Make your own free website on Tripod.com

The Music of
Courage The Cowardly Dog
This page was last updated on January 09, 2003 03:13 PM

Jody Gray, music composer for COURAGE THE COWARDLY DOG

Jody Gray and Andy Ezrin are the composers of the wonderful music scores that accompany each episode of Courage The Cowardly Dog. Jody was very gracious in letting me know how he and Andy got the assignment of working on the show, as well as supplying the complete credits for several compositions they wrote for various episodes, as well as answering a few specific questions I asked.

Please do not use any part of this "interview" or information without asking first

Q: Perhaps a brief rundown of how you and Andy got the job of scoring the series?
A: We had worked with John on a Noodles and Nedd theatrical short as well as some preliminary work on another show for Cartoon Network called Ace & Avery. Risa Neuwirth, one of the show's producers called me up and asked if I wanted to submit for "Courage" (we already knew Chicken From Outer Space) along with pretty much all of the animation composers in the country. According to John we were so original that we simply beat everybody else out and got the gig.

Q: Was the decision of using classical at times a cost-cutting choice (less royalties, I would assume) or a creative decision?
A: John and I are big fans of classic WB animation, I love Carl Stalling's scores. So if the show calls for it we'll incorporate a classical piece or two for fun. This has nothing to do with cost cutting, in fact, programming and performing a classical piece is an unbelievable amount of work. We always ONLY make creative decisions.

Some general vocal tune info provided by Jody

"Courage the Cowardly Dog" Opening Theme
Programming: Jody Gray 
Lead and Background Vocals: Jody Gray and Andy Ezrin
Banjo, Guitar, Perc, Accordion, Jaw Harp: Jody Gray and Andy Ezrin
Uke and Lap Pedal: Dan Petty
Composed By Jody Gray and Andy Ezrin

"Courage the Cowardly Dog" Closing Theme 
Programming: Jody Gray 
Lead and Background Vocals: Jody Gray and Andy Ezrin Animal Noises: John R. Dilworth
Instruments same as above
Composed By Jody Gray and Andy Ezrin

"The Man In Gauze" (from King Ramses' Curse)
Programming: Jody Gray
Lead Vocal: Jody Gray
Background Vocals: Jody Gray and Andy Ezrin
Composed By Jody Gray and Andy Ezrin
Lyrics:
"King Ramses
The Man In Gauze
The Man In Gauze
King Ramses
He's no Santa Claus
The Man In Gauze"

By Jody Gray and Andy Ezrin

"Freaky Fred" (from Freaky Fred)
Programming: Jody Gray 
Casio: Andy Ezrin
Background Vocals: Jody Gray and Andy Ezrin
Composed By Jody Gray and Andy Ezrin

"The Banana Song" (from 1000 Years Of Courage)
Programming: Jody Gray 
Vocals: The Stretch Films Crew
Arrangement/Accordion and Tuba: Jody Gray and Andy Ezrin
Composed By David and Hal Cohen (David is the head writer on the show)

"C'mon Baby Gimme Life" (from Courage Meets The Mummy)
Programming: Jody Gray 
Lead Vocal: John R. Dilworth
Composed By Jody Gray, Andy Ezrin and John R. Dilworth

"Carmina Miranda" (from Courage Meets Bigfoot)
Programming: Jody Gray 
Lead Vocal: John R. Dilworth
Background Vocals: Jody Gray and Andy Ezrin
Composed By Jody Gray and Andy Ezrin

"It's Doc Gerbil's World" (from Human Habitrail)
Vocals: Jody Gray, Andy Ezrin and John R. Dilworth
Accordion: Andy Ezrin
Composed By Jody Gray, Andy Ezrin and John R. Dilworth

"Bridge Over the River Quack" (from Dr. LeQuack Amnesia Specialist)
Programming: Jody Gray 
Vocals: Jody Gray and Andy Ezrin
Sitar: Jody Gray
Composed By Jody Gray and Andy Ezrin

The classical music in Courage

Campsite Of Terror: "Andy and I arranged "Morning" from the Peer Gynt Suite by Edvard Grieg."

Serpent of Evil River: "The voice of the Serpent is sung by Soprano Vimi Bauer, wife of Irv Bauer who is a writer on the show. The aria is the "Habanera" named for that particular rhythm. No existing recording was used. Andy and I played everything.

Courage The Fly: used Flight of the Bumblebee by Rimsky Korsakoff

The Gods Must Be Goosey: "It's scored with Mozart's Gminor Symphony. This one is mostly pre-recorded."

Wagner's "Ride of the Valkeries": "It's in "Journey To the Center Of Nowhere" An arrangement for mandolin and trombone."

"Other stuff off the top of my head:
Night Of the Weremole (Mozart: A Little Night Music),
Mega Muriel The Magnificent (Beethoven: 9th Symphony)
Also coming up in 3rd Season is an opera parody called "Ride Of the Vakyries" which is mostly sung."

Some additional episode-specific information

SCUBA-DOOBA DOO

Q: Jody, what can you tell me about the "Scuba-Dooba Doo" score? I really liked it....it sounded as though there was a calypso motif in the background, as if you were using a calypso drum of sorts. I was particularly intrigued with the wonderful Coralites  theme, as well as the Coralites song. Fill me in on this score, if you would....could you also tell me what the exact lyrics for the Coralites song was?

A: Thanks! Yeah, oodles and oodles of steel drums. Just light Caribbean fare played against Ma's dark stuff, some of which music was remixed from the underwater chase scene in "Queen Of the Black Puddle."

Let's see: I wrote the Coralites theme music and played it with Andy Ezrin. Tried to make it very joyous and singsongy, like a work song for children.

Some of the more unusual instruments were: Andy on Toy piano and Bongos, Me on banjo, recorder and empty 5 gallon Poland Spring container used as a bass drum.

There's no time to rest on laurels
When we must repair the corals
Singing helps the work go faster
Share the shells and pass the plaster

RIDE OF THE VALKYRIES

Q: "Ride of the Valkyries" was wonderful....it was fun seeing Goose God on the show again, but I have a question about that one:
Was the music newly performed, or were the classical tracks existing recordings with overlaid new vocals? I was a tad surprised, because you had told me previously that "almost the entire episode is sung", and the only real singing was by the three Valkyrie sisters. I was expecting something more like "What's Opera, Doc?" or "The Rabbit of Seville" with Courage, Eustace and Muriel all singing. Was anything like that considered or attempted, or is anything like that planned for an upcoming episode?

A: So glad you liked it!
All of these songs were written from scratch by myself (music) and Billy Aronson(lyrics). I also programmed the entire show. Andy Ezrin and I played about 85% of it, blending in some orchestra samples to top it all off, and to help fool the ear into thinking that the whole thing is done with a full orchestra!  Some of the themes of course are actually written by Richard Wagner while others are written "in the style of."  Unfortuately, Courage doesn't have anywhere near the budget that Stalling had in the WB salad days, so I gotta improvise A WHOLE LOT!

Actually it was way more work than "Zalost."

(Sorry, I actually meant that the Valkyries bits are sung for almost the entire episode. It was important to do something completely original and certainly different from "What's Opera, Doc?")

There is a ballet sequence, based upon the Nutcracker, in Season Four and a couple more wacky songs. But NOTHING like "Ride," which took a year, on and off, to do.

HUMAN HABITRAIL

Q: In "Human Habitrail", after we hear Doc Gerbil's song right before the boat chase down the river and over the waterfall, what is the instrumental piece we hear right after that, before the waterfall appears? I think there's a female voice singing very choirlike during that piece. It sounded like classical....Was it, or was it one of your original pieces?

A: The choir piece? Original.

THE TOWER OF DR. ZALOST

Q: Jody, some people have started asking what that vocal theme is titled in "The Tower of Dr. Zalost". Does it have a title? Thanks for letting me know.

A: It's all original and called "The Tower Of Dr. Zalost." It's one of the longest and most complex scores that I've written for the show took about two or three weeks. Andy was on the road with Joe Jackson during most of the second season so he wasn't involved on this one.

THE DUCK BROTHERS

Q: Jody what exactly is that song playing in "The Duck Brothers" when Muriel and Eustace are doing the boxing match/spoof of Rock 'Em Sock 'Em robots? Existing piece, or one you and Andy wrote?

A: I think we wrote that and John is doing some crazy Jerry Lee lewis vocal over it.

SNOWMAN'S REVENGE & DOME OF DOOM

Q: Jody, the newest eps were terrific! Couple of questions:
1. I noticed the use of classical in DOME OF DOOM, but what was the specific piece played when Muriel and Courage open the farmhouse door and see the plant life that has grown around the house? It sounded familiar, but I can't recall the name of the piece.
2. Tell me a little about the Snowman's theme...I love the sounds in that!
and....
3. What are the lyrics to the Snowman's song? People in my Courage club and message board are raving about the song, and hope it will turn up on a Courage soundtrack.
People LOVED the newest eps!

A:
1. It's an arrangement Andy and I did from Grieg's Peer Gynt Suite. Also used in Campsite Of Terror. Most of the classical music comes from a library CD that Andy and I did called "Wacked Classix" which may eventually be for sale.
2. It's a goofy take on 60's Bubblegum, teenybopper rock. Farfisa organ, really trebly fender guitars. The vocal is by Paul Schoeffler who is the voice of the Snowman, Katz, LeQuack and the announcer.
3. I don't remember the lyrics off hand but I'll get them to you at some point. The lyrics were written by Billy Aronson (the writer of the show) and I wrote and performed the music.

Q: Re: the Snowman's Theme....I assume the info you gave me is referring to what I was thinking of, which is that music motif used for Snowman (first heard in The Snowman Cometh episode), not the song from the new episode? I haven't even realized there were vocalizations in that music. People really seem to have enjoyed that tune!

A: Sorry, didn't address this. Snowman's theme(s) features Eskimo and Native American percussive elements (rattles, box drums and shakers) and flutes. Also some of the vocalizations are samples of Native Americans chanting. There's also a lot of undulating synths to give it that cold, icy, brittle feeling.

Q: Cool (no pun intended!)...Thanks! I've always thought the Snowman motif had an "icy" feel to it.

COURAGE VS. MECHA-COURAGE

Q: Jody, I'm watching "Courage vs. Mecha-Courage" again right now, and was wondering about the music in this one. Was there any classical used for this score? In particular, I'm wondering about a specific motif heard several times. You first hear it when the Nowhere Newsman finishes his report, and this music is heard quietly in the background. When the Mecha-Courage appears at the farmhouse, you hear it again very loudly. I recognized this theme as having been used in the past in several of the "Got Milk?" commercials. What is it, and also what about my classical question?

A: "Got Milk?" Dunno. As far as I remember this was all pretty much original scoring. Except some of Di Lung's music has some Asian samples. Lemme go back and look at the show.

Q: Who is Di Lung? (webmaster's note: at this point I was not aware of the "Punk Kid's" name)
Yeah, take a look at that part I described, with the Nowhere Newsman's report right before Mecha-Courage shows up at the farmhouse. Right as the Newsman's report is ending, you hear the music cue. That same cue shows up again after Courage has let Mecha-Courage into the farmhouse, and you hear it again but much louder...I think Eustace makes some smart remark about it, too.
I'm positive that exact same music cue was used in at least a couple of the old "Got Milk" ads....you would hear it right as the milk spot was ending, and you'd hear it continue over the final "Got Milk?" logo. It's the same cue I heard in the Courage episode.

A: Di Lung is the name of the Chinese kid - a recurring character.

Q: AH! I've always referred to him (as have other fans in my Courage club on Yahoo) as "The Punk Kid". Never thought he was Chinese...somehow thought he was Hispanic or Latino. NOW I know the truth!
:-)
But still...that music is definitely a motif I've heard in old "Got Milk" ads for sure.
Thanks for the correction on the name of the character...Just to be certain, he's the same one who turned Courage into the fly, right?

A: Yes. He's also the kid with the loud radio who cuts Eustace off with his car in "Hot Head," on TV in "Campsite Of Terror" crossing the street in "Courage In the Big Stinking City," gives the Mummy a ride in "Courage Meets the Mummy" and in several other episodes not yet aired.

Q: ...not to mention MANY other I know of but can't recall right now! :-)
"Watch where you goin'....ya fool!" (his recurring line... :-) )

A: Yup, that's his tag line.

Check this site's Links page for the NEWLY added link to Jody's own official site!

Jody (on the left) with Courage himself, Marty Grabstein!

"Click on me and get back to the index page!"