Monday, September 28, 2009

Jerry van Rooyen (1928-2009)

Jerry van Rooyen (1928-2009)
"The Great Bank Robbery," a supercool big-band jazz instrumental I first heard on the soundtrack album for the 1998 Eric McCormack/William Shatner indie comedy Free Enterprise, is the epitome of sleazy listening, from the bouncy organ solo to the presence of my favorite '60s/'70s instrument, the fuzztone guitar. The funky tune, which popped up during a Taco Bell ad campaign this summer (the one that doesn't involve "The Piña Colada Song"), was originally written for the obscure 1970 German B-movie How Short Is the Time for Love. Its composer, Dutch bandleader and trumpeter Jerry van Rooyen, died on September 14 at the age of 80.

Though the bandleader wrote scores for only seven movies (the X-rated 1969 Jess Franco flick Succubus is the most well-known film he scored), those scores were sleazy listening at its best. In 1997, the Crippled Dick Hot Wax! label released At 250 Miles Per Hour, a collection of highlights from four of van Rooyen's previously unavailable scores. This CD was most likely where Free Enterprise screenwriters Mark A. Altman and Robert Meyer Burnett were first exposed to "The Great Bank Robbery" (mistakenly called "The Great Train Robbery" in the van Rooyen obit that was posted on Weirdomusic.com). No wonder Altman and Burnett adopted the swinging van Rooyen instrumental as the opening theme for their Swingers-inspired film and attempted to do for "The Great Bank Robbery" what Pulp Fiction did for "Misirlou."



3 comments:

  1. Thanks for introducing me to Jerry, man.

    I'm gonna miss him.

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  2. Here's the playlist from the 2003 Fistful of Soundtracks: The Series episode where Vincent said I introduced him to van Rooyen:

    http://afistfulofsoundtracks.blogspot.com/2009/09/afos-sleazy-listening-playlist.html

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  3. Funki Porcini did a remix of it during the '90s. Both versions are killer.

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