Ken Leighton 6 p.m., Oct. 18
RIYL: Tangerine Dream, Tonto's Expanding Head Band
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Influences: Pete Rugolo, John Williams, Harold Arlen, Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, Orion
Parodi Fair - the husband/wife duo Starr Parodi and Jeff Eden Fair - specialize in sountrack music, as on the Lifetime TV show the Division. The Lifetime Channel is carried on around 11,000 cable and dish TV systems, serving over 85 million households nationwide. The edgy police drama stars Bonnie Bedelia and former Facts Of Life tomboy Nancy McKeon. Beginning with its second season, each episode’s dramatic score was composed by local duo.
“The producers are very involved with the musical direction, which we discuss together previous to composing each episode,” explains Parodi Fair via email correspondence, “and they also select the songs that are used.”
Do producers ever tamper with or reject music they’ve written? “Ouch! If you do enough work, eventually there's going to be a composition or two that will be replaced…most revisions or rejections happen as a result of changes made to the editing of the picture during the composition process.”
They say editorial tinkering has resulted in some of their favorite compositions, belying the notion that, in television, too many creative cooks dilute the broth. “If you have good communication with producers and/or director on any given project, the chances of a composition being rejected or revised are greatly minimized.”
The pair do not retain ownership or publishing rights to music composed specifically for the Division, but they say producers often buy rights to existing compositions from their catalog of soundtrack samples.
The program's “Testimonials” episode (first aired 2/16/03) focused on domestic violence against women, a subject Starr Parodi says she is all too familiar with, allowing her to draw musical inspiration from her personal experience. “In my own family, a very close family member was afflicted with Alzheimers disease which made him extremely violent, dangerous and abusive towards his wife. These episodes occurred at a time when the disease made him unable to even discern who his wife was and he viewed her as an intruder.”
Parodi Fair also scored the independent film Stuey, starring Michael Imperioli (Christopher on HBO’s The Sopranos), based on the true life story of three-time world champion poker player Stu “The Kid” Ungar, who died mysteriously in November 1998 at age 45, in a Las Vegas motel room.
“Sometimes the [movie soundtrack] pay can be lucrative, and at other times you end up working on a project merely because you believe in it or see an opportunity to compose some music that you end up loving.”