Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Stevie Salas’ excellent adventure scoring Bill and Ted’s

“I had to score that as if I really couldn’t play.”

Guitarist Stevie Salas on the Bill & Ted film set with George Carlin.
Guitarist Stevie Salas on the Bill & Ted film set with George Carlin.

“With the new Bill and Ted movie coming out, I’m getting a lot of messages from people,” says San Diego-bred guitarist Stevie Salas, who was only 23 when he played all the guitars and wrote the entire guitar score for the first film in the franchise, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989). “The end solo wasn’t in the script, it was added last minute.”

The opportunity came while Salas was a staff producer for David Kershenbaum (Joe Jackson, Tracy Chapman, Supertramp). “Well, one day David came into the studio and said he needed me to produce a new band called Warrant for a soundtrack for a new movie called Bill & Ted, and he also said it was about these two kids who loved music but couldn’t play, and then he showed me a script and told me I had to create a guitar score over the existing score to make it more exciting…. There was no blueprint for me to follow and no internet for me to explore, so I had no rules.”

Salas finished the score, or at least he thought it was done. “A few months later, I got a call. The end of the film was not testing well and they wanted me to come out and film a wild guitar solo for the end of the movie. So one night in the Palisades, at a garage dressed up like the set, we shot the whole guitar giveaway and wild guitar solo ending.”

When George Carlin’s character Rufus tears off a wicked solo, that’s former Oceanside high school student Salas playing the guitar. “That night, they dressed me and George Carlin up in identical outfits and shot me — and my brown hands — from the neck down and George from the neck up.... I didn’t try to make the end solo epic, I tried to make it funny since the film was a comedy.”

“So, in this scene we do the crazy solo, then for the very end, when Bill and Ted and the gals jump around, I had to score that as if I really couldn’t play. So I played the guitars left-handed and Winston A. Watson Jr. played the drums left-handed, and yes, that was me on piano too.”

“I hear there’s a tab of my wild solo, and it’s funny ‘cause I just made my hands move like crazy while filming, then later had to go back and score to my hands. There was no plan or anything worked out, I just followed my hands and that’s what you got.”

Salas has a photo of himself in wardrobe with Carlin. “Keep in mind it was 1987, 1988, that’s why my hair was bananas. George and I hung out all night and shared a trailer. He told me the most amazing stories all night long about his life. I’ve worked with everyone from Mick Jagger to Justin Timberlake since then, but that night with George was one I’ll always treasure.”

The film shoot was also the first (but not last) time he met the film’s stars Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter. “Everyone talks about the end George Carlin solo, but I had the most fun creating the Wyld Stallyns sound when Keanu and Alex were in the jam room. Party on, dudes!”

Salas, a Mescalero Apache Indian who chose a music career over joining the Coast Guard, has gone on to score several more movies, as well as branching into film production. One of his newest projects with Seeing Red 6Nations, The Water Walker, was just accepted for screening at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival. His documentary Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World received a 2020 news and documentary Emmy Award nomination.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

San Diego watersheds trashed by street sweeping negligence

"Many routes with high debris are designated as low priority," audit finds
Next Article

La Jolla Tide Pools meets Craftsman-style renovation

In its early days, the Kline House operated as La Jolla Sanatorium
Guitarist Stevie Salas on the Bill & Ted film set with George Carlin.
Guitarist Stevie Salas on the Bill & Ted film set with George Carlin.

“With the new Bill and Ted movie coming out, I’m getting a lot of messages from people,” says San Diego-bred guitarist Stevie Salas, who was only 23 when he played all the guitars and wrote the entire guitar score for the first film in the franchise, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989). “The end solo wasn’t in the script, it was added last minute.”

The opportunity came while Salas was a staff producer for David Kershenbaum (Joe Jackson, Tracy Chapman, Supertramp). “Well, one day David came into the studio and said he needed me to produce a new band called Warrant for a soundtrack for a new movie called Bill & Ted, and he also said it was about these two kids who loved music but couldn’t play, and then he showed me a script and told me I had to create a guitar score over the existing score to make it more exciting…. There was no blueprint for me to follow and no internet for me to explore, so I had no rules.”

Salas finished the score, or at least he thought it was done. “A few months later, I got a call. The end of the film was not testing well and they wanted me to come out and film a wild guitar solo for the end of the movie. So one night in the Palisades, at a garage dressed up like the set, we shot the whole guitar giveaway and wild guitar solo ending.”

When George Carlin’s character Rufus tears off a wicked solo, that’s former Oceanside high school student Salas playing the guitar. “That night, they dressed me and George Carlin up in identical outfits and shot me — and my brown hands — from the neck down and George from the neck up.... I didn’t try to make the end solo epic, I tried to make it funny since the film was a comedy.”

“So, in this scene we do the crazy solo, then for the very end, when Bill and Ted and the gals jump around, I had to score that as if I really couldn’t play. So I played the guitars left-handed and Winston A. Watson Jr. played the drums left-handed, and yes, that was me on piano too.”

“I hear there’s a tab of my wild solo, and it’s funny ‘cause I just made my hands move like crazy while filming, then later had to go back and score to my hands. There was no plan or anything worked out, I just followed my hands and that’s what you got.”

Salas has a photo of himself in wardrobe with Carlin. “Keep in mind it was 1987, 1988, that’s why my hair was bananas. George and I hung out all night and shared a trailer. He told me the most amazing stories all night long about his life. I’ve worked with everyone from Mick Jagger to Justin Timberlake since then, but that night with George was one I’ll always treasure.”

The film shoot was also the first (but not last) time he met the film’s stars Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter. “Everyone talks about the end George Carlin solo, but I had the most fun creating the Wyld Stallyns sound when Keanu and Alex were in the jam room. Party on, dudes!”

Salas, a Mescalero Apache Indian who chose a music career over joining the Coast Guard, has gone on to score several more movies, as well as branching into film production. One of his newest projects with Seeing Red 6Nations, The Water Walker, was just accepted for screening at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival. His documentary Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World received a 2020 news and documentary Emmy Award nomination.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

La Jolla Tide Pools meets Craftsman-style renovation

In its early days, the Kline House operated as La Jolla Sanatorium
Next Article

Jerry Andrews preaches the beauty of the savior

“Don’t doubt in the dark what God has shown you in the light.”
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close