|This article is written from the Real World perspective|
|Born|| Ronald Aaron Wasserman|
September 2, 1961
Ronald Aaron Wasserman (born September 2, 1961), also credited as Aaron Waters and The Mighty RAW, is a musician who was the composer of the main X-Men theme.
Wasserman first got into music at the age of three. His parents bought him an old piano that he would sit in their laps and play. He took some lessons and got his first published work at the age of five in a children's magazine.
However, every music teacher he had all the way through college asked him to leave or failed him for not listening. He felt it worked out for the best as he wanted to do things his way. He played in bands and in an orchestra. In addition to piano he played the drums and clarinet in a marching bad.
After college he focused solely on the keyboard. He felt at the time that in the future you could do anything if you could play the keyboard, and there would be no restrictions to any instrument.
His first paying job was in 1987. The band he was in was asked to come on stage and play fifteen seconds of rock for a network television show. He made about fifty dollars, and also earned royalty checks for two and three dollars each. He felt it was a valuable learning experience as he learned about stuff like registering with the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers and the television industry. Though at the time he had no interest in television and wanted to be a rock star.
His most notable works came when he went to work for Saban Entertainment. In 1989, he was brought in to engineer for a friend of his who had been in a band with him at the music department. That day he worked for seven hours, during one of which the friend comprised three one-minute cues. Just for the cues he got four-hundred and fifty dollars. After that he said, "I gotta learn about this, because I’m living on credit cards and eating flour tortillas and starving to death."
Afterwards, he would continue showing up and not leaving. He would volunteer for work and did it for free. They eventually hired him full time to engineer. He would clean up the cues using Musical Instrument Digital Interface and old Macintosh computers]] for the people actually writing the music.
Wasserman said that he pretty much lived at the studio writing stuff. He finally got the producers to start listening to his works, who then started giving him notes on how to write for television. They began giving him tiny projects. He wrote several themes for direct to home video stuff, though almost all of his stuff was turned down. He would write something energetic but his superiors would say that it was not what children wanted, eventually going with typical children's songs. He began to feel he was doomed in his work on themes.
Towards the end of 1992 Saban brought in a show they were trying to push called Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. At the time he wanted to work on the then in-production Great Expectations, which would not be released until 1998.
He decided to quick work on Power Rangers and composed the theme in about two and a half hours. He made Go Go Power Rangers, put his guide vocal in it, and felt that Saban would never go for it. However, the next day he had a meeting with Fox and everyone there loved it. He never knew if Saban liked it or not, but the company was stuck with it anyways. It eventually became the iconic theme for the entire franchise.
Afterwards he became very popular, almost like he could do no wrong. Saban handed everything to him, everything they needed, up until he burned out because of working so many hours and left at the end of 1995.
X-Men came around the same time as Power Rangers. The show already had the opening animation cut. Their only note was not to have any lyrics. As he said, "because really, what are you going to do, 'X-MENNNNNN!'?" as "Pryde of the X-Men" had.
Saban was still recording audio to tape, this was before they could record to computers. The company brought in three and one-quarter inch video tape. He would look at it then lock his MIDI computer to start writing the theme.
He watched the cut and came up with the tempo for a basic clip track. Then he started writing the theme from there that moved with the cuts.
He continued to contribute to the series doing some side scoring, though he was primarily working on Power Rangers. He was also working on Sweet Valley High and VR Troopers. Saban had him doing all the sizzle reels, their promos, special favors for the executives, and some low-level commercials. He now describes the experience as a giant blur.
Wasserman became baffled by the success of the themes of Power Rangers and X-Men as this was a time when music, both the opening theme and show's score, became more prominent and important in animated shows. He still is surprised at the long-lasting power of the themes that they are still famous and constantly downloaded. He claims to have gotten about one-hundred thousand emails about them, almost one a day.
He felt that companies would realize that music should have greater emphasis. However, he notes that almost the reversed happened. Most companies have toned down the music. During this time, whenever he did a high energy theme they would ask him to calm it, slow it down, and back off on the guitars. It wasn't until he was working on a show for Nickelodeon. That was the first time since 1992 that they wanted to hear him do a rock-based score.
He felt that making music in television secondary defied logic. Eventually Power Rangers went with an orchestral score for the show. He feels that people in the television business do not understand just how important the music actually is.
He attributed the toning down to problems with children at the time. Some were committing acts of violence and blaming it on music. Second Lady of the United States Tipper Gore got involved to get rid of minor chords, words like "fight," anything dealing with angry, and anything that could incite violence. Everything had to be positive and uplifting.
Gore scared a lot of people in the industry into getting rid of violent stuff and lightening up for kids. Wasserman felt this did not make any sense.
At that time, Wasserman had left Saban though he was still doing work for them on and off. They approached him with Dragon Ball Z. He did not do the theme but did the score for the show. He made it dark and heavy, with drones and building sounds. While the show was a success, he was not credited.
He eventually moved to another production company. He did try to contact Saban about DBZ, but they said they were changing the sound. He felt they were lightening up. He never watched the show but felt it was another moment when music became important again.
Wasserman claims that music is in his DNA and he does not have any other gifts. He feels best when people contact him about praising his music, whether it's helping people through rough times or inspiring bands, though claims not to have any ego about it. He has received near universal praise, never hearing about anything mean about his music. He attributes it to getting on the "right train at the right time" and everything lining up.
Starting in June of 2010, he currently works on Hot in Cleveland. He also does the music for Nickelodeon's The Thundermans and Bella and the Bulldogs. He has worked on The Soul Man. He occasionally tributes to Who Do You Think You Are?, American Pickers, and various wrestling shows.
There are other shows at TV Land he could possibly work on. He does a lot of work for various music libraries.
He is married to his bandmate Kathleen Fisher and they have a son named Aron.