The Bond Songs Uncovered with Warren Ringham | Podcast #103

This week we’re concluding our James Bond theme songs coverage with the help of seasoned Bond music professional; Warren Ringham.

As the band leader of the super popular Bond tribute show Q The Music, Warren has a very close relationship with the songs of Bond. Having performed them night after night for years his insight into the inner workings of the songs is truly fascinating. Being the band of choice for September’s Bondstars event at Pinewood, Q The Music will be performing to the who’s who of Bond royalty, even Bond music heavyweights Monty Norman and Don Black!

You’ll be hearing the songs of Bond in an entirely new way after listening to this week’s podcast.
Don’t forget to check out qthemusicshow.com for more info about the band and be sure to grab tickets to their show at The Harlington in Fleet on November 27th.

[Interview Begins at 31:44]

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  • olufsphere

    A thought on “Another way to die” and the “cluttered” or “noisy” elements … I think everything about that song is made with a purpose. Bond is coming out of Casino Royale in immense emotional turmoil. Vesper is dead and he is on a vindictive hunt for Mr. White and his associates, seeking the consolement he thinks he’ll find in revenge. He’s a loose cannon. He has no idea who he can trust or not. He can’t get his head round Vesper’s motive and the connection between Quantum and everything that happens in Casino. His head is basically exploding. He is disturbed, and I think the song expresses that really well.

    The Danny movies are tighter connected than any previous succession of Bond-movies. It’s the story of a “Blunt instrument”, a stray orphan, being moulded into the tough agent we all know and love. They are – in my opinion anyway – a lot more about the character than about the plots and the enemies. They are about the rogue thug being taken under M’s wing and evolving to her loyal agent.

    “You know my name” is M’s introduction of Bond to the game: You think you’re a badass, but I’ve seen much harder men fail, and I have no scruples. Don’t be mistaken … _I_ am the badass.

    In “Another way to die”, Bond is still learning the trade. The song tells Bond, from either M’s view, or perhaps a third party POV, that he is far from complete, that he still thinks too highly of himself, but that he is still vulnerable to the emotions involved in his craft. After all, he IS a “Kite dancing in a hurricane” already at this point.

    In “Skyfall”, when faced with the ultimate battle against Silva (or maybe really against himself), facing the decision to go all in on MI6 or leave it all behind, Bond is finally stepping into the role, pledging his loyalty to M.
    “Where you go I go,
    What you see I see,
    I know I’d never be me
    Without the security,
    Of your loving arms,
    Keeping me from harm,
    Put your hand in my hand,
    And we’ll stand.”

    At the end of Skyfall, M dies, leaving Bond on his own again, back in the turmoil.
    The first two verses are an homage to M. A declaration of Bond’s loyalty and understanding of all that has happened before. A statement of his readiness.
    And then it is broken up by the chorus, realising that he is on his own and not knowing how he will be able to handle this. He knows he has to let all the emotions go and put it all on the line. There is no going back to being the person he was before. The writing’s on the wall. He is willing to throw all his past away, and when darkness comes and all hope is lost, he won’t be afraid. He will be ready to face any threat.
    The loss of M is his final heartbreak. The emotion-driven “blunt instrument” has become a cynical 00. The final proof being that he doesn’t take out vengeance on Blofeld af the helicopter crash on the bridge, but instead delivers the culprit in the hands of the new M, as per regulations.
    He does drive away with Madeleine in the end, but Madeleine has already left the agent Bond behind.
    “I can’t go back to this life. And I’m not going to ask you to change, you are who you are.”
    I don’t see that scene as Bond quitting at all. But funnily enough, it patches Bond directly into the Goldeneye storyline, where Bond is driving the DB5 with his psychiatrist (Swann is a psychiatrist) who “was just sent here to evaluate” Bond, as the irresistible Xenia Onatopp arrives on the scene. 😉

    Anyway … my take on four brilliant songs who more than ever, I think, complement the storyline in the movies they are from.

    • olufsphere

      *sigh* … a thought became a rant! LOL

  • olufsphere

    BTW – the dissection of the James Bond Theme is EPIC. Thank you Mr. Ringham. Really eye-opening how much it is re-used and how re-useable it is. Amazing.

  • Tylord Stevenson

    This was the best podcast yet! I could listen to Warren dissect Bond music all day long! I never noticed that pushed bit in the David Arnold theme. I hope Q The Music Show visits The US someday.

  • Stephen Wadsworth

    I really enjoyed this episode. If Warren and the band are ever p!aying in the Manchester area, I’ll definitely be looking to catch them.