Former WWE music composer, Jim Johnston, was interviewed recently by Sports Illustrated. The article covered several subjects.
Regarding the iconic Stone Cold theme:
“From his vignettes, I saw that Steve was this ass-kicker of a guy who did not enter a room with subtlety. He needed something that reflected that.
“I had in my mind that this would be driving and low, but it needed something relentless about it. It needed to capture someone who entered a room and made you think, ‘God only knows what happens next.’ So I started playing driving notes on my guitar – dat dat dat dat dat in a minor key – that implied danger.
“I thought of a car accident, only because of the horrible sound it makes. Then I went to glass, but the sound of the glass was so thin that I needed to make it bigger so I added the car crash.
“I thought of a car accident, only because of the horrible sound it makes. Then I went to glass, but the sound of the glass was so thin that I needed to make it bigger so I added the car crash.”
On his departure from WWE:
“There were some politics and people I wasn’t wild about it, but I suppose that is to be expected in any corporate environment. I was pretty disillusioned where the company was going musically. Although I believe they are talented guys, I thought the themes were becoming commoditized and formulaic. Too many wrestlers had themes that didn’t tell a story about the character, it just felt like music that coincidentally played when a wrestler walked out, as opposed to something that tells the story of the character.
“In the big picture, I’ve written as many angry songs about guys coming to beat you up as I had in me. I think I’ve covered that genre. The end and the change was shocking at the time, but I hope it works out for them. I’ve been writing a ton of music since and I’m actively putting together the next chapter in my life.”
On whether or not he’s a fan of wrestling:
“Just because John Williams did the scores for E.T. and Star Wars does not automatically make him a giant fan of aliens or space travel. I would categorize myself as a non-wrestling fan. I see the appeal and there are times when I could get really excited about it, but I wrote music for what I was hired to write. I threw myself into what I was writing.”
The interview also discusses how Johnston first landed a job with the WWF and more. The read the full article, check out Sports Illustrated.