Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Jerry Buckner, who currently is displayed on card number 1345, from the Superstars of 2014 Collection. Jerry is also featured on cards 1832, 1981, 2388. As a musician and producer, Jerry Buckner created many memorable music hits in the 1980’s. Nothing prepared him for the smash hit “Pac-Man Fever”. The song was and still is etched in the minds of every adult that was playing video games in the 1980’s. Created along with his partner Gary Garcia, Pac-Man Fever was featured all over the world on the radio, TV shows, commercials and other forms of advertisement. Along with video gaming music, Jerry has produced and provided music for many TV shows and movie hits. Recently Jerry has produced and performed the title track for the 2012 movie, Wreck-it-Ralph.
Did you know at the time when Pac-Man fever was released, that it would be such a smash hit?
No not at all. We were just hoping it would get played locally and help our jingle business. When we were in L.A. doing some TV shows we were driving through Beverly Hills when our song came on the radio. We looked at each other and laughed when Gary said, “Not bad for a couple of guys from Akron.”
Where did you meet your partner Gary Garcia?
Gary and I met in junior high school in Akron, Ohio. We played in several local bands including The Outlaws and The Rogues.
What was the first song or album you created together?
The first song we ever recorded together was called “Gotta Hear The Beat.” with the artist name Animal Jack. It was meant to be a joke aimed at the record business, but it received radio play and ended up being released on 3 different record labels.
What is your favorite kind of music today and how do you compare music to the 1980’s?
I lean towards pop, rock, blues, and R&B but pretty much most music if it’s good no matter what genre. I’ve even grown to love some opera music. I don’t really compare today’s music with the 80’s. Music evolves, and styles change and I’m cool with that.
What are some of your other favorite songs you have created?
I liked two cuts we did on Steve Carlisle (singer on WKRP In Cincinnati) called Don’t Hang Up and You Told A Lie. I especially love the adaption we did for the Footprints in The Sand poem. But I think my favorite was E.T. I Love You. It was an emotional song with beautiful music and words. Unfortunately, it got caught up in record company politics and licensing issues that cut short its successful release.
Do you remember your first video game / arcade you played and what do you remember about it?
First video game I played was Pong. We were playing in an Atlanta hotel bar. I remember thinking how cool and different it was.
If you can design your own video game, what would it be about and who would be the main character?
Actually, we are working on a mobile game right now which I am not at liberty to reveal. Keep checking our website for details when it will be released. www.bucknergarcia.com.
What are your opinions about today’s generation of video games?
I think many are too violent, but the technical/graphics effects are amazing.
Do you believe some Video Games are too violent and lead to violence in America today?
As I previously mentioned, yes, I do think some of them are too violent. Whether that contributes to the violence in this country or not I don’t know but I do think they can desensitize kids towards violence. On the other hand, when I was a kid, we played army and shot each other up with toy guns quite convincingly but it didn’t turn us into mass murderers, so I think there is a lot more to the violence then just kids playing video games.
Did you ever think when you were younger you would be on a Video Game Trading card?
No never! I was humbled by it and grateful to Walter for including me.
Have you ever received any media coverage for your appearance on the Trading Card? If so where?
Not so far but fans love the cards. I always have a few with me at personal appearances to autograph and hand out.
When did you first meet Walter Day and where was it at?
I met Walter in 2014 at The Southern Fried Game Room Expo in Atlanta. He presented me with a cool poster that is framed and hanging on my office wall along with several others.
If you could describe Walter Day in one word, what would that word be and why?
What is your favorite movie you have created music for and why?
Wreck It Ralph. To sit in a theatre and see your name in the credits of a Disney movie is beyond words
When writing the Pac-Man Fever song, were there other versions before the final result?
Yes, there was a set of original lyrics that we ended up not using. I wish I had saved them but other than a few minor changes the chorus remained consistent from the beginning.
How much did you play Pac-Man back in the day and is it still a favorite of yours?
I played it a lot in 1981 and 1982 but slacked off as time when on. I have never been really big on video games. Gary was into them more than me and was better at them although because we were both very competitive anytime we played against each other it could get crazy.
You have written other video game music on the Pac-Man soundtrack, other than Pac-Man Fever, which one was your favorite?
I loved Donkey Kong and Froggy’s Lament, but my favorite is Ode to A Centipede
If you could own one arcade game or pinball game, what would it be and why?
Asteroids. Love the action and SFX.
What does it take to be a successful musician today?
Practice, patience, persistence with a little talent and a lot of luck.
What games today do you play and what are your favorite genres of games?
The only video game I play consistently is Solitaire on my phone. My favorite game is Backgammon
What was your favorite decade from the past and why? 60’s, 70’s? 80’s 90’s?
I would have to say the 80’s for the obvious reason but the 70’s would be a close runner up. My least favorite was the 90’s.
Who is your favorite video game character, other than Pac-Man, and what makes that character special?
I like Ralph (from Wreck-It Ralph). He’s a nice guy with a good heart and hasn’t shot anybody
What springs to mind when you hear the term ‘Video Games’?
I think mostly of the classic games although I do like to play some of the games on my mobile phone like Angry Birds.
Are you still involved with music today, and what role do you play?
I continue to write pop songs because I love to do it, but I have been working on some Contemporary Christian music too lately that I like a lot.
Where do you see the music industry in the next 20 years?
I really don’t know. I guess it will be up to the robots.
Where do you see Video Gaming in the next 20 years?
I think the sky is the limit. I hope the entertainment value increases but not the violence.
This is one of an ongoing series of articles based on the Walter Day Collection of e-sports/video gaming trading cards – check out more information at thewalterdaycollection.com.