Whitman musician scores with ‘NCIS’, ‘Pam & Tommy’, ‘Blue Bloods’


Jay N. Miller

A touch of Hollywood in Whitman? No, Tom Hanks isn’t coming to town, but he’s not just a clickbait. Much of the soundtrack music you hear in movies and TV shows is composed at Bad Stella Studios, owned by rocker Whitman Munk Duane.

On Friday, Duane will release his latest single, “Myths,” a long-awaited return to creating his own original music for pop fans. That’s because most of this year has been spent creating music for a slew of shows in Hollywood and other film and television production hubs.

Whitman rocker Munk Duane owns Bad Stella Studios.

Like several other local musicians, such as Jesse Ahern of Quincy and Kerri Powers of Taunton, Duane had previously had some of his songs cleared to appear on the soundtracks of various dramas. Duane has had his music featured on “The Sopranos,” “Blue Bloods,” “NCIS,” and for a Super Bowl halftime show. But as the pandemic drew to a close, he found a new opportunity that would keep him busy for months.

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“It was an interesting thing, where I had spoken with a composer who worked with Extreme Music (the production arm of Sony Music Publishing) before the pandemic,” Duane explained. “We were talking about working together, before COVID-19 shut everything down. After that he asked me if I might be interested in writing for their library. …They sent me what they call a “creative brief”, just loose descriptions of what they want. They might give you a hypothetical situation, like someone walking late at night on a path, tracking, maybe a stalker situation. I had worked for television before, but this time I had no idea what I was writing for, but I finished the first one then did another one and carried on. You get paid upfront and then if it’s used they let you know.

"Myths" is the latest single from musician Whitman Munk Duane.

Duane was soon inundated with requests for more. He said being part of Extreme Music Library was “breathtaking”.

“I’m in a music library with people like Quincy Jones, deadmau5, Ice T, Timbaland, Hans Zimmer,” Duane said. “I was in awe of the society I’m in…the absolute top tier of composers for film and television, a surreal experience to see my name there.”

Duane emphasizes that his compositions for this work are not songs per se, but rather pieces of music to fit a mood, help tell a story, etc. Some of the places his work has recently appeared include the Netflix series “Snowflake Mountain” (episode 104), the Lifetime series “#textmewhenyougethome” (episode 5) and A&E’s “I Survived a Serial Killer” (episodes 2 and 5). Perhaps most ironically, one of his actual rock songs, “I Am Severed,” from a decades-old album, had pride of place in the opening episode of the Hulu series “Pam & Tommy”.

Musician Whitman Munk Duane owns Bad Stella Studios.

“You never know when these things happen; a lot of times you’re the last to know,” Duane said with a laugh, recalling his song on the show about rocker Tommy Lee and his marriage to Pamela Anderson. “In this case, I received an email from a man in Germany, who had heard the song from the show and was trying to track down the artist. I watched it, and about 10 minutes later, my song played for about two and a half minutes – a really strong, highly visible placement Before long I heard fans in South America and Eastern Europe, all loving the song and stalking me to hear more of my music.

Duane eventually released a new, simplified version of the song, but was unwilling to return to the original album’s relaunch as it was a bit outdated by its standards.

“I’ve had such an evolution in my career, across many genres, and the sound of that old record – 20 years old – was very different from where I’m at now,” he said. “When I made this album, I was a much angrier, more angsty guy, and it was super heavy rock. Now I’m a lot more R&B, soul, and pop, and I don’t want to confuse the I went back and did a little outing on Bandcamp, but it’s more like where I am today.

Musician Whitman Munk Duane owns Bad Stella Studios.

Diversification has been a watchword in Duane’s career, and another project he’s been immersed in appears to be anti-rock ‘n’ roll. A “smart sleep” device called Hatch hired him to compose music to help people relax and fall asleep. This followed his similar work for Bose’s Sleepbud II devices.

“The idea is that these devices are like an Alexa, but to help you achieve deep REM sleep,” Duane said. “The dynamic range has to be very specific, and these were long tracks, designed to make you drift. It was the antithesis of most of my compositions, where you sometimes try to speed it up. I was working on that project – worth 10 hours – since July.

With the pandemic (mostly) in our rearview mirrors, Duane has also had all the live dates he can handle, both solo and with his quartet Tenderheds.

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“Live music is back in full force,” Duane said. “I do about 15 shows a month and I’m the busiest I’ve ever been. But it feels so good to have a new single coming out. I think I’ve built a good, full life as a composer, working in all these different formats. It certainly forces me to ‘flex all the muscles’ that I have as a songwriter. But being in my own “artist mode” feels best of all. »

Duane’s upcoming dates include Thursdays at Rivershed in Braintree, Fridays at Plain Ridge Casino, October 20 at Rivershed in Scituate, October 22 at Three V in Plymouth and October 29 at Carrie Nation Pub in Boston. Tenderheds’ residency at Lansdowne Pub continues on November 7.

The members of Toadies are, from left, Vaden Todd Lewis, Clark Vogeler, Mark Reznicek and Doni Blair.

Toadies 25 (and more)

Toadies are the latest band with a delayed anniversary tour as the 25th anniversary tour for their debut album “Rubberneck” (1994) had a few pandemic-induced false starts. Toadies had a checkered career on a major label, so the Fort Worth quartet’s debut album didn’t really find much success for a year, until the incessant touring and odd single video ” Possum Kingdom” propelled it to platinum status. Now the Toadies are on tour where they play the album from start to finish and then split the rest of the night between old and new songs.

The Toadies tend to be called “post-grunge”, but also had a lot of metal and punk undertones. But Rolling Stone nonetheless listed “Rubberneck” among its 50 greatest grunge albums. Ironically, after their breakup in 2001, their label released “Best of Toadies: Live from Paradise,” a set from Boston’s Paradise Rock Club. The Toadies Tour arrives at Paradise on October 19.

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“Playing at Paradise is always special, with the way people surround you,” Toadies guitarist Clark Vogeler said during a stop on the tour Monday morning. “It came out after the band broke up and I don’t think we ever got paid for it. Having a career is so much easier now with the internet. In the 1990s you had to have a label spending hundreds of thousands of dollars promoting you to stand a chance, but now with Spotify and YouTube and Instagram and stuff like that, you have much easier access to your base of fans. We’re all in our 50s now, and surprisingly, we still have careers, and it’s just a lot of fun.

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Toadies had played most of that debut album for years, after their 2006 relaunch, but they came back and studied the original versions to prepare for this tour.

“Before this tour, we were still doing four or five of these songs almost every night, and they had probably evolved a lot over the years,” Vogeler said. “For this tour, we went back and did a real forensic effort to listen to the original album and reproduce that sound. I know for me, I didn’t realize I was using way too much commentary, there where the original had very little. But it’s always fun to start playing those songs and see the fans react, see all those smiles every night. As a musician, the reactions we get to the songs of ‘Rubberneck’ are the best experience you can have.

Toadies released a new four-song EP on September 13, “Damn You All to Hell,” and it features their cover of David Bowie’s “Sound and Vision.”

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THURSDAY: Demi Lovato arrives at MGM Music Hall. Gimme Gimme Disco groove at Big Night Live. Jim Brickman sings at City Winery. Japanese R&B singer Joji opens two nights at the Roadrunner. Chelsea Berry sings at the Spire Center. Ghost Light warms up The Sinclair.

FRIDAY: The rapid rise of Judah and the Lion is headlining The House of Blues. Colorado’s Magic Beans Jam at Soundcheck Studios through Saturday. Lucy Kaplansky sings at Club Passim. Cape Cod’s delicious Sundog Organ Trio vibrates at the Narrows Center. The Black Angels rock The Paradise. Bat: The Official Meatloaf Celebration takes over City Winery. Rhode Island’s excellent roots band, The Silks, at C-Note. Yung Bae raps at Royale.

SATURDAY: Sammy Ray and The Friends are going to dazzle at Roadrunner. Les Violent Femmes open a two-night party at Paradise. Neal and the Vipers blues-rock The C-Note. Mindy Smith is solo and acoustic at City Winery. The Sounds of New Orleans by Eric Lindell at the Spire Center. Country songwriter Darrell Scott (a former Sour Mash Boy) is at Club Passim. Perennial R&B star Vanessa Collier at the Narrows Center. Alternative country rockers Lucero at the Met Café. Folk icon Peter Calo at the Rose Garden Coffeehouse.

SUNDAY: Judas Priest thunders in the MGM Music Hall. Jackie Evancho sings Joni Mitchell tunes at City Winery. Smashing Pumpkins at TD Garden. Charlotte Sands rocks the Brighton Music Hall. Folkie Jess Klein at Club Passim. The gritty sounds of The Monophonics, featuring the GA-20 from Boston, Middle East.

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