DID YOU GET BLONDIE TO DO THE SOUNDTRACK ON THREE BUSINESSMEN?
It isn't Blondie - it's Debbie Harry. And she sings the
title song, "Ghost Riders In The Sky." The rest
of the score is by Pray For Rain.
WHY "GHOST RIDERS IN THE SKY"?
"Ghost Riders In The Sky" is mentioned in dialogue in
THREE BUSINESSMEN. One of the businessmen, Bennie (Miguel
Sandoval) tells a story about a wonderful dog he had, Rex, who
would spin on his back whenever he, Bennie, sang that haunting
When the film was almost finished, we still
hadn't settled on an end title song. Dan Wool, our composer, remarked that
he was friends with the son of the original author of "Ghost
Riders In The Sky," one Stan Jones Jr. He talked to the son
of Stan, explained the weird and unique nature of the project,
and got the rights to the song.
AND WHENCE DEBBIE HARRY?
Dan, Tod Davies and I debated at length as
to who should sing the haunting cowboy song, and though there
were other good contenders, for me there was only one choice. (Also I had done a video
for Debbie and Iggy Pop in 1990 - based on the Cole Porter song "Did
You Evah?", and we had acted together in an outstandingly-odd
movie in Tucson, AZ: DEAD BEAT. And I had her phone
Debbie met Dan and recorded the song at a
studio in New York just before the Blondie tour began.
MIGHT YOU AND SHE COLLABORATE AGAIN?
I hope so. Debbie is the godmother
of punk, and has promised to have my babies, though due to her
exhausting schedule of hits and touring this may have to be delayed.
SO WHAT'S THE MOVIE ABOUT? NOT BUSINESSMEN?
Certainly is. It's the story of Bennie and Frank, two independent
businessmen, who meet by chance in the restaurant of the Adelphi
Hotel in Liverpool. Unable to find food therein, they set
out in search of dinner.
THAT'S IT? THAT'S WHAT IT'S ABOUT?
IT DOESN'T SOUND VERY EXCITING.
It's extremely exciting. Thrilling is not to strong a word. But
it creeps up on you. It isn't a rock'n'roll themed piece
like REPO MAN. There isn't any rock'n'roll at all, in fact,
until Debbie at the end. Yet it's 100% subversive, and threatening
to the MTV value system. It's also very funny, but
again, not like TV. And it all happens in the course
of one night.
HOW CAN IT HAPPEN IN ONE NIGHT AND TAKE PLACE
IN FIVE DIFFERENT COUNTRIES? IS IT DIFFERENT CHARACTERS
IN EVERY PLACE?
No, it's the same two characters throughout.
AND WHY'S IT CALLED THREE BUSINESSMEN IF THERE ARE ONLY TWO?
There are three. But the third
businessman is otherwise engaged.
(WRITER / PRODUCER TOD DAVIES ON THREE BUSINESSMEN:)
WHY DID YOU MAKE THIS FILM?
TOD: Any time that you can make a film that
you think you should make, you do it. It happens so rarely.
WHY DID YOU THINK YOU SHOULD MAKE IT?
TOD: Because the subject matter of the script
means a lot to both of us - that's from a writer's point of view. From
a producer's point of view, because I believe there's an entire
audience "out there" of people who would like to see
the kind of films I'd like to see - like DISCREET CHARM OF THE
BOURGEOISIE or RULES OF THE GAME or SMILES OF A SUMMER NIGHT -
entertaining art films. I would have watched WAITING FOR
GODOT if they'd made it into a movie. It would have been
great with Laurel and Hardy.
WHAT DOES THE SONG THAT DEBBIE HARRY SINGS MEAN
-- GHOST RIDERS IN THE SKY?
TOD: Originally, for the author, I suppose it was a vision. But
it's true now -- it seems like life is nothing but chasing after
a ghost herd that we'll never catch. People are being warned,
that they're going to be roaming the globe forever unless they
pay attention. And they don't.
HOW MUCH DID THE FILM COST?
TOD: It was funded by three sources, VPRO television, Film
Fonds Rotterdam, and our own company, Exterminating Angel. It
was a labour of love for most of those involved, and when you get
in a situation like that: final cost, no man can say.
IS IT REALLY ABOUT BUSINESSMEN TRYING TO FIND THEIR DINNER?
TOD: It's not what it's about. It's just what happens. There
is some confusion that these two things are the same, in the movies. But
they are not.
WHY DID ALEX ACT IN IT?
TOD: It is always good to cast the director because you
have to pay one salary less, one less airplane ticket, one less
per diem. It's even better if you can persuade them to edit
the film as well, and to go and get coffee for the security guys.
A clip from THREE BUSINESSMEN can be found on website
An interview with composer Dan Wool can be found