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One Quick-Minute With Video Games Live’s Tommy Tallarico
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One Quick-Minute With Video Games Live’s Tommy Tallarico

A quick sit-down with one of the gaming industry’s most popular musical mavericks. What’s on the menu today?

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In this edition of our finger-snapping series of rapid fire questions, otherwise known as One Quick-Minute, we’re staring down none other than famed videogame composer and current marathon touring champion Tommy Tallarico, the multi-talented television host of G4’s The Electric Playground and musician who’s amassed one of the most impressive catalogs of symphonic bliss, including Earthworm Jim, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, and Terminator for the ill-fated Sega CD (more on that one later).

But in recent times it’s the ground-breaking Video Games Live (VGL) extravaganza that takes up much of his time, which he created with fellow game composer Jack Wall (Jade Empire, Mass Effect) in 2005. This international effort is truly a labor of love, bringing together an eclectic mix of composers and musicians to perform a wide range of famous videogame compositions from an unprecedented range of titles that include everything from Space Invaders to Super Mario Bros to Halo, and practically everything in-between. With full orchestrated accompaniments and dazzling interactive stage shows, the VGL performances have let fans hear – and experience – their favorite game soundtracks like never before.

With the official noise out of the way, here’s One Quick-Minute with Tommy Tallarico!

Yo Tommy! How’s the 2010 Video Games Live tour treating you so far? You finding any time to get some sleep between these globe-trotting tour dates?

It’s been an amazing journey over the past 5 years of touring! We do around 55 shows a year all over the world. Our big news this year is that we filmed a big PBS Special that will start airing on July 31, 2010. A DVD/Blu-Ray and our 2nd album will be released as well. I’ve only ever slept around 4 hours a day. Too many fun and cool things to do! My adrenaline is always pumping so it’s always tough to sleep.

I noticed you guys are playing at this year’s E3 in Los Angeles (June 17th). Any big plans for the show this time around? Spill those beans!

Yeah! We’re going to be debuting the world premiere live presentation of the Uncharted II music as well as special guests from around the world performing along with us such as the game producer/designer & composer of the Silent Hill series… Akira Yamaoka!

Many other surprises as well. E3 is always a great show for us because there are so many special guests from around the world who will be there and taking part in our show.

I’m pretty sure you’re aware that your colleague and fellow videogame, television, film (and VGL contributor) Michael Giacchino went all mainstream and won himself an Academy Award (for Pixar’s UP). Any similar plans to help the gaming universe take over Hollywood?

Lets not forget that Michael is still doing video games as well! Michael has been a great friend for over 15 years and its wonderful to see him get the accolades he so rightly deserves. For me, I love video games first and foremost. I don’t have any desire to do music for a film. What’s interesting is that most film guys are trying to do music for games now! J

OK, now this one might be a bit more obscure, but I really love your Terminator Sega CD track “Destinations Unknown” that’s on the Terminator Sega CD soundtrack. But what’s the deal with the music box and adorable outro snippet (with the kid) at the end?

That’s a great question! Back in 1970 when I was two years old my dad made a recording of me when I first started talking. At the very end of the tape he put me to bed and started my mobile which played Brahms’ Lullaby. That’s my dad’s voice sending me off to bed and me saying “bye-bye”.

I’ve actually considered doing that song live in Video Games Live with the complete orchestra and choir.

Speaking of golden oldies, any chance we’ll be seeing a new collection of your greatest solo (i.e. non-VGL related) hits in the future, particularly ones that don’t feature badly Photoshopped circuit board landscapes and radically ripped jeans on the cover? I ask with love…I’ve got absolutely nothing against mullets and varsity jackets.

Hey! Give me a break… it was still the early 90’s and Beverly Hills 90210 was all the rage!

I’d like to put some kind of compendium together that has all my favorite and most popular songs that I’ve done throughout my career. Something that I think will definitely happen within the next 2 years.

Special thanks to Tommy for taking the time out of his busy schedule to share the goods with us, and for not banishing the crew from future Video Games Live performances for bringing up the ripped-jean ‘unpleasantness’ of his otherwise outstanding first Greatest Hits package. All jokes aside, anyone who’s ever been lucky enough to attend one of these amazing shows will agree that these guys (and gals) have put together an event whose time has come. From those of us who’ve rocked with midi magic and pixel powers since the beginning, we salute you.

For more information on Video Games Live and all upcoming tour dates, or maybe just check out VGL-related merchandise and other soundtrack anthologies, check out the official website right HERE!

About the Author: Nathan Evans