Saturday, April 21, 2012

Of Tubists & Batmen

I picked up the motion picture soundtrack album for The Dark Knight today. It's one of my all-time favorite movies, and, well, it was time.

The score is epic, dark, and spookily riveting: Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard are both masters, so when you get them together, what else would you expect?

As I was perusing the linear notes (as I am wont to do), I noticed the name of the tuba player that was listed: one, Owen Slade. The following thought crossed my mind: there's a tubist out there in the world, goes by the name of Owen, that gets to smile to himself every time he watches The Dark Knight because he can remember exactly what it felt like to play the music he's hearing during the film. And that, my friends, is pretty awesome.

I don't know a thing about Owen. Perhaps his family encouraged him in his pursuit of a musical career; perhaps they told him he was crazy and should go to school to become a lawyer or a teacher or something. Perhaps he was deathly nervous when he auditioned for the spot that got him on The Dark Knight soundtrack; perhaps it was a surprise call because the usual guy couldn't do it. Perhaps he started out playing piano as a kid; perhaps he got teased in school for being a tuba-playing band dork by a bunch of people who now absolutely adore the very film for which he performed; perhaps music was something he always knew he wanted to do, or perhaps he just sort of fell into the whole thing. Whatever the case may be, Owen is part of a pretty small group of people that remember creating the music for that incredible movie.

This is one of the great things about being a musician: you get to be a part of things that are much bigger than you. Whether it be a rock band that creates something special in front of thousands of screaming fans, or as part of a symphonic group that plays the soundtrack for a motion picture, or as a singer that leads other people in worship of God every week, or as a Marine Corps drummer that gets to rattle off a perfect cadence while the President of the United States is getting off a plane, or any other of any number of incredible musical opportunities - being a musician opens the door for all kinds of normal, everyday, non-celebrities to do the kinds of things that dreams and great stories are made of. Music is ubiquitous in this culture and because of that we can easily get the sense that it's usual and unremarkable, but let's be serious: it would be an incredible experience to get to perform the music that plays while Batman saves the day. Wouldn't that bring a smile to your face every time you heard it? It certainly would mine.

So, here's to Owen. Thanks for pursuing your musical dreams, my man. I appreciate your, and everyone else's, fine work on The Dark Knight. You all did a great job and helped create a memory for millions of the rest of us.

And here's to one day being a part of something as cool as that.

(I don't own the image above. I'm just linking to it in case someone would like to purchase the aforementioned album.)

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