invisible but can really touch
cool to watch out for in the coming new episodes of Courage?
Gray: Gosh there are lots of great ones but The Ride Of the
Valkyries, Squatting Tiger Hidden Dog, The Mask Part 1 and 2 have
really cool music!
We'd like to thank Jody Gray for taking his time to speak with us
for all of his offerings to Courage the Cowardly Dog. Be sure to
listen (close your eyes, and use your ears) to an episode of Courage
to really appreciate the work behind the audio.