Horror in the 80’s gave us so many fantastic soundtracks. One song still stands out above the rest, ‘Cry Little Sister’ from the beloved classic The Lost Boys. As the film approached its 30th anniversary we shared the news with you that the song’s creator G Tom Mac (also known as Gerard McMahon) was not only doing a special tour but that he is also gearing up to bring us “A Lost Boys Story” musical, inspired by the movie.
‘Cry Little Sister’ is just one of the many contributions G Tom Mac has made to the world. Besides being a fantastic musician, he has created over 150 themes and tracks for both films and series. If you’ve seen The Lost Boys, Trick ‘r Treat, Terminator III, or the series ‘Charmed’, ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’, or ‘The X-Files’ you have heard his music. But ‘Cry Little Sister’ remains a favorite.
His music has been used by so many talented artists including Robert Plant of Led Zepplin, The Who, Kiss, Ice Cube, Ludacris, and his work on Eminem’s album “Recovery” scored him a Grammy. G Tom Mac also has a brand new album coming out titled ‘Untame the Songs’.
I spoke with G Tom Mac and he not only shared the latest news on where his musical stands, he gave us insight into how ‘Cry Little Sister’ came to be and more.
Horror Fuel: “Let’s start at the very beginning.”
G Tom Mac: “The beginning is always the best place to start, depending on what the beginning is. [laughter]
Horror Fuel: “When did you first become interested in music?”
G Tom Mac: “I became interested in music when I was about twelve years of age. I came interested a little earlier, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. But when I started to learn how to play the guitar was about when I was 12. I was inundated with the British sounds of the time. I gravitated to it. When I was thirteen I was playing the guitar and in a band by the time I was fourteen. I was the youngest member of the band. I could sing, which is why I got the gig. I was playing in bars. I was way too young to be playing in bars but a good ole fake I.D. got me in.”
Horror Fuel: “What was your first guitar?”
G Tom Mac: “My first guitar was a Harmony acoustic guitar that was horrible because it was used. It was all my parents could afford at the time. Then I graduated to an electric Les Paul Jr. guitar which I ended up smashing on stage when I was fourteen. We were playing in a Battle of the Bands and we won. So, I smashed my guitar up. I did everything but light it on fire. It’s a shame, I just saw one in a shop worth $7,000.”
Horror Fuel: “Wow.
G Tom Mac: The things you do to win a Battle of the Bands.”
Horror Fuel: “I actually have a 1920 Harmony acoustic.”
G Tom Mac: “How’s that working out for you?”
Horror Fuel: “The neck is bent. It was passed down to me.”
G Tom Mac: “The strings on mine looked like the Brooklyn Bridge or something.”
Horror Fuel: “Exactly.”
Horror Fuel: Besides working with rock musicians, you have also had several R&B and Rap artists use your music. What is like hearing your music through them?”
G Tom Mac: “It’s always an honor when someone else does my songs. It’s interesting. One of my first covers was by Kiss, a song called ‘Is that You’ on their ‘Unmasked’ album. It was something I wrote, but I didn’t write it for them. I was making my first album at the time and was very young, very green. Their producer wanted to produce my album and said ‘If you don’t want to use this on your album, do you mind if I play it for Kiss?’ That was rather daft. They recorded it and the first time I heard it it was a transcending experience. I didn’t know if I liked it or what. Then I realized, ‘Oh my god, that’s their version.’ I had to get used to other people doing it at first. Anytime I do hear my music by someone else which has happened a lot, it’s a great experience. It’s always great to hear another interpretation.”
Horror Fuel: “What was it like to watch Eminem win a Grammy’?”
G Tom Mac: “It was the ‘Recovery’ Album that I worked on and the song ‘You’re Never Over’. It was blissful. There’s no way to explain that. It was being a part of something I thought was just amazing. It was amazing to be a part of it. It’s all about the creative process and the work. The rewards that always come along with are always gratifying.”
Horror Fuel: “I can only imagine.”
Horror Fuel: “One of your most famous songs, ‘Cry Little Sister’. What was your inspiration while writing that?”
G Tom Mac: “I had read the script in 1986. Joel Schumacher sent it to me and wanted me to take a go at writing the theme song. I got the script. I was in New York. I got up one morning and started working on coming up with some ideas. I had probably gone 16, 18 movies by then and I had always had gotten the chance to look at the film to get a vibe. With ‘The Lost Boys’ I did not get that opportunity because they were shooting the movie. He sent the script to me to see if I could get a vibe. I did. That and the combination of walking the streets of New York one night and just getting ideas. I went up to my studio and just sort of all became clear to me. The sort of gothic backdrop of New York and what I had read from the script which was an amazing, cool script to have read. Joel loved what I created. It was interesting just to watch the film with the music in it. The film was completely not what I expected. What was in my hear while I was creating the music was completely different. Yeah, here we are thirty years later.”
Horror Fuel: “And it’s still amazing.”
G Tom Mac: “It’s unbelievable. I would never have imagined that of that song to go so far. There are fans that come to my shows that have never seen the movie but know the song. It’s pretty incredible.”
Horror Fuel: “I actually heard the song before I saw the movie.”
G Tom Mac: “I’m amazed at that really. Obviously, there are a lot of people who saw the movie that picked up on the song, but I’ve met more fans as I go out on the road that have never seen the movie but heard the song in a club or someone’s car. It’s not like it was a hit on the radio. I think it’s not just a cult song anymore but it’s in the fabric of all things listenable. It’s survived in a great way. It’s great that it’s attached to ‘The Lost Boys’ as well.”
Horror Fuel: “Is it true that there are two other versions of the song?”
G Tom Mac: “Oh god, there are so many versions out there. I can’t even begin to remember all of them. I know there’s a metal-pop band that had a kind of hit with it. Ludacris did a version, Eminem of course. It has crossed over genres, over every demographic. It’s unbelievable. I can’t even remember who all has done covers of it, to be honest, a lot of metal bands for sure.”
Horror Fuel: “Didn’t you do new versions of it for ‘The Lost Boys: The Tribe’ and for ‘True Blood’?”
G Tom Mac: “I did a ‘True Blood’ version, yeah. It was an idea from HBO at the time. I did a swampy, bluegrass version. We shot a video for that. It was interesting, there were fans who loved it and there were fans who hated that version. I thought it was kind of fun to do.
I wasn’t keen on ‘The Tribe’ to be honest. I didn’t want my voice in the movie. They asked if I would just do a music video to have on the DVD. I took it and used half of what I originally did and did the bonus video that’s on that DVD which is called “The Cave Club Mix”, an industrial kind of version at the time. It’s good o take your music and expand on it with the times. You can’t take yourself too seriously.”
Horror Fuel: “I’ll be honest, I really like the ‘True Blood’ version. Of course, the original will always be my favorite.”
G Tom Mac: “You sound like a southern girl.”
Horror Fuel: “I am. I’m from Georgia.”
G Tom Mac: “Well, that’s why you like it. When I did that version I was imagining that I was deep in the South.”
Horror Fuel: “I see. Well, it’s good.”
Horror Fuel: “When are you next doing a show?”
G Tom Mac: “I’m playing on September thirtieth at what is called Street Food Cinema which is this wonderful company that basically does this campout where they show a movie. They’re going to show ‘The Lost Boys’ and I will be performing before the movie starts. I’ll be playing some new songs from my new musical ‘The Lost Boys Story’ as well.”
Horror Fuel: “We will actually have someone from our staff there covering the Street Food Cinema event.”
G Tom Mac: “Fantastic.”
Horror Fuel: “Speaking of your musical, can you tell us a little about it?”
G Tom Mac: “I’ve been working on it for five years. I always thought ‘Lost Boys’ would make a great musical. I wanted to dig deeper into the characters and give everybody a backstory and how they all came together and how they became vampires. David is the most important vampire which Keifer Southerland played so well in the movie. We start the musical off with a five-year-old David and how he comes to America as an adopted child. That’s how it got started, figuring out how to build wonderful characters and keep the humor in there that the Frog brothers created. There’s a song called “Frog Bro Hero”. It’s very Broadwayesque, kind of Tim Burtonesque. There’s a song called “Once Upon” which is David’s entrance into being adopted and his whole story. And there is a song called “Sleep All Day, Party All Night” which opens act II. And we have “Death By Stereo”. I took some titles from the film. There’s also Michael and Star’s “Long Hot Summer” which is a duet. It’s a project I knew had to rock on a musical stage, but stay true to the form of what musical theater is and does. That takes a lot of thinking a creativity as well as bouncing ideas off of my team of people and producers just to see where I am at. I wrote forty-five songs just to get eleven songs to be absolutely definitively perfect for what this is. It takes a lot of time. But I’m very happy with how it’s come out. The soundtrack will come out in October. It’s something I’m very proud of. What is cool is that we have dialogue on the soundtrack between song so you get an idea of what’s going on.
Horror Fuel: “Has the cast list been announced yet?”
G Tom Mac: “No, it’s ongoing. We are still in the process of working with the powers that be of the Broadway world. We thought to put the soundtrack out. If you look at what ‘Hamilton’ has done, and ‘American Idiot’, most people have never seen these musicals but they know the music before they go into the theater. There’s a new trend in that, well, it’s a new old trend. When I was a kid Mom and Dad had ‘WestSide Story’ playing in the house. By the time I went to see it in the theater two years later I knew it. It obviously works. I have a twelve-year-old son and he knows all the lyrics to ‘Hamilton’ and he hasn’t seen it yet. That’s what we are doing. If you look at ‘Hairspray’, that’s a great example of a movie that turned into a musical that turned into movie-musical version. Hopefully ‘Lost Boys’ can do the same. ”
Horror Fuel: ” I hope so too. Personally, I’m a big fan of musicals.”
Horror Fuel: “If you had to pick a favorite musical from the past, what would it be?”
G Tom Mac: “That’s a loaded question. I have to say ‘Westside Story’. It’s not because it was one of the first musicals. It just had so much substance to it. It’s just amazing. ‘Into the Woods’ I thought was brilliant, ‘Sweeny Todd’. I think ‘Westside Story’ definitely. It was such a great love story and just amazing songs. What I loved a lot about it is that it was so diverse. There were so many different types of songs but they were all this big melting pot of New York. It really exemplified everything a musical was meant to be.”
Horror Fuel: It’s fantastic.”
G Tom Mac was fantastic to interview. He is not only an extremely talented and accomplished musician, he’s a very pleasant man that is easy to talk to.
If you are in the Malibu area on September 30th through October 1st you have to stop by the Street Food Cinema event for ‘The Lost Boys’ weekend and to see G Tom Mac in action on stage. He will be playing some of your favorites from ‘The Lost Boys’ and some of the songs from the upcoming musical.
As soon as more news is announced about his musical ‘A Lost Boys Story‘ we will let you. Pick up your copy of the soundtrack later this month. In the meantime, sit back and rewatch ‘The Lost Boys’, you know you want to.
In addition, G Tom Mac will be traveling internationally to appear and perform in many of the film’s 30th-anniversary celebrations. Traveling alongside other stars of the film including Billy Wirth (actor: THE LOST BOYS; BODY SNATCHERS) Tim Cappello (singer/songwriter) and Jamison Newlander (actor: THE LOST BOYS; LOST BOYS: THE THIRST), for screenings of the film G Tom Mac is currently set to perform internationally in the US and the UK.
September 8 – 10: HorrorHound, Indianapolis, Indiana
September 30: Street Food Cinema, Malibu, California
October 4: Beyond Fest, Los Angeles, California
October 7 – 10: Liverpool Horror Con, London, United Kingdom
October 27 – 29: Spooky Empire, Orlando, Florida
*more dates to be announced