Jim Johnston is the composer behind the legendary themes for Undertaker, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, Mr. McMahon and many others.
He’s opened up about his process for creating those songs, his three-plus decades working for Vince McMahon (many of them before the company went public in 1999 on a “handshake deal”), and his departure in 2017.
From time to time, Johnston’s commented on the music WWE’s been using over the last four years or so. It’s usually been relatively tame criticism, like when he told Newsweek a year after his exit that “what’s being produced just feels too homogenous.”
In an interview this month with Lucha Libre Online, Johnston opened up about the current themes:
“While I told you before this interview that I don’t do trash talking, but the closest I’ll get to being critical, is that, absolutely, I want to slap Vince upside the head. The music is so bad! These days it’s just sound effects and noises and stuff. It doesn’t have anything to do with the characters and the storylines anymore. That’s the essence of this business… And that’s currently lost. I don’t get it.”
While I liked several of the themes produced by CFO$ around the time Johnston left WWE (many of which have recently been phased out over reported ownership & royalty issues), I have to agree with him about 99% of what’s being cranked out lately. And I absolutely think the disconnect between music and character hurts the performers, which is something Johnston’s talked about before, in that Newsweek interview and elsewhere.
Your thoughts on the state of WWE Music these days?