We here at Quick Stop Entertainment are true lovers of music, in all its forms. We’re also quite keen on the spirit of competition, and of spurring creativity through said competition.
To that end, we launched a brand new form of creative combat here at the Stop. You’ll find the very first of these competitions here.
In this age of manufactured and painfully earnest talent contests, we’ve decided to instead shine a light on the quirky, quixotic underworld of musicians that don’t get nearly the attention they deserve.
Ah, but I did mention that there was a competition involved…
A week back, we sent out the call for challengers. Hundreds of you heard the call and fought for a chance to be in the initial group. 20 were selected. Of those 20, only 13 responded in time (Them’s the breaks).
Like a songwriting version of Iron Chef, these challengers were presented with a very specific songwriting challenge, and given one week to complete their songs - however they saw fit, within the parameters set forth.
At the very end, there stood but one Challenger - who faced off against one Master of Song Fu.
The Master was The RiffTones, and the Challenger was Jason Morris. Both met the Final Challenge head on, and then left their creations to be judged by you, the public. At the end of the day - with a vote count of 222 to 135 - the winner is THE RIFFTONES.
As the winner, The RiffTones claim the remarkable (and potentially off-putting) bragging rights and a clutch of fantastic mystery prizes, as well as becoming the proud owner of the magnificent, one-of-a-kind MASTER OF SONG FU TROPHY, designed and handcrafted by [adult swim] superstar Dana Snyder.
Ah, but there’s also something for Jason Morris. While it’s not an “I Fought A MASTER OF SONG FU And Did Pretty Damn Well” t-shirt, he also gets a clutch of fantastic mystery prizes for making it this far. Hopefully, he’s also gained the confidence and support of you, the public, and will continue making music with the knowledge that there a whole bunch of new listeners eager to hear what the future holds.
And, since many of you have written in wondering…
SIGN-UP FOR A VERY SPECIAL ONE-OFF HOLIDAY EDITION OF MASTERS OF SONG FU WILL BEGIN ON MONDAY, NOVEMBER 24th, 2008.
Below, you’ll find the history of the 2nd MASTERS OF SONG FU competition…
ROUND 1 CHALLENGE
This is going to seem to be a rather straightforward challenge to kick off our second Song Fu competition. In actuality, it’s a pretty darn interesting way to give people a sense of just what your songwriting personality and style is. We’re taking a cue from a fellow named Paul Simon…
Your first challenge is to WRITE A SONG ABOUT THE MOON.
That’s it. The only other directive is that your song must run no shorter than 1 minute 45 seconds.
After one week of intense campaigning and voting, we eliminated the bottom vote-getters - leaving only 6 competitors (5th place was a tie) to move on to… ROUND 2. The remaining Challengers and our Masters were then presented with their Round 2 Challenge…
ROUND 2 CHALLENGE
Your challenge is to choose a famous inventor and craft a song proposing a “dance craze” based on either the inventor or one of his/her most well known inventions. For an idea of what we’re looking for, here’s a song proposing the ill-fated “Lurch”…
Your song must run no shorter than 1 minute 45 seconds.
Your votes were tallied, and the top two Challengers from Round 2 moved on to battle head-to-head in ROUND 3…
ROUND 3 CHALLENGE
For this Challenge, not only are we going to provide you with a theme and style, but we’re also going to give you the title. Your task is to write a song that utilizes all of the provided elements.
For this Round, we’re paying homage to the country balladeer greats – people like Jerry Reed, Waylon Jennings, and Roger Miller. Your task is to write a country ballad - using a backstory of your own creation – called “The Ballad of Rufus Amos Adams”.
Your song must run no shorter than 1 minute 45 seconds.
Well, you voted on the Round 3 Challenge HERE. You chose one Master and one Challenger to battle head-to-head in the final challenge…
THE SONG FROM (aka 70’s Cinema Pop): For this final duel between Master and Challenger, you must envision a world in which composer John Williams was never hired to write the now-iconic scores for the Lucas and Spielberg films of the 1970’s (JAWS, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, 1941, and STAR WARS). Imagine instead that the filmmakers decided to go with that other staple of the 70’s - a tailor-made pop tune. Think THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE’s “The Morning After (The Song From THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE)”, which you’ll find below. You must choose one of those 1970’s Williams-scored Spielberg/Lucas flicks and write “The Song From…” that the film never had, in the style of a 1970’s pop tune (particularly in your instrumentation).
The song must be at least 1min 45sec, and must be an original creation.
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And that brought us to the Final Challenge songs from both the RiffTones and Jason…
MASTERS OF SONG FU
For this edition of Song Fu, we’re bringing in two (well, 5, if you’re being technical) very special Masters who you’ll be going up against. Think of them as the iron chefs of Song Fu, and your ultimate challengers, as you’ll square off against one of them mano-a-mano in the Final Round:
You know ‘em as the RiffTrax trio, but here at Song Fu they are the mighty RiffTones…
MICHAEL J. NELSON - Michael J. Nelson is the creator of Rifftrax.com, and is the former host and head writer of the Emmy-nominated, Peabody Award-winning Mystery Science Theater 3000. Since that time, he has appeared on numerous radio and TV shows, penned a regular column for TV Guide, and authored best-selling books for both HarperCollins and Abrams.
His first book, Mike Nelson’s Movie Megacheese, thrilled critics, including Richard Schickel of Time Magazine, who said of Mike, “He’s more fun than a barrel of Val Kilmers… Smarter than a roomful of Patrick Swayzes… and almost as hilarious as Keanu Reeves.” Mike’s laugh-out-loud follow-up, Mind Over Matters, prompted Kirkus Reviews to enthuse, “From someplace called Minnesota comes a Nelson funnier than Ozzie, Ricky, Lord or Half,” and even dared to compare him to another legendary writer, saying of his Serious Speech to Business People, “[It] could easily precede [Robert] Benchley’s immortal Treasurer’s Report.” And Kirkus Reviews loved his novel, Death Rat!, saying, “Fast-paced, outrageous and funny, first-novelist Nelson’s mockery of media mendacity is as biting as La Dolce Vita or Network - only funnier!”
Mike speaks all over the country, is a frequent guest on radio and television, and along with Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy sells out theaters with his RiffTrax Live events.
KEVIN MURPHY - “I’m probably best known for portraying that ol’ squat loveable bubble-headed robot Tom Servo on Mystery Science Theater 3000. In fact I’m the only member of the cast and crew to have worked on every single episode of the series, probably because I tend to like everybody. I also got to sing at the drop of a hat and collaborated with the lovely, leggy Mike Nelson on many of the show’s songs.
Right now I’m back with Mike and Bill for www.rifftrax.com , where once again we sit in close proximity to each other and make fun of movies; unfortunately we don’t write a lot of songs… yet. To exercise my musical jollies I occasionally write and record solo and with family members, under the name The Revolutionary Communist Mountain Boys. Oh, and I’m also writing my first comic book series, symptomatic of my terminal case of Adult-onset Geekdom.
BILL CORBETT - Beloved by literally billions of people, Bill Corbett is a former writer for Mystery Science Theater 3000 on the Sci-Fi Channel, and previously on Comedy Central. He was also a performer on the show, providing the second incarnation of the robot Crow and embarrassing himself in grand fashion as other strange characters - including the all-powerful but clueless alien The Observer, a.k.a. “Brain Guy.” Bill has always been an amateur musician (cough cough HACK cough cough), performing with garage-less garage bands, and writing / performing songs for MST3K - including the beloved-by-literally-trillions CANADA SONG. He now works with former MST3K colleagues Michael J. Nelson and Kevin Murphy at Rifftrax.com.
Corbett is also a screenwriter and playwright. His plays have been produced at numerous theaters across the U.S., Canada, Great Britain, and (seriously) Japan. He wasn’t able to attend the latter, but assumes it was a live-manga concept.
A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Corbett currently spends a lot of time in Los Angeles partying into the wee hours with stars like Skeet Ulrich, Harry Hamlin, and the late Red Buttons. But he actually lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife Virginia, their two young children, and a small Jack Russell Terrier who really runs the house.
He hopes someday to raise alpacas.
Official Website: www.rifftrax.com
I suppose I am what you could call a “Multi-Instrumentalist”. That is a nice way of saying “Jack-of-all-trades, Master-of-none”. I began playing drums as a teenager and spent a great deal of energy during my 20’s trying to “make it” in the music biz. As a drummer, I have had the opportunity to play with some pretty incredible musicians, garnering literally DOZENS of fans over the years. In 2004 I joined the band Celestial Static, and spent several years melting some face with good friends Jeremy and Julie Elzerman. Once that ran its course, I decided to spend more time locked away in my studio, writing my own songs and learning to play guitar, bass and sing. It doesn’t pay the bills, but I have a good time doing it.
Official Website: www.jason-morris.com
FINAL CHALLENGE SONG: “Take Me Home (The Song from CLOSE ENCOUNTERS)”
ROUND 3 SONG: “The Ballad Of Rufus Amos Adams”
ROUND 2 SONG: “The O’Sullivan Stomp”
ROUND 1 SONG: “The Universe Outsourced The Moon“
FINAL CHALLENGE RESULTS
The Fu Shall Return.
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