Tommy Tallarico Interview VGMpire

Tommy Tallarico interviewed by VGMpire

I realise this is a bit belated given the talented bunch at VGMpire posted this in December, but I had to share my excitement from listening to their amazing and candid interview with video game music legend Tommy Tallarico.

Tallarico was the genius behind some of my favourite soundtracks on the Sega Mega Drive, a system that has a bit of a reputation for twangy FM synth music and crushed PCM samples. With the right person driving the audio hardware though, it could sound amazing, and Tallarico joins the likes of Yuzo Koshiro, Masato Nakamura and Tokuhiko Uwabo who all had the Midas Touch when it came to Sega’s 16-bit underdog. I still regularly load up Global Gladiators on my machine largely to listen to the amazing soundtrack and enjoy the super-slick visuals.

Tallarico’s genius extends to Cool Spot (including the amazing rave music in the special stages), Aladdin (my pick of the 16-bit takes on the movie) and of course Earthworm Jim, including the brilliant arranged OST for the sequel on the Saturn (and I imagine it was the same on the PSone and PC, but the Saturn is my go-to version). With Shiny breaking away from Virgin under Dave Perry’s leadership from Earthworm Jim onwards, Tallarico followed suit and left Virgin as well, setting up his own studio to freelance for the game industry. His game credits are extensive (he’s nice enough to list the whole lot on his website), and I didn’t realise he was also behind the incredibly successful Video Games Live concert series! The more you know, clearly.

If you’re a fan of game music or the history of the game industry, I can’t recommend enough that you have a listen to VGMpire’s hosts Brett Elston and Chris Antista get all sorts of anecdotes and insights into this talented and very down-to-earth musician. There’s a link to the file on their blog post and you can also subscribe to VGMpire through iTunes or other podcast-y services if you’re not part of Apple’s walled garden.