About the Music of Tour of Duty

An inside guide to the music of Tour Of Duty

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The following information was kindly supplied by ART FEIN who was the Music consultant on Tour Of Duty first season.

11 January 2001

HUM 90 --  TNT is re-running the show in the USA at the moment and some of the music has been changed , could you tell me why this might be ?

ART --- " If that music, my pop singles, have been changed I'm sure it's because the rates for licensing have changed. In 1987-88 you'd pay about $2000 for any pop song, less for Motown (like half, which explains why "China Beach" had so much Motown next season, and probably why it was so successful! Viet Nam, the Motown War!").

"The one company you avoided was Columbia because they took 6 months to make a decision and came back with a price of $5000".


HUM 90 -- How did you come to get the job working on "Tour Of Duty" as the music consultant ?

ART: -- "Like any job, I got it by knowing someone, an agent who knew the director. I came in and offered some ideas for scenes and they liked them. It was great fun, and challenging".


HUM 90 --How did you decide what tracks to use ?

ART : -- " I chose the music by selecting it from existing records. No "music supervision," no scoring".

"I was an "artistic" music-chaser, using my knowledge to dredge up sometimes obscure but fitting (I thought) songs. Then they were turned over to the broker, or whoever, who did the negotiation with the record companies. At the beginning of the Second season they realized that they could save money letting him do the choosing too, so they let me go.

His choices might have been a little dictated by money, i.e. at the top of the season you could arrange to get 20 songs from MCA for $20,000 and just limit your choices thusly. I don't know how that worked out, musically, because naturally I stopped following the show".


"I remember one episode I added one or no songs, because it would have been inappropriate. I think they paid me anyways."


HUM 90 -- Do you have a favourite scene from Tour Of Duty that you added the music to ?

ART :- "My favorite was a show where a guy went to the bushes to relieve himself and a firefight ensued. Screamin Jay Hawkins (a friend of mine!) did a song called Constipation Blues, which was a long instrumental broken up by Jay grunting in pain. It got a lot of play on "underground" radio in the late 60s. I used the non-grunting instrumental part to lead into him going into the bushes. It was appropriately slow and ominous, and about 1% of the audience laughed at the juxtaposing".


HUM 90 -- What have you been doing since you time on Tour of Duty finished ?

ART:-"I write a rock & roll column (oversight.com/soFein) mainly bitching about rock critics. Am teaching a R&R history class next spring at UCLA Extension.

I run an Elvis Birthday tribute every year at the House Of Blues, at which 35 to 40 acts each do one or two songs straight -- no jumpsuits, no fat jokes. Last Monday's featured Johnny Rivers, Swamp Dogg, and many many local rockabillies. (It was reviewed in 1/10 L.A. Times.) Been doing that for 16 years. I also run a tv show for fun, I have done 700 of those, always talking about music with friends or with music guests, mainly historical ones, who abound here in L.A."

HUM 90 --Thank you so much for taking the time to help

ART :-Thank you

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