I am Cliff Martinez, composer of Only God Forgives, Drive, Contagion, and Solaris, and former drummer for The Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Weirdos and Captain Beefheart. AMATweet
Thank you everyone for all your questions. I'm throwing in the towel for now but I may check back later. I really enjoyed talking about my favorite topic...me. http://imgur.com/aFtRJXq.
beaudbyrnes 257 karma, 3 minutes after
How often do you drive to your music from Drive? Honestly
cliffmartinez 343 karma, 15 minutes after
Almost never. I seldom listen to my own music. One possible exception is SOLARIS which goes great with exceeding the speed limit.
SirSoliloquy 91 karma, about 1 hour after
What's the reason you don't listen to your own music? I would imagine it's the same reason I don't like to listen to my own recorded voice -- it just sounds weird to me.
cliffmartinez 222 karma, about 2 hours after
I think it's the same thing. I don't like recordings of my voice. I don't like to look at pictures of myself, don't stand in front of the mirror too long and once I get the music finished, I don't have much interest in revisiting it.
splooshy 234 karma, 19 minutes after
The SOLARIS score is one of the most hauntingly brilliant things I've ever heard, and paired perfectly with Soderbergh's vastly underrated version of the story.
Just want to say thank you. SOLARIS was part of what drove me to enter film school.
cliffmartinez 468 karma, 43 minutes after
Thank you, it's my favorite. Whenever I feel depressed, I go to Amazon and read some of the testimonials on SOLARIS...."I held my blind dog up to the speakers and SOLARIS gave him back his sight....SOLARIS cured my arthritis, my razor blades stay sharp when I play them SOLARIS etc."
cliffmartinez 618 karma, about 1 hour after
Ok, here you go...
I was first introduced to cocaine circa 1979. I was backstage at Madame Wongs standing around with a bunch of people and a friend of one of the band members took out a tin about the size of an Altoids container. I didn't know the guy, but for some reason he offered the tin and a straw to me first. I didn't want to appear like I didn't know what I was doing, so I took the straw, snorted as hard as I could and demolished the entire tin....probably several hundred dollars worth of stuff. The guy turned to my friend and said, "Tom, your friend just snorted all my coke". Judging from all the disappointed faces around me, I knew my coke etiquette needed a little polishing.
grachuss 144 karma, about 2 hours after
How dissapointed were you when Will Ferrell got your old drumming gig?
cliffmartinez 372 karma, about 2 hours after
Once upon a time I was in a elevator with Chad at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. This guy steps onto the elevator, looks at Chad and says: "I love your work man. You are one funny motherfucker". And Chad says. "No man, I'm Chad Smith. I'm here to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the Red Hot Chili Peppers". As the guy steps out onto his floor, he looks Chad up and down, shakes his head then says, "You are one funny motherfucker".
DrRoxso 133 karma, 24 minutes after
Do you still contact the RHCP from time to time?
cliffmartinez 205 karma, 38 minutes after
Yes, mostly Flea. I saw the whole band backstage (and onstage) when they played at the Staples Center last.
bambinoquinn 79 karma, 5 minutes after
Do you miss playing with RHCP? What was it like reuniting at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?
cliffmartinez 145 karma, 33 minutes after
It was a kick in the pants to play with them again at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and again at Staples (three drummers!!). I never played in front of thousands of people during my tenure in the band so it was quite a thrill and an honor. But no, I don't really miss being on stage and punishing my eardrums anymore...
stevenmw 79 karma, 4 minutes after
What is it like to be one of the youngest groups in the Rock and Roll hall of Fame? What is Captain Beefheart like?
cliffmartinez 107 karma, 18 minutes after
Hmm. I don't often think of myself as particularly young, but yeah....it was kind of nice to feel that way at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. I heard that Josh was the youngest inductee ever.
Look_Alive 72 karma, 26 minutes after
Hey, Cliff! Big fan!
How was it working with Beefheart; was he as weird as he seemed?
Have you read Scar Tissue? Was Anthony right when he said there was a little bad blood between you guys for a while? Looking back, was leaving Chili Peppers for the best?
Finally, what's with all the hats?!
Thanks a lot for the AMA, Cliff!
cliffmartinez 126 karma, about 2 hours after
Yeah, Captain Beefheart really delivered in the weird department. I have read SCAR TISSUE and yes there was probably a little bad blood after my departure from the band but it didn't last long. Leaving the band was best from my point of view and they seem to be getting along just fine without me. :)
daydreaming247 69 karma, 11 minutes after
What was the transition like from being in bands to composing films? Also, did you always have an appreciation for film or did it grow as you started to compose more?
cliffmartinez 94 karma, about 1 hour after
Other than being good at hitting things with a stick, I had to re-tool completely to go from playing drums to writing film music.
I always had a thing for the movies, but my appreciation went into high gear once I started to try composing for them.
vincentmusic 58 karma, 18 minutes after
You use a lot of Cristal Baschet on your scores. Where did you come across this instrument and how did you come to own one?
cliffmartinez 94 karma, about 1 hour after
I first saw the Cristal at the Museum of Modern Art in 1965 when I was a little kid. It was one of those mind altering early experiences that reupholstered my brain and turned me, not only into a musician....but into a weird musician.
voldemort_the_nazi 50 karma, 7 minutes after
How involved were you in the choice of the synthpop tracks on Drive? Because you might be the reason for why I listen to a third of my music library.
Also, is it true that Beefheart pushed a guy down the stairs after he didn't understand how to ''play a strawberry'' on the drums?
cliffmartinez 115 karma, about 1 hour after
I had 0.0% input on the song choice.
The stairs story appears in Drumbo's book but I don't recall the line about "play a strawberry". That's very Beefheart though. I was asked to play "giant blue babies levitating over the mountain....you know, like Fred Asparagus dangling through the teacup". I must have played it correctly because he didn't throw me down the stairs.
thanksfortheliszt 50 karma, 6 minutes after
I absolutely love Captain Beefheart! Trout Mask Replica is absolutely unbelievably brilliant.
Have you got any stories about his legendarily terrible treatment of his band members?
Also, how did you learn the beats off the older albums, like John French's on Trout Mask Replica?
cliffmartinez 136 karma, 25 minutes after
Yeah. Trout Mask is one for the time capsule. Here's a personal semi-abuse anecdote: I was recording SKELETON MAKES GOOD in the studio and Don (the captain) kept admonishing me to hit the drums harder. When I did, one of my sticks broke in half and hit me right below the eye. I started bleeding and Don stopped the recording and barked over the intercom: "Man...my music isn't worth an eye. Why aren't you wearing your safety glasses?!! Kareem was right".
Roton7 45 karma, 24 minutes after
Hi Cliff, I love your work! I really enjoyed the Only God Forgives soundtrack, especially "Wanna Fight", which is just phenomenal. Were there any particular artists or songs that inspired that track?
cliffmartinez 110 karma, 37 minutes after
Yes. WANNA FIGHT is my impersonation of Philip Glass, Goblin and Ennio Morricone.
vincentmusic 44 karma, about 1 hour after
What does ryan gosling smell like?
cliffmartinez 111 karma, about 2 hours after
I never got to meet him but that will be the first order of business when I do.
chameleonsam 43 karma, 18 minutes after
CLIFF MAN! Just wanted to ask, what's your favorite Red Hot Chili Peppers song? I'm currently in a RHCP phase and have been waiting for your AMA since it was announced, I love those drums in 'Grand Pappy Du Plenty'. Keep on rocking man!!
cliffmartinez 92 karma, 44 minutes after
It changes, but right now I'm going to go with SCAR TISSUE.
PraetorianXVIII 33 karma, about 1 hour after
I honestly found the Solaris soundtrack to be the best part of the movie (which was also fantastic). It really was fantastic, and added to the creepy mode of the film. I'm not very knowledgeable about music, but I'll try to make a question worth asking, despite that. . .
What genre of movie composition is your favorite? I think science-fiction could use more of you! Would you compose some music for this Battletoads fanfic I'm working on? /maynotbekidding
cliffmartinez 121 karma, about 2 hours after
I was surprised that SOLARIS didn't get me more work on Sci-Fi films. Everyday you can find me at the intersection of Topanga Cyn and PCH holding a cardboard sign reading "Will score Sci-Fi film for food". No takers so far.
Diddddy 32 karma, about 2 hours after
Love your work, Solaris especially. Any chance I'll ever get it on vinyl? Just had Only God Forgives arrive in the mail, and I haven't had the needle off of it yet. And Drive, what can I say about such a great album. Thanks for being the soundtrack for my weekend mornings!
cliffmartinez 55 karma, about 2 hours after
Solaris on vinyl? Maybe. Come down to Origami Vinyl this Thursday @ 7:00 p.m. Nic and I will be there signing records
MazMax 24 karma, about 2 hours after
Why is there such an animosity between Beefheart and Zappa fans? In my experience most Zappa fans like Beefheart but a lot of the Beefheart fans hate Zappa. Do you know what Beefheart's feelings were on this clash and if he really held any grudges against Zappa like many suggest?
cliffmartinez 42 karma, about 2 hours after
I got a fleeting whiff of that a couple times during the recording of ICE CREAM FOR CROW. Initially, Beefheart wanted to use some existing tracks for the album which Zappa had produced and was in possession of. So Beefhearts' side of the story was that Frank gave his consent to use the tracks and then changed his mind. Don (Beefheart) was a little bent out of shape about it and said something about Frank looking like a flys' leg.
sweextin 21 karma, about 2 hours after
How do you handle the (sometimes blatant) plagiarism that goes on in the composing world? Does it bother you or flatter you?
cliffmartinez 107 karma, about 2 hours after
I think that's part of the biz. My recipe for avoiding plagiarism is to rip off two artists at once. i.e. Gyorgy Ligeti + Tangerine Dream = SOLARIS
hozboo 20 karma, about 1 hour after
Hey Cliff, just saw Only God Forgives, your score was phenomenal! If I wanted more like that soundtrack and the soundtrack for Drive, what should I look for?
cliffmartinez 33 karma, about 1 hour after
Hmm...I like to think that most of my scores are unique, hand-rolled, one-of-a-kind creations. So I can't think of anything that is similar to those two. Check out SPRING BREAKERS, THE COMPANY YOU KEEP and SOLARIS. They're among my favorites.
JayEssArr 19 karma, 18 minutes after
When you were recording "Ice Cream For Crow" with Cpt. Beefheart, did you guys know during recording that it would be his final album?
Also I know you didn't record on it but Trout Mask Replica is one of my favorite albums ever.
cliffmartinez 29 karma, about 1 hour after
We knew that it was the first album in a long time that he would not tour to promote. So we kind of knew it would be the last album. TROUT MASK and LICK MY DECALS OFF BABY are my two favorite recordings of all time.
liamquane 19 karma, about 1 hour after
what is your favorite piece of film music? :~)
cliffmartinez 72 karma, about 2 hours after
Main title for A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS.
murderousthoughts 15 karma, about 2 hours after
The Dickies are the greatest punk band of all time.
cliffmartinez 28 karma, about 3 hours after
Yes they are. While everybody else was trying to do the Sex Pistols, the Dickies invented the West Coast Speed/Goofball strain of punk. One of the few punk bands with keyboards, vocal harmonies, catchy melodies and most of all Leonard...one of the greatest voices in punk.
skyadd 15 karma, about 1 hour after
Can you describe some of your experiences collaborating with different directors?
Do directors usually approach you with actual song samples, reference past soundtracks, or try to describe the sound or emotion they're trying to achieve? Have you ever experienced a situation when a scene just wasn't working and you and the director needed to go back and try something radically different?
What part of the process do you usually come in? Has the film already been rough cut, or are you asked to create musical themes earlier?
cliffmartinez 29 karma, about 2 hours after
Typically, I get invited to the party when the edit of the film is about 80% complete. To an extent, I'm still trying to hit a moving target, but the basic film is pretty together and isn't going to be radically altered. I definitely tend to work "to picture". I've attempted to write music based on a script before shooting begins, but in my experience, that is usually a waste of time.
ManiacKK34 14 karma, about 1 hour after
Do you think that your time in the rock n roll industry has helped you as a composer?
cliffmartinez 37 karma, about 2 hours after
Directly...probably not. Although I got my first scoring job (1 episode of Pee Wee's Playhouse) through a video director who had worked with the Chili Peppers
perche 14 karma, about 1 hour after
Was there a real "Willie The Pimp"?
cliffmartinez 15 karma, about 2 hours after
Dunno. I never got the backstory on Willie. Great song though.
davidleefilms 13 karma, about 2 hours after
Just wanted to say I'm an overall huge fan of your work.
Solaris is an incredible film, I wish it would get as much attention as the other films you've worked on. I go back to that score constantly for inspiration and ideas. The film itself is so visceral and cerebral, and the score complements that perfectly.
What is the one, single film would you have like to have scored if given the chance? The film can be already made or yet to be made.
cliffmartinez 20 karma, about 2 hours after
I would have liked to have scored something circa 1929-1931 at the very beginning of film sound.
KingofFerretPowers 12 karma, about 2 hours after
What was the Captain like ?
cliffmartinez 28 karma, about 3 hours after
He lived up to his music. Ferocious, complex, magical, and one-of-a-kind.
jamesneilson 11 karma, about 1 hour after
Nicolas Winding Refn has described his films as certain drug experiences, could you say the same about your scores? if so, what scores would you associate with what drugs?
cliffmartinez 30 karma, about 2 hours after
Uh...er...TRAFFIC and SOLARIS definitely have some drug affiliation.
undercooked_lasagna 11 karma, 7 minutes after
Who is Captain Beefheart, and I why haven't I heard of him before?
cliffmartinez 40 karma, 30 minutes after
You can begin your Beefheart journey here: http://www.beefheart.com
Captain Beefheart is not widely known but he is the quintessential avant-garde rock composer. He has been one of my musical idols since I was a little kid and in 1982, I got to play drums on his final album. Check out LICK MY DECALS OFF BABY if you can find it.
dasfunny 10 karma, about 2 hours after
When was the last time you hung out with Chad, John, Anthony and Flea?
cliffmartinez 20 karma, about 2 hours after
I think it was around this time last year at the Staple Center.
paul9mm 10 karma, about 1 hour after
Hi Mr Martinez, really enjoy your work and art. My question is your website and in particular, making your scores available "free" and no strings attached. One word: why? (re making them so easily and conveniently available.) Was it because desire to reach wide audience, low album sales or just as a FU to others? Thanks.
cliffmartinez 34 karma, about 1 hour after
Well...I put the freebies up there because they're out of print. But I actually don't own the rights to some of them. So I figure that if I'm not making any money off them, nobody will bother me about it.
Imzadim 9 karma, about 1 hour after
Your guitar sounds are amazing. Very simple and tasteful, but drive the action without sounding too 80's. How do you achieve that sound? (gear, etc) Thanks for doing this!
cliffmartinez 25 karma, about 2 hours after
Some of it is fake (sampled guitar) and some of it is real. I guess the secret ingredient is the DDL (digital delay). My favorite is Ableton Live's Filter Delay. I got the DDL guitar idea from Michael Brook.
Shrikey 9 karma, about 3 hours after
Serious question: how do you feel about dubstep?
cliffmartinez 36 karma, about 3 hours after
Other than Skrillex, I don't know much about it. I love Skrillex though.
atgm2 8 karma, about 1 hour after
for many years now i've listened to SL&V daily (nightly), and Solaris almost as often. so, thanks.
cliffmartinez 13 karma, about 2 hours after
Wow! SLV??! Thanks. That was back in my childhood. I've even got that soundtrack on cassette.
L00n 8 karma, 1 minute after
I was interested in your composing for Only God Forgives – with what appeared to be a very simple set up (perhaps to my untrained eyes), and on-location.
Was composing different whilst actually being there for filming? I’d not heard of that approach before.
cliffmartinez 22 karma, about 2 hours after
It was just my laptop, a keyboard, a couple drives and some dinky speakers. I wasn't there for the filming, I went afterwards. I just thought that being in Thailand might inspire me in some way.
sweextin 7 karma, about 2 hours after
Any chance of you joining Twitter in the near future?
cliffmartinez 26 karma, about 3 hours after
Probably not. Already I've pissed enough people off by setting up a page on Facebook and then ignoring it.
vincentmusic 7 karma, about 1 hour after
boxers or briefs?
cliffmartinez 22 karma, about 1 hour after
boxers except when I encounter high turbulence.
repriseinjustice 6 karma, about 2 hours after
Is Lydia Lunch as absolutely erotic in person as she is in Richard Kern's collection of work?
cliffmartinez 37 karma, about 2 hours after
Not from my point of view. Over the years people keep asking me, "Is it true that Lydia has sex with everybody in her band?" Everybody but me.
GLMystery 4 karma, 43 minutes after
Any favourite composers of yours?
Wondering also if you have any advice for young composers in terms of hooking up with agencies and if that was a big factor in your career?
Have you ever had any interest in commercials or advertising or have you mostly concentrated on feature film making?
Lastly, I saw a version of Drive with lots of the temp tracks still there. It was Eno, apollo atmospheres stuff. Wondering what you think of temp tracks?
Thanks for your time.
cliffmartinez 18 karma, about 1 hour after
I like some of the young, new whippersnappers like Nathan Johnson and Antonio Pinto. And I like some of the old whippersnappers like Danny Elfman and Thomas Newman. And I really like some of the really, really old whippersnappers like Ennio Morricone and Bernard Hermann. I like all the guys that assert their musical signature boldly.
I'm doing a vodka commercial right now.
Temp tracks are fine by me. Occasionally they turn evil but I find them to be a useful tool for the most part.
GLMystery 4 karma, about 1 hour after
Actually just saw you name check glass, goblin and morricone. Coincidently, I am going to see all 3 in the next month!
cliffmartinez 8 karma, about 1 hour after
Great minds think alike! I'm jealous.
darkd3f3nd3r 3 karma, about 1 hour after
Have you heard Port St. Willow's remix of All Business from Arbitrage? Also, is there any other soundtrack in particular that you find as an inspiration for your own OST's? Thanks and I hope you continue to compose brilliant music.
cliffmartinez 9 karma, about 1 hour after
Yes I have. THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL and A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS are big inspirations to me.
JesusBurrito 3 karma, about 1 hour after
What do you feel is your "favorite"/ most accomplished track from the "Only God Forgives Soundtrack"? My personal favorite was the remake of "Sister Pt. 1" by M83. One of the most beautiful tracks I have heard in a soundtrack in a long time!
cliffmartinez 7 karma, about 2 hours after
My vote goes to WANNA FIGHT
TheAmbiguityBuster 2 karma, about 3 hours after
My friend and I have a debate: MAR-ti-nez or mar-TEE-nez ?
cliffmartinez 17 karma, about 3 hours after
mar-TEE-nez ever since I moved to Los Angeles. Growing up in Ohio, it was MAR-ti-nez.
BUSS1307 0 karma, about 2 hours after
How do you feel about Will Ferrell being the drummer of the RHCP? Must of been awkward at first.
cliffmartinez 6 karma, about 2 hours after
Wow. Will Ferrell is getting a lot of attention here. See my answer below.
JeremyDylan 0 karma, about 2 hours after
If you'd been asked, how would you have scored the movie RAMPART?
cliffmartinez 3 karma, about 2 hours after
I don't know....I haven't seen it.