By on 15 August, 2011


David Arnold, one of the most famous and respected film scorers of our time, was at the Empire BIG SCREEN event at London’s O2 over the weekend (12th-14th August, 2011) and yours truly managed to grab a few minutes with him to ask about the influence John Barry had on him. He also revealed the effect the Barry tribute concert had on him, and the guitar Arnold only uses when he performs the well-known James Bond theme! And how could I not sneak in a question about the eagerly-anticipated 23rd Bond movie.


TN: This is, for me, a huge honour. I’ve followed your work, particularly on the JAMES BOND and I know that you recently took part in a JOHN BARRY tribute concert at the Royal Albert Hall, where you played the guitar during a performance of the famous Bond theme. How did that come about for you, and how did you feel after doing that?

DA: Well the memorial concert, people were asking me about it on the day he died and I was talking about it with Barbara Broccoli, and John’s widow Laurie about something which would be an appropriate and respectful thing to do. And obviously John, he’s just all about the music and that’s all he was interested in really. So we knew it had to be a musical thing, and he did an amazing concert in 1998 at the Royal Albert Hall so we knew he loved the venue and with the orchestra we knew he liked so it was inevitable.

So it was Barbara Broccoli, Laurie and myself starting putting it together in March (2011), and it was kind of based on John’s favourite music of his own, with an eye on what the public might want.


TN: The night obviously went as you had all hoped then?

DA: It was a very beautiful evening and it felt like the gods were smiling on us – if such a thing exists. You really had the sense that the audience and the orchestra was there, and such fabulous music. When you hear those tunes, like one after another after another, you realise how extraordinary it is, and 40 odd years of music where it’s all absolutely brilliant.

Hearing it all in a line, you kind of come out thinking like ‘I’ve really got to get myself together’ because you can’t go anywhere near this stuff, it’s just amazing. And as the evening went on, it felt like the room got smaller and smaller, and it did feel like we were all holding each other’s hand by the time it came to the end.


TN: So I guess that seemed like the natural part of the concert to make your dedication, with the Bond theme performance?

DA: The funny thing about the Bond theme is that guitar I played on the night, that one, I got that when we did TOMORROW NEVER DIES and all I’ve ever used it for is playing the Bond theme. That’s all I’ve ever used it for, and it’s in a case in my room. It’s only ever the bottom two strings that get played, so I put some new ones on for it.

I’ve never played it live. Only ever done it in the studio, but it was lovely to be involved with it [the concert] at all. With a wealth of talent that John had worked with, we never worked together but we knew each other really well and just to be a part of it was extraordinary. It was incredibly sad, but you marvel at the legacy and the catalogue. He is a once in a lifetime kind of guy, John Barry.


TN: Essentially the concert was a celebration of his life, rather than mourning the passing of a genius?

DA: Yeah it wasn’t a funeral but a memorial, and it was like ‘what do you remember about someone?’. You remember the great things, and then there’s obviously a certain amount of sadness involved. But it certainly didn’t seem like he wasn’t there, you know that was the odd thing. Even talking to Don (Black), Laurie or Barbara, there was so many times when we were all sat around expecting him to walk in.

I know it sounds like a cliché, but it felt like he’s kind of there really and I just hope we did him justice.


TN: From what I saw of the footage, it looked fantastic.

DA: Yeah, it was gorgeous.


TN: I wanted to ask you about the next Bond film (Bond 23)?

DA: There’s no confirmation about who’s doing it yet, so there’s nothing to be said about that yet.


TN: Fair enough. I wasn’t sure if the decision was a given?

DA: No, it never is.


TN: If you were to do it…

DA: [Laughs] Nice!


TN: …which approach would you take? Would you opt for the ‘techno’ DIE ANOTHER DAY or the classical CASINO ROYALE style?

DA: Until you see the script, you don’t really know what you can do. If the next script is about building robots in space, then that’s going to inform your decisions about the score. If it’s about building castles in Gloucestershire then that’s different. You can’t really say anything until you’ve read the script, and know what everyone’s got in mind.

But at the moment I’m doing the high-jump at the Olympics, so I’ve got no idea what’s happening with it [Bond 23] yet.




About Ed Bonilla

Ed is an entertainment news writer, and founder of TOMORROW'S NEWS. He always keeps a watchful eye on who and what's trending in the entertainment world. His articles focus on tomorrow's news today, including celebrity news, film news, music news and so much more!