note from jms re: evan chen

B5JMS Poster b5jms-owner at
Wed Jan 6 04:34:02 EST 1999

From: jmsatb5 at (Jms at B5)
Date: 5 Jan 1999 09:29:42 -0700
Lines: 64

I posted this on Compuserve...just passing this along here as well on the topic
of the music for A CALL TO ARMS.

     I suppose we could've stayed with the safe choice, with Chris, or done 
a nice, safe, droning Voyager style score that you don't even notice, but 
we're looking to take chances, and that means some people will like what you 
do, some won't.  Some won't like it because it's different.  Neil Gaiman told 
me that a number of fans of any form, including his own, say they want 
something new and challenging that takes chances...but it they don't like the 
form of that chance, they blame you for somehow doing it wrong...and they 
want the next new thing to be just like the last thing you did.

      I can't tell you the number of people who said "why can't you just do 
the John Williams style music instead of this?"  Because it's been done, and 
it's cliche, and by god we're going to push what's "expected" to try some new 
things.  Otherwise what the hell's the point?

"Of course, you've been through this before.  I seem to recall a lot of 
people complaining when Christopher Franke replaced the composer for the 
pilot.  I don't doubt that a lot of the people screaming loudest now are the 
very ones who complained about Franke when he started."

      I don't know about the latter, but I can sure confirm the former.  And 
that's why I sometimes wish the viewer responses were logged as much as my 
own have been.  When we brought in Chris to replace Stewart Copeland, you 
can't *believe* how much email I got from people saying to trash him, fire 
him, it's that "euro-trash techno-crap" most called it.  "He uses sounds and 
banging instead of music," people complained (which he did mainly in the 
first two seasons), "it's distracting and it's not appropriate, get rid of 

      But we didn't.  I told people to give him time to settle into the show, 
and on the other hand to let them get used to a different kind of sound than 
what they expected.  ("I guess you couldn't afford to hire a real composer 
like TNG uses," was another popular line.)  

      Evan ain't Chris, nor should he be, nor should he *have* to be.  He is 
a brilliantly talented composer.  This is his first shot at a dramatic 
series, and as he settles in (as Chris settled in), I think people are going 
to be as loyal to what he's doing in Crusade as they were to Chris in B5.  
He's a classically trained composer, who threw it all away to come study jazz 
under some of the best jazz men in Chicago...washing dishes to support 
himself when he had been at the top of his field in China...because he loves 
music, and loves to experiment, and he took a chance.

      In the course of Crusade, we're going to see some places we've never 
seen before...and thanks to Evan, we're going to hear some things we've never 
heard before.  He's a find, and a genuine, fresh talent, and I stand behind 
him 100%.

      And the people who say they are fans of Chris Franke's should think 
twice before doing to him what so many people did so rudely to Chris when he 
first came aboard.


(jmsatb5 at
B5 Official Fan Club at:

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