Mel’s Note: Chuck fan and music teacher Al recently sent questions from his fifth graders to Chuck composer Tim Jones. Here are five of the best, with an intro from Al.
Not only is Tim Jones one of the most highly respected composers in the TV industry, he is a man that knows the importance of Arts education. Tim graciously took time out of his ridiculously busy schedule to again answer some probing and perceptive questions from my fifth grade music classes. Last year, Tim was only scoring Chuck, a big enough job in itself. This year he assumed the role of score composer for Fox’s Human Target as well. You’ll see where he got the time to answer these questions below!
- FIFTH GRADE: We know you were musical, but did you play sports when you were a kid?
TJ: Yes. I loved baseball – I played little league baseball. I also went out and ran a 10k once without training when I was about 14 and I finished it – I just didn’t stop! It’s nice to be young… I was a pole vaulter in high school – 11 and a half feet was as high as I ever went.
- FIFTH GRADE: How do you score Chuck and Human Target differently?
TJ: Hmm… For me, Human Target was much more like an updated Miami Vice – it was a really cool cop show in the 1980s. Human Target in general tends to be more serious. It’s a lot more like a heist film – it has what I call a breezy sound, you know? It’s cool and the characters are often doing things that are illegal. Chuck is more archetypal, I think – it has more clear cut themes of good and evil. Human Target also has very little brass – it has a lot more of a rock and roll ethos to it. Chuck has a much broader instrumentation.
- FIFTH GRADE: Have you met the actors you write for and do their personalities influence you?
TJ: I’ve only met the actors on Chuck – and absolutely. Although sometimes I find myself being drawn in and write for the characters and not the actors. I’m surprised by the difference between characters and actors… even though I know them as people, I write the score based on the emotions they bring to the scene as actors.
- FIFTH GRADE: Do your kids play instruments and what kind are they?
TJ: My daughter Tess plays the piano, and is always singing and making up her own songs. My son Finley doesn’t play an instrument yet, but he’ll often be singing a theme I’ve written before it’s even written out – he has an amazingly good ear… he must have gotten that from his mother!
- FIFTH GRADE: What’s the weirdest thing that ever happened at work (musically)?
TJ: We were recording my accordion one day for Chuck, and one of the keys broke inside. So we had to open it up and melt the beeswax with a soldering iron so we could put it back together and finish recording!
FIFTH GRADE: Are these questions interfering with your job?
TJ: No – I’m eating lunch!
For those who keep inquiring, unfortunately Tim doesn’t have a release date for the score CD yet. We’ll post the date as soon as it’s announced.