"Go Go Power Rangers!" and Its Badass Guitar Riff Turn 20 Years Old
What made you decide to re-record and release a collection of music from the show last year?
Well, the original Power Rangers: A Rock Adventure album was going to just be the songs, but Saban was taking so much heat from parents all the way up to Al Gore and Tipper Gore for the music being too violent and causing problems with kids, which is ridiculous. At one point, I was given a list of words I couldn't use. As far as I remember, they said "never use 'hit,' don't use the song 'Fight' anymore, nothing about violence and all major chords now, no more minor chords," so essentially the same thing the church did back in the 16th century. I wouldn't have ever had to recut any of those songs had the original album came out as the first draft with no dialogue or sound effects. I've always been shocked that, even since that time, nobody's wanted a rock score again. It's still the only [children's] score that's constantly spoken about and had legs forever. I've never been asked to do anything like ["Power Rangers'" score] ever. That's my only disappointment from it. If it's such an icon, how come nobody else has ever wanted it? That's always been a shock.
Have you heard much from fans who were introduced to music through your work?
In '94 I remember [being told] I had a fanboard. I remember buying a modem and finding the messageboard on AOL to start a dialogue with the fans that has never, ever stopped. I still get two to three emails a day and have probably answered 70,000 questions. I've never ignored a single one. Some people say it's the first thing they loved. Some have written, and you don't know if this is true, that they put on my record and had the strength to go on. I've heard from bands who [it's] introduced to rock and have now signed their first record deal. I feel very good about it because I'm a strong believer of karma, and that's why I believe it happened in the first place, to give to people who desperately needed it at various times of their lives.
Speaking of those interactions, your band with your wife, Fisher, were one of the first bands to really take advantage of the internet back in 1999. With how much that's changed in the industry looking at the internet in the past year, how do you feel about the current state of the digital music distribution?
One of the reasons we got signed was because our piano vocal ballad was being downloaded 30,000 times a day at MP3.com and they thought "this guy knows something." Radio is a mess, everything is word-of-mouth now and it has become niche markets. If you look at the Top 25 of Billboard 15 years ago, it would be trends of rap-rap-rap-rap-pop rock-rap-rap-rap. Now, you look at iTunes, it runs the gamete. "Oh, Justin Timberlake! Oh, Opera! Oh, Pink! Oh, Imagine Dragons! Oh, Metallica!" Now people know how to find and are only going to buy what their niche is. There could be big niches, and that will work until they hit a certain point until somebody on Wall Street buys that niche label and then they destroy it.
You've said that your favorite song that you've composed for the show is "We Need a Hero." Why is that?
It's always been my favorite because it's always been the saddest song. That song meant the most to be because it was around that time that the news had turned to nothing but bad stories. All kids had grown up with their heroes like Hopalong Cassidy or maybe Batman, and there was nothing really up until Power Rangers, which was the last real worldwide hero story that kids looked up to. Today, my kid will see Iron Man and he won't say "It's so cool, I wish I could be Iron Man," he'll say "Man, the special effects were amazing!" For me, it's a political song asking who do kids have to look up to these days? They'll start to look up to somebody, and it doesn't end up working out. It's a sad, sad song.
Have any other songs from the show has any subversive messages or hidden inspirations?
Oh, you name a song and I'll give you brief backstories because none of theme have anything to do with the show.
How about "I Will Win?"
That was right before my breaking point, it was my personal victory song. I wrote it right before the Power Rangers film, which I wasn't allowed to score. I had meetings with 20th Century Fox and said we should make an hour-and-a-half long version of the television show and keep the music true to the show for the kids. Only, let's get real guitars and real drums. I did three dailies and Fox calls and says "Perfect." A week later I got a call that I was off the film because "Haim (Saban) says you're off the film." I run into him and say "I don't understand, I thought it was going to be the same as the show?" and he says "Let me tell you Mr. Wasserman, you're no John Williams." I wanted to, at that point, say "And you're no Walt Disney." It turns out what actually happened was Saban had his name on everything as composer, so Fox wouldn't let him do that because they're union, so "if Wasserman's the composer, he gets the music credit." Haim and I always got along and I have nothing against him in the world, but that song was basically a "fuck you, I'm out of here soon, and somewhere down the line you're going to read all of the projects I'm involved in."