Part 5 of my 7-part series (read part 4), about Randy Avers.  Randy is one half of the fabulous duo, Les Frères Méduses, who are writing and performing the original, live film score for us that will be performed on June 22nd to open our summer series.  Info here.

When the Alamo’s Tim League asked me about creating an original film score for one of his favorite silent films (“The Unknown,” 1927, Dir. Tod Browning), I knew that no other duo on the planet was more perfect for the task than Randy (who is based now in Norway) and his amazing French duo partner Benoît Albert.  Randy and I went to college together and I wanted to share a few stories.


It’s impossible to think of Randy at Oberlin without also thinking of the marvelously talented and totally unique Rami Vamos.  Guitarist, composer, innovator, entertainer, teacher, Rami has a unique brilliance that lifted us all to a higher level at Oberlin.  Rami has a particular penchant for young people’s education and entertainment and, among many other things, he’s been to Austin twice on our Community Concert series to entertain and educate thousands of elementary school kids with his brilliantly hilarious mini-operettas he writes with apparent ease.

Randy and Rami spent a particularly memorable (at least for me) year living together in “Talcott”, hands-down the best dorm you could hope for if you were a conservatory student at Oberlin.

Rami’s brother worked for a while in the studio of iconic filmmaker John Hughes (Sixteen Candles, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, etc.) and, through that connection, somehow Rami ended up with the “Baby’s Day Out” van.  I mean the actual, airbrushed, bubble window-having van that the bad guys used in the movie!  Our trips to Taco Bell in Amherst in that van were big-time highlights (Oberlin is a small town) – and that is absolutely just the beginning…

One of the many fruits of Rami and Randy’s friendship and collaboration was a set of songs for two guitars that eventually came to be called 12 Silly Songs for 12 Silly Strings (soon to be published, actually, by Clear Note Publications).  These started organically, as improvisations, and slowly gelled into composed masterpieces.  Only after months in gestation, when there was a critical mass of brilliant music that more and more people were talking about, did the two of them decide – at the urging of our professor, Steve Aron, as I recall – to codify the set, knock out the final few tunes, and offer up the finished whole as a 12-part unified work of unadulterated conceptually-stringent silliness.

I firmly believe that never before, and never since, has anyone written wordless music filled with such humor and comic-musical ingenuity as the 12 Silly Songs.  Certainly none I’ve ever heard.  And no one who was there in the packed Fairchild Chapel for the official premiere (though we’d all heard the songs in hallways and practice rooms by then) will ever forget the howls of laughter and foot stomping and outright joy that filled the room and filled our hearts that night.

Read part 6…