Santa Monica Mirror

May 24-30, 2007

“Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) has a good thing going. With visual art and theatre courses at local middle and high schools and music programs at all levels, the arts are flourishing in the District at a time when schools across the nation cannot budget for such programs…

“…According to Gross, the program began at the urging of SMMUSD parents Greg and Carol Coote, who offered to volunteer time to help organize fundraisers for a District-wide arts endowment. For the arts, which functions as a wing of the SMMEF, aims to create a permanent endowment to fund classes in visual arts, music, drama and dance. Per the organization’s mission statement, the goal is to be able to invest the principal to generate $825,000 in annual revenue to be used to fund arts instruction. Funds are raised primarily through a series of events, the most prominent being the For the Arts concert, now in the fourth year, which is scheduled for June 2 at Barnum Hall on the campus of Santa Monica High School. For the Arts places a portion of the proceeds into the endowment and uses the rest to fund music programs for the next school year…”

“…But the June 2 concert, featuring performances by Jackson Browne, David Crosby, Venice and David Campbell, isn’t simply about raising money. ‘What’s most exciting about this,’ says Gross, ‘is that it is a community-wide effort’…”

– By Liz Ohanesian

The Oregonian

October 19, 2005

“…An 11-piece string section, directed by David Campbell (dressed in tux tails and jeans), was brought for the new material but also added depth and color to such old favorites as ‘It Don’t Hurt’ and ‘If It Makes You Happy’ and a striking, show-closing cover of Elton John’s classic ‘Levon’…”

– By Marty Hughley

Seattle Times

October 18, 2005

“…Opening her first tour in years, the formerly scruffy but elegant rock star was transformed into a classy chanteuse, wearing a silky, form-fitting white dress and high heels, as she began with “Run, Baby, Run” in front of a lively string section and her four-piece band…

“…The 11-piece string section, jauntily directed by David Campbell (father of rock star Beck) in black tails over faded blue jeans, added drama and texture to songs such as her new hit single ‘Good Is Good’…”

– By Patrick MacDonald

Seattle Times

October 14, 2005

“…In addition to her usual four-man rock band, she’ll be joined by a 12-piece string section, directed by David Campbell, who also happens to be Beck’s father…”

– By Patrick MacDonald

September 27, 2005

“…This one, a sweeping, often beautiful set pared down from a scrapped two-album onslaught, greatfully abandons the sunny fluff of 2002’s C’mon, C’mon and posits Crow in a sumptuous bed of late-Beatles guitar licks, Aimee Mann-ish tempos and melodies and, loveliest of all, autumnal strings, arranged by Beck’s dad…”

– By Ben Wener

The Age (Australia)

February 28, 2003

“There’s a new compliment going round world musical circles: ‘You guys symphony!’ It was coined this week right here in Melbourne, according to David Campbell, the American conductor and orchestrator who will be leading the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra through a greasepaint-fuelled performance tonight with the veteran American rockers Kiss, at the Telstra Dome.

‘”At the end of rehearsals yesterday I said to the orchestra, ‘You guys rock’, and (Kiss guitarist) Gene Simmons said with his typical wry humour, ‘Well, that would mean that we symphony’.'”

“It’s not just the language of music that’s being rewritten this week, as 62 members of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra join Kiss for the Kiss Symphony concert extravaganza that will be recorded for future CD and DVD release.

“Never before have so many classically trained musicians spent so much time in so much black-and-white make-up, poring over Campbell’s carefully crafted scores for such hits as I Was Made for Loving You and Detroit Rock City.

“Campbell, too, will be in full make-up, but it’s all in a day’s work for the composer-arranger-conductor whose CV boasts work on over 200 gold and platinum albums and 80 hit singles that have garnered an amazing 98 Grammy nominations, 26 Grammy awards and three Oscars along the way.

“In the 1970s, Campbell played viola in the American Symphony Orchestra, before contributing strings on recordings by Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, Bruce Springsteen and Carole King. These days he’s as likely to be working with Beck, Hole or Alanis Morissette.

“As for Kiss, Campbell says the band’s music lends itself to the orchestral treatment. ‘It makes total sense because their songs are really solid material, they hold up melodically and rhythmically. Just like a classical piece, there’s really meaty stuff to work with. The melodies are strong, the rhythmic hooks are really definite, and that works well with an orchestra, especially an orchestra being bold.’

“Campbell says the MSO is rising to the occasion. They had no trouble finding 60 volunteers to don the facepaint. ‘Paul Stanley (Kiss lead singer) told me that at yesterday’s rehearsal one of the orchestra members came up and said ‘I thought this would be horrendous, but it’s really great!’.’ “

– By John Mangan

The Age

March 3, 2003

“…The key factor was the orchestral arrangements of conductor David Campbell. Working bravely with some of KISS’s most rambunctious material, Campbell did an enormously sly, clever job of scoring so that both group and orchestral instruments would find their place in the mix.

“In the powerhouse Detroit Rock City and Black Diamond , he cunningly played off the blaxploitation-movie street-funk qualities implicit in the early KISS material, and threw in a few Bond movie-isms. King of the Nightime World featured ornate, almost prissy multiple string-figures that ended up sounding kind of like Dexy’s Midnight Runners meets mid-’70s disco hallmark The Sound of Philadelphia, with a little Vivaldi thrown in to make up the weight.

“In the ensemble sections of Love Gun , the MSO effectively became 60 rhythm guitars. God of Thunder picked up on the song’s theme to meet the band head-on with a pretty darn smart pastiche of Mussorgsky’s Night on Bare Mountain . He backed up with an amazing orchestra-only opening fanfare also derived from the famous classical composition God of Thunder.”

– By Leaping Larry L