Former WWE music composer Jim Johnston, the man behind the iconic themes of The Undertaker, Stone Cold, and Vince McMahon, recently spoke with Lucha Libre Online about a variety of topics. Check out the highlights of the conversation below.
On Vince being a mix of a nice guy and a bully:
I consider Vince a friend. It was a little upsetting at the end with the way things ended but there were, as happens in corporations, a lot of politics involved and people trying to get my job, but Vince and I have always gotten along. He’s a really intriguing guy. He’s an incredibly charismatic guy. He can be really tough. He can be a real bully but fortunately, I did not personally get that end of him too frequently. He and I stood on pretty solid ground for 32 years.
On working via a ‘handshake agreement’ for years:
Earlier when I said I wasn’t really signed for a long time, for years and years and years, Vince and I operated purely on a handshake and I honestly don’t think either one of us ever thought a thing about it. Like, ‘oh my god, this is not good, to just be operating on a handshake, we need to get some paper on this.’ It wasn’t really until the company went public and then lawyers get involved and they saw me as a risk. It’s like, ‘oh, you can’t have this kind of important guy in the organization out there like a wildcard with no contract,’ so then I became an official employee and contracts.
On needing to brave with Vince because he likes to be creatively surprised:
Not that it ever really changed my relationship with Vince but he’s a really intriguing guy. Really smart. Really stubborn. One thing I always loved about him is he loves to be creatively surprised even though when he gives you something to do he’s always very specific. He hears something in his head or he has a feeling. Fortunately, with me, he learned that he didn’t have to spell that out musically, that he just needed to tell me how he wanted to feel with that character. I also learned over the years with Vince you have to be respectful enough to give him something that he asked for.