In September of 2000, Spencer Michlin graciously allowed us to interview him and ask him a few questions about his involvement with G.I.Joe. Michlin, Ford Kinder, and Joe Bacal are credited with writing the familiar G.I.Joe theme song.
In addition to G.I.Joe, Michlin also is credited with such familiar theme songs as the Transformers, My Little Pony, and the Great Space Coaster. His current project is Bluesforkids.com.
Q: Can you describe how you got involved in writing music jingles?
I was an advertising copywriter working primarily on the Pepsi account. At that time nearly everything I did involved a jingle and I decided to open a music house to have the opportunity to write jingles for a wide variety of clients.
Q: Can you describe how you got involved with G.I.Joe?
Joe Bacal of Griffin-Bacal was a client. He presented the opportunity to compete for a jingle to advertise the G.I. Joe toy line, which had been redesigned and re-sized and was ready to come back to the marketplace.
Q: At the time, were you aware that the G.I.Joe theme would be used for a television show, or was it written with the expectation that it'd be used only for toy commercials?
We had no idea that there would be a show. The show came along a year or two after the toy re-launch.
Q: Had you worked with Griffin Bacal and Hasbro before G.I.Joe? What was working with Griffin Bacal and Hasbro like?
Yes, we had worked with Griffin-Bacal since the beginning of the company and with Joe Bacal at Benton & Bowles, his previous place of employment. We never had much to do with Hasbro, working pretty much strictly with the agency.
Q: Did you have any direct involvement with the G.I.Joe cartoons - such as the Mass Device mini-series in 1983? Scoring any of the background music, etc?
No, I'm just a composer and lyricist, not an arranger.
Q: Had you worked with Ford Kinder before G.I.Joe? Can you describe how your work with him went?
Ford Kinder worked for Michlin & Company for five years. He wrote and arranged music for a wide variety of my company's clients.
Q: Have you ever considered releasing some of your G.I.Joe and Transformers music on CD?
I don't own these copyrights and cannot release this material on my own. Suggest you contact SONY music which now owns this catalog.
Q: Are you working on any projects now? Anything you can talk about?
I have a couple of pop/country publishing companies and write songs for them, do a few jingles each year and, mostly, do non-musical advertising and marketing consulting work. And check out bluesforkids.com.
Q: Lastly, do you own any of the G.I.Joe toys? Any hanging around by your computer?
There's a G.I Joe lunch box proudly on display in my office to symbolize those war years.