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

Comments: 615 • Responses: 48  • Date: 

beaudbyrnes259 karma

How often do you drive to your music from Drive? Honestly

cliffmartinez352 karma

Almost never. I seldom listen to my own music. One possible exception is SOLARIS which goes great with exceeding the speed limit.

SirSoliloquy91 karma

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.

cliffmartinez226 karma

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.

splooshy232 karma

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.

cliffmartinez479 karma

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."

tekufah98188 karma

Nicolas Winding Refn said to tell you to "tell us more drug stories"

so pretty please. elaborate

cliffmartinez638 karma

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.

grachuss147 karma

How dissapointed were you when Will Ferrell got your old drumming gig?

cliffmartinez383 karma

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".

DrRoxso137 karma

Do you still contact the RHCP from time to time?

cliffmartinez205 karma

Yes, mostly Flea. I saw the whole band backstage (and onstage) when they played at the Staples Center last.

bambinoquinn85 karma

Do you miss playing with RHCP? What was it like reuniting at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

cliffmartinez155 karma

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...

stevenmw81 karma

What is it like to be one of the youngest groups in the Rock and Roll hall of Fame? What was Captain Beefheart like?

cliffmartinez110 karma

Hmm. I don't often think of myself as particularly young, but 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_Alive72 karma

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!

cliffmartinez131 karma

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. :)

daydreaming24766 karma

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?

cliffmartinez99 karma

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.

vincentmusic59 karma

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?

cliffmartinez96 karma

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.

thanksfortheliszt55 karma

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?

cliffmartinez136 karma

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: " music isn't worth an eye. Why aren't you wearing your safety glasses?!! Kareem was right".

voldemort_the_nazi49 karma

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?

cliffmartinez115 karma

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 know, like Fred Asparagus dangling through the teacup". I must have played it correctly because he didn't throw me down the stairs.

Roton744 karma

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?

cliffmartinez117 karma

Yes. WANNA FIGHT is my impersonation of Philip Glass, Goblin and Ennio Morricone.

chameleonsam42 karma

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!!

cliffmartinez95 karma

It changes, but right now I'm going to go with SCAR TISSUE.

vincentmusic41 karma

What does ryan gosling smell like?

cliffmartinez106 karma

I never got to meet him but that will be the first order of business when I do.

PraetorianXVIII32 karma

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

cliffmartinez124 karma

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.

Diddddy30 karma

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!

cliffmartinez61 karma

Solaris on vinyl? Maybe. Come down to Origami Vinyl this Thursday @ 7:00 p.m. Nic and I will be there signing records

MazMax22 karma

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?

cliffmartinez40 karma

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.

sweextin21 karma

How do you handle the (sometimes blatant) plagiarism that goes on in the composing world? Does it bother you or flatter you?

cliffmartinez110 karma

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

hozboo19 karma

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?

cliffmartinez37 karma

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.

liamquane18 karma

what is your favorite piece of film music? :~)

cliffmartinez72 karma

Main title for A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS.

JayEssArr18 karma

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.

cliffmartinez28 karma

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.

murderousthoughts16 karma

The Dickies are the greatest punk band of all time.

cliffmartinez27 karma

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 of the greatest voices in punk.

skyadd15 karma

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?

cliffmartinez27 karma

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.

KingofFerretPowers15 karma

What was the Captain like ?

cliffmartinez27 karma

He lived up to his music. Ferocious, complex, magical, and one-of-a-kind.

perche15 karma

Was there a real "Willie The Pimp"?

cliffmartinez16 karma

Dunno. I never got the backstory on Willie. Great song though.

davidleefilms14 karma

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.

cliffmartinez20 karma

I would have liked to have scored something circa 1929-1931 at the very beginning of film sound.

ManiacKK3414 karma

Do you think that your time in the rock n roll industry has helped you as a composer?

cliffmartinez37 karma

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

undercooked_lasagna13 karma

Who is Captain Beefheart, and I why haven't I heard of him before?

cliffmartinez35 karma

You can begin your Beefheart journey here:

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.

atgm211 karma

for many years now i've listened to SL&V daily (nightly), and Solaris almost as often. so, thanks.

cliffmartinez12 karma

Wow! SLV??! Thanks. That was back in my childhood. I've even got that soundtrack on cassette.

Shrikey11 karma

Serious question: how do you feel about dubstep?

cliffmartinez36 karma

Other than Skrillex, I don't know much about it. I love Skrillex though.

Imzadim11 karma

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!

cliffmartinez29 karma

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.

paul9mm11 karma

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.

cliffmartinez31 karma

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.

dasfunny10 karma

When was the last time you hung out with Chad, John, Anthony and Flea?

cliffmartinez22 karma

I think it was around this time last year at the Staple Center.

jamesneilson8 karma

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?

cliffmartinez30 karma and SOLARIS definitely have some drug affiliation.

L00n8 karma

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.

cliffmartinez21 karma

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.

sweextin8 karma


cliffmartinez26 karma

Probably not. Already I've pissed enough people off by setting up a page on Facebook and then ignoring it.

GLMystery8 karma

Hi Cliff,

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.

cliffmartinez17 karma

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.

GLMystery3 karma

Actually just saw you name check glass, goblin and morricone. Coincidently, I am going to see all 3 in the next month!

cliffmartinez9 karma

Great minds think alike! I'm jealous.

vincentmusic6 karma

boxers or briefs?

cliffmartinez23 karma

boxers except when I encounter high turbulence.

repriseinjustice5 karma

Is Lydia Lunch as absolutely erotic in person as she is in Richard Kern's collection of work?

cliffmartinez34 karma

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.

JesusBurrito3 karma

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!

cliffmartinez7 karma

My vote goes to WANNA FIGHT

darkd3f3nd3r2 karma

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.

cliffmartinez9 karma

Yes I have. THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL and A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS are big inspirations to me.

buttholez692 karma

How was it working with Hillel Slovak? Where you guys close at all? Did his death hit close to home for you?

cliffmartinez3 karma

I didn't know Hillel well prior to joining the Chili Peppers. But during the year or so we were in the band together, we were practically living out of each others' hip pocket. The band was constantly touring, performing or recording. His guitar playing can speak for itself but the thing I remember and miss most about him was his unique brand of humor. When he "rejoined" the band I began to understand where the whole Chili Pepper identity came from. Flea and Anthony brought the punk rock and rap influence to the band, but the psychedelic/Three Stooges concept seemed to emanate from Hillel. Once he was back in the band, I remember watching the three of them in action night after night and thinking to myself, "So THAT'S where all this stuff comes from. Hillel is the original Chili Pepper."

JeremyDylan0 karma

If you'd been asked, how would you have scored the movie RAMPART?

cliffmartinez3 karma

I don't know....I haven't seen it.

BUSS13070 karma

How do you feel about Will Ferrell being the drummer of the RHCP? Must of been awkward at first.

cliffmartinez6 karma

Wow. Will Ferrell is getting a lot of attention here. See my answer below.