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We owe a monumental debt of gratitude and a HEAVY shout out to Hale Centre Theatre for providing the set, the elaborate costumes, the harpsichord, the descending piano/cello cage and, most of all, the friendliest professional team of stage people in the business! If you are ever in Utah, you HAVE to see a production there: .THANK YOU, AMAZING HALE PEOPLE!
Story behind the song
What if the harpsichord from the 1770s hit headlong into the talk box from 1970s? What if J.S. Bach and Jackson 5 met up and just jammed? Would they jive? Can you dig it? These are the kind of far out questions we asked ourselves as we laid down these licks and cut this film. We decided to put together a gig with two wigs in dandy attire and two hep-cats in some funkadelic threads to see if it would fly. (Incidentally, Steve’s 1770/1970 alter egos are “Sir Reginald von Sharp” and “Scooby” while Jon’s are “Duke Johann van Keymeister” and “Phil.”)
Presenting… “I Want You Bach” – Jackson 5’s funky “I Want You Back” mashed-up with 5 illustrious themes written by J.S. Bach. (See if you can catch them all – winner gets a free disco ball…which will be faxed to you).
All the sounds you hear were created by the instruments shown – including the words “I Want You Back/Bach” simulated by a “talk box” (popularly used in the 1970’s, but never with a cello!) Here’s how it works: Steve plays cello notes through a micro speaker built into a foot pedal, the sound then travels through a tube and into his mouth where he shapes the notes into actual words. (Google “talk box” to learn more – it’s pretty groovy.) To our knowledge, the likes of electric cello, grand piano, harpsichord, Baroque cello, talk box, and kick drum have never gigged together. Until now. It’s totally the battle of the 70’s – the 1770s and the 1970s…can you dig?
Phil is tickling the ivories of a custom-built hybrid grand piano, while Scooby shreds on a custom 5-stringed electric cello complete with a sidecar kick drum. Conversely, Sir Reginald is playing a circa-1700-replica Baroque cello (no “why don’t you fix it?” jokes, please), and Duke Johann is playing an actual harpsichord that was built and designed by Hale Centre Theatre. In fact, nearly everything you see in this video was provided by Hale Centre Theatre – from the sinking Piano/Cello platform down to the disco duds of Scooby and Phil opposite the Scarlett Pimpernel robes arrayed upon Johann and Sir Reggie.
We filmed this using 4K resolution (a huge step up from 1080p and quickly becoming the new “high def”), allowing for more freedom and flexibility to zoom in and out of static shots (which helped us create the illusion that two different versions of Jon and Steve were jamming together.)
Let us know what you think in the comments below! If you liked it – don’t forget to flog the “thumbs up!”
And if you’ve read this far into the description you’re invited to either an evening of highbrow hobnobbing with Sir Reginald von Sharp and his entourage or a night of sick roller-skating with Phil and his dancing mustache. Please choose a 1770s/1970s alter ego name.
“I Want You Back” as performed by Michael Jackson and Jackson 5, written by The Corporation
Arrangement written and produced by Al van der Beek, Jon Schmidt & Steven Sharp Nelson
Also inspired by the following Johann Sebastian Bach pieces: Brandenburg Concertos No. 3 & 5, Two Part Invention No. 8, Minuet in G, Bourrée, and Gavotte from the French Suite No. 5
Jon Schmidt: Piano & harpsichord
Steven Sharp Nelson: Baroque cello, electric cello, talk box, cello percussion, percussion, & vocal textures
Hale Center Theatre Crew:
Theatre Producers – Mark & Sally Dietlein
Scenic Designer – Kacey Udy
Props Mistress & Set Dresser – Michelle Jensen
Props Assistant – Jennifer Taylor
Production Assistant – Jamie Sanduk
Stage Manager – Jimmy Smolka
Lighting Designer & Body Double – Adam Flitton
Costume Designer – Brooke Wilkins
Wig & Makeup Designer – Krissa Lent & Trisha Ison
Costumer – Peggy Willis
Sound Engineer – Shane Steel
Carpenter & Body Double – Ryan White
Carpenters & Engineers – Rob Kinmont, Kelby Merton, & Brian Loth