The 1979 teen rebellion movie Over the Edge, while not a blockbuster or an Academy Award winner, has its share of die-hard fans, among them Drats!!! singer/keyboardist/bassist Chairman.
“I remember renting Over the Edge about 11 or 12 years ago,” says Chairman, 32. “Maybe I had seen parts of it before then; maybe I had even read about it. But I remember being at the video store, looking at the characters on the cover of the VHS box and thinking, ‘Wow, these actually look like real kids in a real-life situation. Weird. This must be cool.’
“Having grown up in the ’80s,” he adds, “I was used to seeing kid-related films that featured a bunch of fakes as the main characters. All of a sudden, here was a movie that looked like it had kids that I could give a damn about. And it did. And there are so many other great things about the film that I could go on and on. The actual score for the film is great, not to mention the incredibly amazing songs by Cheap Trick on the soundtrack.”
On Feb. 13, Chairman and the other five members of his Portland, Ore.-based band released their own soundtrack of sorts — Welcome to . . . New Granada, a rock operetta based on characters and scenes from Over the Edge.
“For a while,” recalls Chairman, “we talked about simply creating an Over the Edge song. We were very influenced by The Who‘s ‘A Quick One While He’s Away,’ so we were all ready to do something more along those lines at first.
“So, about one year after [singer/guitarist] Yoon wrote ‘Ballad of Richie White,’ we were in the process of writing some new songs together, organically as a whole band, at practice and on-the-spot, as we often do. And ‘Johnny the Mute’ just poured out of us. ‘Claude’s Trip’ came out of us shortly after, and at this point we knew that we had to do a rock operetta.”
Chairman says the entire writing process for Granada was relatively easy “probably because we were having so much fun creating this music based on this killer movie.
“We did not write the songs in the exact order that they appear on the record,” he says, “but it was fun figuring all of that out as we went along.”
The disc ends with an unlisted cover of the 1970 5 Stairsteps hit “O-o-h Child,” which was featured in Over the Edge.
“[We’ve] been around for more than four years now,” Chairman says, “and ‘O-o-h Child’ is the first cover song that we have ever done.”
Among the Over the Edge principals who have been sent copies of Granada include co-screenwriter Charles Haas, who e-mailed the band with praise for the album, according to Chairman.
“We would love to get a copy to Matt Dillon as well,” he says. “Over the Edge is his first film.”
— By Chris M. Junior