In conversation with Joe Stilgoe
By Open Air Theatre
On 20 August, Joe Stilgoe brings his smash hit show Songs on Film outdoors for the very first time. We caught up with Joe to find out more about his music, influences and what audiences can expect from this S’Wonderful evening.
Q: What attracts you to music from the movies?
I’m a musician because at heart I’m a romantic and probably a fantasist, both of which are reasons why we go to the cinema, and why movies are made. I’ve also recently realised that all the songs I learned first were from films - The Jungle Book, Young Einstein, Stand By Me…I find that a song from a film, with the right arrangement and treatment, can bring out a really strong memory or emotion that’s deeper than we think, and we can be transported somewhere magical, far away from life’s daily worries.
Q: Favourite movie music moment, and why?
Song – it’s got to be Singin’ In The Rain. Instrumental piece – Jurassic Park; when we see the dinosaurs for the first time (my wife and I walked down the aisle to this – not sure the organist knew what it was!).
Q: How much of an influence was your dad, Richard Stilgoe?
Huge. Not in my field of music as Dad never ventured jazz-wards, but in writing, performing and interacting with the audience, he showed me the way. And also he didn’t let me give up piano lessons when I was 10!
Q: Who’s in the band for Songs On Film, and how did you guys first meet?
My regular band is Tom Farmer on bass and Ben ‘Bam Bam’ Reynolds on drums (we also have an amazing choir featuring in the show). Bam Bam and I were doing a gig in art gallery together – we didn’t know each other and the double bass snapped, so we had no bass player. We soldiered on with an exceptionally silly duo of piano and drums, and sweet vocal harmonies (with the bass player standing awkwardly nearby).
Tom and I were in a big band called NYJO together, way back, and then we reconnected a few years ago at Ronnie Scott’s. They’ve both been with me ever since.
Q: What’s the kick of performing this show, and what can the audience expect?
I get to wallow in the music I love, the music that inspired me to be a musician, and the added bonus is that because of the connection to films there’s an extra level for me and the audience. We cover so many films, and whether you’re a fan of Chaplin, MGM musicals, cartoons, Tarantino or ALL the films of the 80s, it’s all there. I love connecting with an audience, and we always end up having a great evening together. But please stop stealing my popcorn.
Q: Choose one: A Pulp Fiction $5 Shake, Homer Simpson’s Duff Beer, or James Bond’s Vodka Martini -
I’m not sure I trust Tarantino’s shakes, and though I deeply revere Homer Simpson, I’m pretty sure Duff tastes as bad as its name suggests, so it’ll have to be the martini. Roger Moore’s version.
Joe plays at the Park on Sunday 20 August.
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