Monday, June 30, 2014
And now for something completely different...
Hey guys. Usually I try to keep this blog mostly impersonal, but I thought some readers of this blog might be interested to hear how it got started. And seeing as today marks four years since I started this blog, it seems like a good time to do sort of a commemorative post reflecting on how and why I started this blog.
Growing up in the 90s, I was a heavy viewer of Nickelodeon. I was always a huge fan of their Nicktoons, including Rugrats, Doug, Ren & Stimpy, CatDog, The Angry Beavers, and SpongeBob SquarePants, which I've been watching since it first started in 1999. Some of these shows have held up better than others, but SpongeBob is still one of my favorites, thanks to the great animation, writing, and humor aimed at kids as well as adults (a trait shared by most of my favorite cartoons). Many of the people in my college film class are also fans of SpongeBob, particularly the first three seasons, which they constantly quote.
Like most Nick shows of the 90s, SpongeBob had its own unique, distinct feel, partially due to the music selections - the archival Hawaiian recordings, traditional sea shanties, and surf rock tracks played a huge role in establishing the show's identity in its early seasons. My memories are a bit fuzzy as to how I became interested in this particular aspect of the show, but I believe it started sometime around summer 2000 when Nick brought back reruns of Ren & Stimpy. I recognized many of the show's music tracks from SpongeBob (as well as other Nick shows like Rocko's Modern Life and KaBlam!) and began to wonder where the music came from. Unfortunately, however, there was little information available online at the time.
The mystery was solved when I picked up a book called The Cartoon Music Book, which featured an entire section on the music of Ren & Stimpy. It was here that I first learned of Associated Production Music (the music library where most of the show's tracks came from) and discovered the names of some of these tracks, such as "Happy-Go-Lively" and "Holiday Playtime." A short time later, I discovered that several of these tracks were available on two compilation CDs: Music for TV Dinners and Music for TV Dinners: The '60s. I picked both of these up and discovered two SpongeBob tracks for the first time ("Speaking Guitar" and "Chase That Car").
Eventually (ca. 2005/2006), I discovered the APM website on a Ren & Stimpy forum and was completely blown away. Tons of tracks I'd been wondering about for years were now easily available to listen to in their entirety - it was a dream come true. The more I browsed the website, the more tracks I found, and I even began to use some of them in my own personal home videos. Around this time, a couple Wikipedia articles popped up listing APM tracks used in SpongeBob and Ren & Stimpy - both of which I contributed heavily to, until both articles were deleted in 2007 (though the SpongeBob article later found a new home on the SpongeBob Wiki, where it was expanded with summaries of the scenes each track played in).
A short time later, Ian Lueck of Toonzone Forums began reposting the lists on his now-defunct Speedy Boris Blog. Though the SpongeBob APM list remained essentially the same as on Wikipedia, the Ren & Stimpy lists were expanded with scene summaries and music breakdowns for individual episodes. I thought of doing something similar for SpongeBob, since Ian's APM list for the show was extremely long and made no reference to specific scenes or episodes. After attempting this in fall 2009 but lacking a strong enough motivation to continue past Season 1, I revisited the idea in summer 2010 after Ian moved his R&S music breakdowns to a separate blog.
Around this time, I looked at the SpongeBob Wiki's APM music list and discovered that someone had added fake titles and fake composer names for many tracks that hadn't been identified yet (as well as several tracks that were no longer on APM's website), so I took it upon myself to clear up the misinformation and uncover the true titles and composers of these tracks. Ian told me he had no plans to start a SpongeBob music blog, so I went ahead and started the blog myself (but not without caution; I did the breakdowns for the first three seasons before starting the blog to make sure I could handle that much work before doing the rest of the series). Within just a few months of starting the blog, I discovered the names of several tracks composed for the show by Sage Guyton and Jeremy Wakefield (listed in the credits of The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie) and identified nearly all of the Mel-Tones, Woodies, and Surfdusters tracks provided by LoveCat Music - information that was almost nowhere to be found online previously.
I'd also like to say that I'm extremely pleased with how this blog has been growing. 2014 has been an excellent year for updates so far, with the discovery of numerous tracks that I honestly thought would never be identified. HUGE thanks to Roman Sinitsyn for discovering the GEMA, MACP and Dennis Music websites; SynaMax for identifying the missing Kapono Beamer tracks; Mr. X, trkizbrki, and killa-the-librarian over at Library Music Themes for helping with some of the hard-to-find tracks; and Jake Cummings and MAKEBELIEVE for providing other miscellaneous information on APM tracks used in the show. I don't think this blog would have gotten nearly this far without you guys. Keep up the good work!
Now get lost - I mean bye. (no, really, get lost)