Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991)
Firstly, I should apologise to lovers of the soundtrack to “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure”, because it certainly had it’s moments. “Play With Me” by Extreme was certainly a highlight, and to be honest there’s plenty more. The thing is, the second movie’s soundtrack is just that bit more, well, excellent, I suppose. Either way, this is my feature and I decided to go early Nineties instead of late Eighties, so there’s no need to hunt me down and Melvin me.
As far as the movies go, they are both equally bodacious, with the sequel taking the two hapless losers/saviours of the future and really messing with them thanks to a bigger budget and more inventive screenplay. Basically, an evil dude from the future sends robot Bill and Ted back in time to kill good Bill and Ted, and as a result the now dead good Bill and Ted have to return from the afterlife and totally screw up the evil dude’s plans by winning a battle of the bands competition. Oh, and it also features William Sadler as the best Death ever to grace the screen. Awesome.
For the soundtrack no punches are pulled, starting with a great track from Slaughter, “Shout It Out”, followed by one of Winger’s better, bouncier songs (in my opinion) “Battle Stations. It’s a real rabble rouser, playing to great effect as the lads head to the competition. Both tracks are exclusive to the soundtrack, which is always a good way to go. Strangely thrown in at number three is the most famous song, the one that actually closes the movie. Yes, it’s the overplayed “God gave Rock & Roll To You II” by Kiss, a song that suffered from heavy rotation (although not as much as “Crazy Crazy Nights”. The thing is, it’s one of those tracks that still packs a powerful punch, especially if you haven’t heard it in a while.
The only song on the soundtrack that doesn’t actually appear in the film (although it did get used in trailers) is “Drinking Again” by Neverland. This is a bit of an oddity, because no one knew who the hell they were. It’s a seriously cool melodic track from their debut album, and although they had real talent they were too close to the end of the melodic rock era to get anywhere. Damn shame, and the album comes very highly recommended if you can get hold of a copy without paying silly money.
Richie Kotzen barrels in with the upbeat and catchy “Dream of A New Day”, whilst Faith No More come along with the very Faith No More-y “The Perfect Crime”, your enjoyment of which will really depend on your tolerance for their style, I quite like it, though. Megadeth have a whale of a time with the angry (nothing new there) and powerful “Go To Hell”, the only true metal track on the whole album. It’’s also notable for Dave Mustaine having a cheeky dig at Metallica by having it open with a child saying the Lord’s Prayer, as in “Enter Sandman”. Ooh… isn’t he a scamp! Interestingly, the working title for the film was “Bill & Ted Go To Hell”, so this may have been slated as the title track, or maybe not. These two are perfect examples of bands pulling out all the stops with tracks that are, or were, exclusive to the soundtrack. In later years, many have ended up on compilations of rare tracks by the respective artistes.
The only track on the soundtrack that leaves me cold is “Tommy The Cat” by Canadian weirdoes Primus. I have been informed by primus fans that this is actually a brilliant track, but I just can’t see how this can be. Ah well, takes all sorts I suppose. The band feature in the battle of The bands scene in the film, playing the song, so that’s worth looking out for. Kings X crop up next, with the punchy, fists in the air “Junior’s Gone Wild”, showing a band at the peak of their popularity. The next song, “Showdown” by Love On Ice is certainly a rarity, as it appeared on the band’s four track demo but not on their only album. In fairness it’s overlong and not very exciting for the first half, although it does shift up a couple of gears for the second, more like two songs welded together than anything else.
Finally, there’s Steve Vai, who is the only person to feature twice, albeit with the same song. Well… sort of. “The Reaper” is a very, very nice, punchy instrumental that features briefly in the film, showcasing all of Vai’s moves in under three and a half minutes. Short and sweet, with no room for any flab, it’s exactly what I wasn’t from my guitar instrumentals! What we then get is another version to play over the closing credits, namely “The Reaper Rap”, which takes the instrumental and lays over it soundbites from the film in a way that is both entertaining and hilarious. A masterstroke if ever there was one.
So there you have it, one of my favourite film soundtracks and plenty of tracks worthy of a few minutes of your time. At the very least I hope it has inspired you to go back and watch the films again, as they are totally excellent, dudes.
This episode of "And Then Some..." was written by Alan Holloway
1. Shout It Out - Slaughter [4:19]
Directed by Peter Hewitt