In the past 40 years, musicians have come and gone and countless songs and melodies have been forgotten. However, there is one tune that is still among the most downloaded ring tones and most recognizable across the globe: the James Bond theme. Universal Exports and Adam Farrington-Williams recently caught up with Vic Flick, the original Bond theme guitarist dating back to Dr. No, for an exclusive interview.|
What first inspired you to take up guitar?
My father had a small dance band and as he played the piano, which I was studying, I learned the guitar to join in. It was kinda rapid with some bleeding finger tips along the way, but worth it.
What was it like working along side John Barry in the John Barry Seven?
Very good. He was, and is, a real nice guy with a great sense of humour. He knew what he wanted and went for it. Something I admired.
Which Bond film was the most enjoyable to work on?
I think Goldfinger. By the time we recorded the music for this film everyone felt the Bond films were going to be really big.
When you first help record the James Bond Theme, did you ever predict
that it would become recognized worldwide and become perhaps the most successful theme tune in cinematic history?
After the second film was there any realization it would be big? Not at all. The actual recording was quite rushed as Eon Productions were running out of money and time. The score that Monty Norman submitted had no identity, so John Barry was commissioned to record a snatch of a tune that Norman had written for an old show. This all happened within a few days.
Which Bond track that you’ve worked on is your favourite?
There's two: the James Bond theme and Goldfinger.
What would happen if David Arnold asked you back, to help out? If so
would you accept?
I would be surprised, but yes.
The title track to Licence To Kill, which was recorded by yourself and Eric Clapton, was never used in the actual film. However, what is your opinion on
it and is there anywhere fans can get a hold of the track?
The track was excellent. There have been many attempts to find the recording - and the video we shot - but to no avail. With the Passing of Michael Kamen the chances of finding it are slim. Many Bond aficionados are trying to find it and I wish you luck. Please tell me first if you come across it!
Do you still keep in contact with John Barry?
He kinda lives quietly, apart from the odd concert, at the moment but we talk on the phone.
Do you plan to come back into the Bond music world officially (via a
If I'm asked!
What was it like working with performers such Shirley Bassey, Lulu, Matt
Munro, Burt Bacharach and Tom Jones? You worked with each, some at least twice but they all have connections with the Bond world.
Very, very good. I was very lucky. I think what stands out is that they were all perfectionists and took their work very seriously - especially Burt Bacharach.
The superb strings employed in the "Gypsy Camp Battle" sequence of From Russia With Love were performed to perfection. Is this one of your favourite tracks? Why or why not?
The encampment scene is good and memorable. Great atmosphere but, of course, by today’s standards, a little hammy. When we recorded the music cue for that scene, there's a guitar solo in the middle. I had nothing written, just John Barry's finger pointing at me from the podium.
How well to do you think the James Bond theme is utilized in the current
Bond films? Is it played too often?
Not too often. I don't like it when it is played on strings or a synth.
What is your relationship like with Monty Norman?
I don't have one!
What are your thoughts on the Barry Vs. Norman saga? Do you have your own opinion on who wrote the original James Bond theme?
I do have thoughts on the Barry Vs Norman saga, but these have been crystallized by the court case held at the Old Bailey in London, UK. Norman challenged the London Sunday Time about their assertion he was a mediocre composer and hadn't really composed the Bond Theme. After much deliberation, musicologists, witnesses (including me) the jury decided that Norman was a composer of repute and he had written the Bond theme. The interesting thing is that Barry had never disputed this fact from the onset and had agreed to all the royalties for that tune to go to Norman - some $1,000,000.00 as of today's date.
Norman won the case with $50,000.00 and expenses. So, all has been decided...for some!!
James Bond NOW was released in 2000. What was the main inspiration for the album?
Just to [get] some titles down the way I heard them.
Finally is there anything else on your schedule that relates to the Bond
world? Any upcoming projects that we should know about?
Just completed the music for an Indie film, 'Wilson Chance,' which is 'spy' orientated. Talking to MTV about a show which wants some 'spy' music - and generally talking to people with Bond interests. Trying to work on another Latin orientated CD.
A word from the interviewer:
On behalf of Universal Exports, I would love to thank a legend for his contribution to the Bond series and this interview; Thanks Vic! Vic can also be contacted via his Web site.
Questions written by Adam Farrington-Williams; edited by Greg Goodman.
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