Songlines Across New Zealand
  Behind The Shell
 
Today marks the 30th anniversary of one of my much loved franchises/ Animated series that series involved the world's most fearsome fighting teens,heroes in a half shell with a leader, A leader, someone who does machines someone who is cool but rude and a party dude. They are the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. We spoke with Dennis C Brown whose work includes the theme to Mike and Molly, 2 and a half men but most notably the Theme for TMNT with Chuck Lorre (Big Bang series creator)

I initially started this Q & A thanks to this interview  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FKcn8bkzR2M
I was curious if the demo still existed and if it were possible to hear it which lead into an interesting discussion

Dennis C Brown: I believe what Chuck meant (unless he just didn't remember), is that we did that recording as a demo, but it was accepted as is. There was no recording of the theme other than what aired. Of that I am 100% positive. Chuck just means that the recording was a demo until accepted. And they accepted it as is with only one tweak. We were informed that we had neglected to include the tag line, so I sang "Heroes in a Halfshell" into my Roland S-10 sample and then laid in over the mix.

I later asked if it was ok to share this Q&A with the 30th anniversary of the airing coming up on the 28th of December and also asked if there was anything he felt he would like to add this was his reply

Dennis C Brown:  The only thing I might add, is that we were not the first to have a shot at the theme. I never heard any of the other approaches, but I recall that they were getting a bit desperate to find something everyone liked. Fred Wolf’s attorney was involved in the management of the pop group The Turtles, and there was even talk of having them doing a theme. Don’t know if they actually presented a demo.

to finish of the discussion I asked If someone told you 30 years ago that the theme would still be loved 30 years later what would you have said to that person?

Dennis C Brown:  I’m the type of person who believes anything is possible, so I wouldn’t have scoffed at someone for making that suggested. I think my response would have been more along the lines of, “Gee, wouldn’t that be nice!” From the reaction we were getting just from people hearing the title of the show, I knew this would not be an ordinary project; it would either flop or be a big hit. With the months going by after the original miniseries and no one picking up the show, I did start having my doubts. But once syndication started, and especially when CBS picked it up, I knew we had one of those rare phenomena that we all hope for —- a real game changer. The fact that the show is still loved brings me great pleasure. Not a week goes by that I don’t see someone wearing a TMNT tee shirt, and I never resist the urge to brag, “Hey, I created the music for that show.” I even done that three times in one day. I always sing the “Heroes in a half shell,” letting them know that is my voice. Long conversations often ensue, and it’s quite rewarding to see the exuberance from all types of people. The show has indeed made a giant footprint, and it’s not fading.


as of 28.12.2017 I added another question to the mix

Another question has just sprung to mind In your opinion what makes a good theme song and what would some of your stand out themes be

Dennis C Brown: As I read your message, I had just finished listening to the theme from Highway Patrol. I love the old, instrumental themes for their great orchestration and powerful themes. Perry Mason and Peter Gunn are in that vein. A more contemporary gem is the Simpsons.
But themes with vocals (and for animation in particular) are a different situation. Singability is a key factor there. A simple hooky melody is important but with a bit of sophistication included. TMNT is a good example. The main hook, “Teenage mutant ninja turtles,” is dirt simple, a bit similar ti “mama’s little baby loves shortenin’ shortenin’, but having it start on a different pitch as it follows the chord changes up makes that simple hook a bit trickier. Still, everyone has those first eight notes burned into their brains.
As for my faves, I don’t think Flintstones and Jetsons can be topped. Simple hooks all dressed up with fancy wrappings.




 
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