Just like Michael Jordan in 1995 and 2001, I'm announcing my comeback from retirement! What could cause me to resurface again? How about a chance to talk to legendary MacGyver composer Dennis McCarthy? If you've read this blog before, you know how much I love the MacGyver music. Mr. McCarthy had a lot to do with that as one of the big three MacGyver composers along with Randy Edelman and Ken Harrison. Mark H. sent some questions along since he is also a big fan of McCarthy's work, and we're very thankful for his time in answering our questions and his great work on the series!
MH: Did you audition to be a composer for "MacGyver" in 1985 or were you approached?
DM: I met the wife of one of the producer/writers -- she submitted my name and some of my cues from "V Final Battle" and (if memory serves me) the new Twilight Zone show plus some Dynasty. They called me in because they liked my stuff and had found out how fast I wrote -- speed being the main point!
MH: I always found your compositions to really fit the mood of the show, both at large and at a scene-by-scene level. I was especially impressed by your work on the season 1 episode "Nightmares". Did your compositions for "MacGyver" come fairly naturally?
DM: There were so many minutes of music in each show that I truly didn't have time to think about anything except the few days I had to write; we would spot up to 44 minutes of music on a Saturday and score on the following Wednesday with a full orchestra. There was not enough time to explain anything to an orchestrator so I was a one man band. Later on Bill Ross and Bruce Babcock would come in to handle some of the cues -- saved my life!!
MH: Did you ever work with either of the other primary "MacGyver" composers Ken Harrison and Randy Edelman?
DM: Ken and I were friends. I met Randy once -- we got along well but that was the extent of my interaction with him.
NS: Who were some of your favorite crew members to work with on the show?
DM: Steve Danforth (music editor), Paul Rabwin (post production coordinator) and John Moranville (producer) -- great folks!! Plus Ricky Dean -- very cool cat!
MH: Were there any episode scores that you were most proud of?
DM: The Negotiator. Cleo Rocks, an episode concerning a valuable violin, and a middle eastern episode whose name I cannot remember -- Tommy Tedesco played unbelievable guitar!!
MH: Did you follow "MacGyver" to Vancouver when the series changed filming locations?
DM: Yes I did. Customs and Immigration was a true pain in the A--
MH: What was your favorite series to compose for over the years?
DM: Star Trek Deep Space Nine. Emotional and dark -- very intense.
NS: Any other favorite MacGyver memories you have?
DM: Sitting in Vancouver with Steve and John during an unusual snow storm watching cars sliding down the street smashing into each other -- lots of other memories but I'd need to sit down with a few Don Julio Anejos to remember all of them.