Collecting any kind of Japanese CDs - whether reissues, archival, or current – isn't an easy endeavor: they're hard to find, very pricey, and are fleetingly carried by local importers until the stock runs dry for good.

For those familiar with old labels such as SLC (Soundtrack Listener's Communications), you know how hard it can be to track down those suckers, years after their original release. Even more challenging (and maddening) are the Godzilla and monster movie scores that have appeared in myriad guises on LP and CD as single and mega-boxed sets.

Since 2001, Larry Tuczynski has been sharing discographical info from his Japanese monster music collection online at www.godzillamonstermusic.com, and in an interview/profile original published by Rue Morgue magazine, the collector, webmaster, and archivist discussed his obsessions and admiration for music that grabbed his attention since his first exposure to the original Godzilla / Gojira film.

What's unique about his site isn't just its massive database of info, but the fact it stems from a desire to share information with fans and fellow collectors. In our original and lengthy Q&A, published here in complete form, as a collector you'll undoubtedly find similar shared experiences, views on soundtracks, and frustrations in trying to maintain a collection that keeps expanding…



Mark R. Hasan :    First off, how did you become interested in the Godzilla and monster soundtracks? Was it the films, or did you stumble upon an album, and take a chance with a then-unknown composer?

Larry Tuczynski : I was born in 1949, so my early childhood and teenage years occurred during the mid 1950s through the 1960s. A great time for music, and for me a great time for growing up.

I think I was fortunate to have a father who enjoyed science fiction and monster movies and would sometimes take us to the local drive-in theater to see double features. I remember seeing the Amercanized Godzilla with Raymond Burr, and it really impressed me, as well as the music and sound effects. It was very different from any movie I had seen to that point in my young life.

From there I saw most of the Toho films that were imported to the US in a theater. Years after, I would watch the chopped up TV versions, [and] the original music that survived when transported to the US really intrigued me; it was very different than anything I had heard before.

I guess I always liked music because my mother says I would often point to the radio and want it on as early as 2 or 3 years old. I think the first movie that really grabbed me where I could feel the connection between the images on screen and the music playing to support them was Bernard Herrmann's score to the 1958 Ray Harryhausen film 7th Voyage Of Sinbad, still one of my all-time favorite scores and movies.

As for the various Godzilla and other Toho films, it was many years before I knew the name Akira Ifukube. His music in those films I consider the best because of the great marches he wrote and all the other supporting music. I didn't start buying vinyl until 1962, and the first soundtrack LP I bought was West Side Story, another all-time favorite of mine. I have never owned a vinyl Godzilla LP, because back then they would have been impossible to find.



MRH :    What specific scores do you regard as pivotal to the success and legacy of the various monster series?

LT: Since my site deals with Japanese music, I will only deal with Japanese scores. Naturally one of the most pivotal scores would be Akira Ifukube's score to the original 1954 Japanese Godzilla / Gojira. Others I would consider pivotal were the third Godzilla movie King Kong vs Godzilla, where we get some eerie and infectious native chants and music; and one of my favorites, Godzilla vs The Thing (aka Mothra vs Godzilla / Mosura tai Gojira).

In this first film featuring Mothra we get to hear the great singing of the popular Japanese singing twin sisters known as The Peanuts. Because of their voices and melodies, I sought out many of their non-monster work, and have an entire area devoted to their music on my site.

While I am partial to the Akira Ifukube scores for the various monster movies, Masaru Sato (aka Satoh) also did some fine music, but while enjoyable, it never brought monsters to mind when listening outside the images. Near the end of the latest Godzilla, run Michiru Ohshima did some nice work as well.

t's hard to look at Japanese monster movies of the 1950's through 1990's without most of the best being done by Akira Ifukube. In the 1990's Toshiyuki Watanabe and Yuji Koseki did a nice job on the three new Mothra films that were mainly geared toward children.













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