“Thou Shall Not Fall…” The Legend G Tom Mac
When I found out I was going to get to interview G Tom Mac, I almost fell over. The man behind “Cry Little Sister” was going to be able to talk to me for a bit and I was going to get to pick his brain right back. This is just such on honor for me, and I wish I could have had it out before his show tonight at Contamination Weekend. I’m sure the show went well though. He’s to great of a musician not to. There is absolutely nothing I can tell you in this forward that is not explained in great detail in the interview. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I liked doing it. Let’s crank the volume all the way to 11…because here come’s….
“Thou Shall Not Fall…” The Legend G Tom Mac
Malice: Wow! Where do you start with the legendary G Tom Mac? So many questions to ask, and not enough time in the world! Let’s open with talking about your music. How would you describe your style of music? What genre do you think it fit’s into?
G Tom Mac: Well, I think that…it’s always a hard question to answer and I get asked it alot…I think it’s certainly in the eclectic mode of rock. It has elements of pop. I like to think I’m writing about things that are interesting to me. As far as lyrically, I like to write about things I think people can relate to. sometime’s I end up writing about things people don’t relate to, but later do relate to. It’s kind of interesting how that works out sometimes. So I guess its eclectic rock with certain pop elements to it. It’s always a very difficult question to answer…
Somebody once said to me, I can’t remember when this was, but I think it was in Germany…he said “Your music has the elements of Depeche Mode…but not really…and the lyrical sense of Elvis Costello or Neil Young.” At the time I thought it was a bit of a mad statement at the time…it wasn’t an insult, Ha Ha! I do like Depeche Mode and all that stuff so…Interesting someone’s opinion, but I think that is the closest anyone has gotten as far as comparing it to something.
Malice: I’ve read that you have been into music since you were 13 with your first band at 16. What got you into music?
G Tom Mac: I think it was just in me soul. I’ve loved music since I was a kid…as far back as I remember really. Come around the time I was breaking into teen-hood, I was learning the guitar…I fiddeled around with the bass a bit…and around the age of 13 or 14 I found I could sing a bit. I was just inspired by so many different things. In my house my Dad liked opera, and that wasn’t my kind of thing, but I listened to it. He used to play Jazz and other things…There was always a wide array of music around the house. But then on my I own there was a discovery of many different kinds of musical forms. From Jimmy Hendricks all the way up to Depeche Mode and stuff like that. I was very inspired by things that had a bit of an edge to it. Certainly things like Led Zeppelin were things I was attracted to….The Beatels…you can’t go wrong with that stuff…It’s really hard to nail it down as to what inspiration got me down my road. That’s why my songs in a way…I mean I’m certainly not a country guy…I just like things that are soulful.
Malice: You’ve done a lot of work as far as doing songs for television shows and feature-length films. What got you into that?
G Tom Mac: I started off into films with a guy named Jerry Bruckheimer, you probably know him. He’s done everything from Top Gun all the way up to Pirates of the Caribbean. Anyway, he discovered me early on, and liked me a lot. Well there was this movie of his in the 80’s called Defiance that he produced, and he asked me if I would write a song…the main song…I ended up writing four or five songs for it. I quite liked the idea of making music to put against the screen. It just felt like a real passionate thing to do, for me. And you had to really write for a visual right?So I just got into that…and having done that film other directors like Cameron Crowe, who had just done Fast Times At Ridgemont High after that last one I did for Jerry Bruckheimer, he asked me to do a song for that movie. One thing just lead to another…it’s not like I ran out and said “Oh, I have to find another movie to do.” It was just kind of people came to me, and I just fell into the mix, as the say. I just went on the road and came back. The TV stuff happened a bit later on in the 90’s when I took an interest in certain TV shows. It was before the vogue of having songs in TV shows. I was a bit ahead of it. I kind of remember some of the shows. I’ve been used in everything from Vampire Diaries to… Ha Ha, “The Ellen DeGeneres Show!” I don’t even keep track of it anymore. Now, Witchblade, was something that happened around 2000…2001. The guy, I think his name was Ralph Hemecker…He was a big fan of mine because of “Cry Little Sister.” So I started pitting songs of mine in the show and he picked out some. It was really interesting. It was a different kind of show, but it was in my world if you will. It was a somewhat of a super hero girl against vampires and any other source of evil. It was kind of cool show.
Malice: Have you ever done any shows or movies people would be surprised to see you attached to?
G Tom Mac: It’s kind of all out there. I did Chasing Amy. I don’t think anything has been a departure…There’s this television show every night called “Extra”…the news magazine show, they play a lot of my stuff. It’s interesting really. I don’t watch that show much, but I have watched it and heard my songs on there. Quite a few times actually…I see them in my royalty statements. It’s funny, because there are a lot of times I see my royalty statements and I’ve never even heard of that show. Oh! “The Bonny Hunt Show”…I don’t even know what that show is! And they air a lot of my stuff on there as well. “Big Bang Theory” this year had one of my songs. That was kind of a stretch I guess..I don’t know. The music producers of these shows just pick things they like, and if it fits in the show then well…But to answer your question, I’m never really surprised anymore…
Malice: What allows you to be more expressive? The work you do for yourself or the work you do on a T.V show or movie? Which do you prefer?
G Tom Mac: It’s always more expressive when I’m working on my own stuff, because it’s really just me isn’t it. So basically it’s just me working towards a…You know I’m not surrounding myself with someone elses story, like in a film or a T.V show. It’s always easier when your asked or given permissions to write a song for a movie. Not that I go and write the song about the movie. It just gives me instant inspiration. When your writing for your own album of songs, it’s really on you. Your really want to connect what albums mean. I like the idea of connecting a group of songs so that the fans can have a period of my life to listen to. Or just give them things that they can relate too.
Malice: I have always been a big Kiss fan, so you can imagine when I had read that you wrote the song “IsTthat You” I decided I had to ask you about it. How did they get ahold of the song? Whats the story behind it?
G Tom Mac: I wrote it when I was on the road. It was somewhere in Minnesota I remember…I thought maybe it would work. I was writing my first or second album…I can’t remember really…But I thought maybe it would work for me. But later, I just didn’t feel it was fitting in with the rest of the songs. This guy, Vinnie Poncia who was producing Kiss at the time, had asked me if he could play it for Kiss, because I wasn’t going to use it on my album. So I said sure, I didn’t really think anything of it. He called me like three days later and told me he played it for Paul and Gene and they freaked out…they loved it, and they said they want to do it. So I said “Really?” So he asked if I was sure I didn’t want to use it on my album? I told it him it wasn’t really working for me, so let me go and make some money else where. So they did it, and I thought they did a great job! They really made it their own.
It was a pretty cool demo I did…I haven’t heard it in a long time. I’m actually going to release it on an album I’m going to put out this year on a sort of greatest movie/things that other people have done kind of thing. I’m still trying to figure out how to put this compilation together properly. But the actually Demo of that still stands out.
Malice: Now comes the question I have always wanted to ask! In high school I was a bit of a Goth Kid. (still am really) So “Cry Little Sister” was a a little bit of an anthem for all of us outcasts. What inspired you for the lyrics to that song? What are the lyrics about and how do they relate to that period in your life?
G Tom Mac: Well, I had gotten a copy of the script by the Director, Joel Schumacher. I had always had the pleasure of looking at a piece of the film to get a sort of vibe for it before. But they said they were still shooting the movie, and they wanted to see if they could send me the script and get a good idea. Maybe write a theme song for the movie. So I read the script, and i was really quite taken by it. I thought it was really good. I was living in New York at the time, and there were a lot of really sort of demonic things going on in New York at the time. It was a very dark town at the time, and there were a lot of dark people in my life at the time too. There were just a lot of things going on. It seemed between what was going on in that script and what was going on in my life at the time. Something paralleled itself. I just started to write…and I’ve never been the type to write a song about whats going on in the movie…I’ve always thought that was kind of lame! I always like writing the peripheral of the film…something that gives the vibe but doesn’t reference it in a direct way. You know what I mean? So basically I thought that vampires were typically all a family. And they are a very lonely family and I felt in my world the same way. You know some sense of alienation. And I also felt there were a lot of people who felt that way, like vampires in my world. Like they were just trying to find a way to live, a way to fit in. To answer that question, and a lot of people have asked me what the lyrics are about…It’s about finding a family and being accepted. It’s the best way I can put it really. To answer what the some is about and every little lyric…I thought when I wrote the chorus, I started to here a bit of a choir in my head. The whole “Thou shall not fall” thing…it was redemption in a way for the vampire. That’s the best way to explain it really. Did I do OK?
Malice: I think you summed it up pretty good. It really explains why it would be a sort of “Goth Anthem.” At its heart it really is about despair and yearning for acceptance…you really feel that when you hear it.
G Tom Mac: It has gotten to such a different level, I had no idea! Like huge Eminem fans are now buying my music and discovering all my older stuff because he sampled me on his new album. It was really unbelievable, I had no idea he was a big fan of mine. I got a phone call one day by one of those guys at the recording studio who I had worked with. And he said they were working on the new album today and he wants to sample your song; he’s a big fan. It was interesting you know? You never know where that stuff goes. A band called Season After did a cover of it…It continues to find its way into many different forms of music.
Malice: Well it certainly does get around, doesn’t it? That being said, let’s lead into my next question: Did you ever think in the beginning that song would be as huge as it is? Like were you ever thinking to yourself “God that’s epic!”?
G Tom Mac: I did not think that. In fact, I didn’t even think it would make it in the movie. I thought “Well I love it.” About a week later when I sent the demo to Joel…they were filming the movie in Santa Cruz. He called me at like 10 in the morning on a Saturday, I remember that clearly. He said “This song is unbelievable! It’s the theme to my movie! I can’t belive you have not seen a piece to this movie. If you could only see the footage I’m shooting right now.” I thought “Well that’s cool!” I have not even seen this movie, and had no idea howe it was going to turn out as brilliant as it did. So I went back and did the final recording of it. e wanted me to play some pieces for throughout the film. We had the choir in the one spot. It was quite fun really. I had no idea it would work how it worked in the film. It was just one of those things you never know. It just taught me I should rea more scripts and not look at the film! Ha Ha!
What was interesting is, when it came down to who was going to record the song for the movie. The record company, that being Atlantic, they wanted to have Phil Collins do it or…Oh God Steve Perry from Journey…They had all these ideas of these Mega-Rock…Not even Mega-Rock, more like Mega-Pop bands really.They just wanted a really big name to do it, so with all due respect Joel let them audition these people. And he just said, “No, No, No, No…the only one to do this is G.” And that’s what it came down to. That’s how I became not just the song writer but also the artist too. Joel just said, “You are the voice of the movie. Everything I do from here on out is based on your song. Your voice is Keifer’s part, Jason’s part, Everyone’s part. I thought to myself, “O.K.” and then I watched the movie and I kind of got what he was talking about. Anyway, I’m proud to be part of it. What can I say?
Malice: When the studios did the second one, did they bring you in on it? What kind of part did you have in it?
G Tom Mac: I didn’t want to do anything. They had talked to me about it, and I read the script. I just thought they were going straight to DVD with this thing…My deal with Warner Brothers said they could license the song from me for anytime for The Lost Boys. So they licensed it through me. Then they came back to me after the film was done and said, “Listen, we really need to have some validation here. We want to know if you would do a music video for “Cry Little Sister” for the DVD.” I said, “Yeah, as long as I can have full creative control. I wanna do “Cry Little Sister” with a little more industrial feel to it. So after it came out I had fans saying how the only thing that was worth it was the bonus video of “Cry Little Sister.” It’s one of those things that if it would have been a really good film, I would have done my version in the film. I just wasn’t keen one where it was going. It wasn’t bad but…
I’m actually in the process of doing a thing with Joel Schumacher, and turning “Cry Little Sister” into a movie. I’ve already written a graphic novel, that is actually going to become a real novel. It will also be a game. We’ve begun a deal with Electronic Arts. I’ll be singing in the game, I think it will be really cool. I mean we are ways away from this being real, but there is still enough to talk about.
Malice: Wow! That really sounds like an interesting concept for a game. I do hope you keep me in the loop as it progresses. Is there anything else you can tell us about it?
G Tom Mac: It’s kind of a bit on the girl power thing. It sort of a….Well I don’t want to give to much of it away…I mean it does touch on vampires obviously. But it also deals with a bit of…Adam and Eve meets Cleopatra meets the future. The world is a bit destitute. The sister of Shangri-la is our hero. It’s interesting how when I wrote the song, there are almost these type of characters in it. Like Blue Masquerade, he’s an image but I’ve made him into a character. I can’t really get into the story with you, but there is an interesting way that I’ve taken the song for the graphic novel and the game. The graphic novel should hopefully be out next year.
Malice: Well, I look forward to it all! It sounds really cool, and I can only imagine how truly epic it will be. Next I would like to talk to you about Emerging Past and your song “Soul I Bare.” How did you get attached to this project?
G Tom Mac: Well Tom came across me. Basically he was a fan of Lost Boys and also a fan of my work. He had asked Brooke McCarter, who is in the movie and also in The Lost Boys, he had him put in a call to me. He asked me if I would be interested in scoring it as well as doing a theme song. So I took a look at the film, and it looked like it had a cool vibe to it. It was still unedited at the time, and I thought “Well, I have some time.” I had this song “Soul I Bare” that I was kicking around. I basically finished it up, I just thought it would work well for the film. Then one thing lead to another and I ended up writing 5 or 6 more songs for the film, besides scoring the entire film. Which I enjoyed doing! I brought in some other artists to finish the soundtrack and we put the rest of the soundtrack together. I hope it does well out there.
Malice: It really does look like it’s going to be a fantastic movie, I can’t wait for my copy of it. Let’s talk about your new album. You sent me two songs off of the album, and they sound REALLY GOOD!! You said earlier your albums describe periods of your life, what period is this new album about? What message or mood do you hope to convey?
G Tom Mac: I think it’s really about now. When I speak about the period, it’s more about the period I’m in. I don’t really like delving into the past much. I’m not much of a retrospective kind of writer or artist. I think it’s about dealing with so many exploding things in the world right now. I just like to have fun with music. There’s just times you get introspective, and there’s a few songs like that on the album. Like the song “Groove at the End of the World” is sort of a last resort. Like if it all blows up, then we still have this music..the few of us that are left can connect to each other and we are all going down and rockin’. I’m going to look at. Groove at the end of the World” you know? It’s just a crazy time were in right now. But I think the outcome will be cool. I think this time it’s just a many slaps to the face so we can wake up and quit doing things the way we’ve been doing things. To change things, to improve the way we can relate to one another. It’s like the dark before the light.
Getting back to this album though, there’s a song on the album called “Slave That You Are.” It’s really about all of us and how we are a slave to money and the economy, your family, your girlfriend. Mainly we are a slave to the things we have created. So I think it’s a bit tongue in cheek that song. The other song I sent “Say It’s OK,” It’s sort of like picking up somebody your really close to and getting away from all this stuff and finding a new place to be. I think we need those kinds of inspirational songs. When I wrote that song it was kind of like you had to inspire people to belive there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You have to have a song like that on the album.
It’s interesting because I’ve always been a big fan of Trent Reznor and always have. He can go dark, very dark, and most of the time he does. And I got there too, in fact I have a tendancy to go down that road more often. But I also have a light side, a sort of optimism that says everything’s gonna be alright.” So somewhere between Trent and Bono I live…
Malice:Well the time has come…It’s time for some “Out-of-Hat” questions! Most people dread them…but a lot of us love them…are you interested?
G Tom Mac: Yeah sure!
Malice: First question: You’re epic masterpiece “Cry Little Sister” was on The Lost Boys, and you also did a version of the song for True Blood. How do you think the two shows stack up? Which do you prefer between the two?
G Tom Mac: Well Lost Boys being a film and not a series. I think True Blood is a brilliant series. My friend Scott Reiner directs a lot of those episodes. So I can’t say too much bad about True Blood…I do like True Blood! It’s gotten better, I don’t watch it all the time. It’s kind of a tough one to say. I’ll always love the original Lost Boys. So I’m going to say I love The Lost Boys more. It’s something that has stood the test of time. And I think True Blood will be looked back on as innovative.
Malice: Do you prefer paranormal movies or realistic movies?
G Tom Mac: I like a little of both. I don’t really have a preference, I’m really not stuck on one thing. I like Iron Man, the first one anyway. I like super hero stuff as well. Super 8 was a good movie. I just like a mix…I’m all about the quality of things.
Malice: Last one…If Vampire’s and werewolves were alive…which one would you be?
G Tom Mac: Vampire…no questions about it. I don’t like the idea of getting hairy. Vampires have less shaving to do. Come on Vampires are damn sexy sensual…it’s just fucking sexy!
Malice: Is there anything you want to add to your fans before you leave?
G Tom Mac: Without them, it wouldn’t be possible!
Wasn’t he great guys!? I hope to see more of G Tom as some of his projects come to fruition. That’s all for the interviews for Contamination Weekend. I hope everyone they are having a safe and spooky-fun time. G Tom I bet that concert was the highlight of the show! Now, I’m going to go get some much-needed sleep! I hope you all enjoyed the interview…GOODNIGHT!!!
Until Next Time, My Freaky Darlings,