TO H-EL AND BACK: A MELODIC JOURNEY THROUGH THE WORLD OF SMALLVILLE

Chapter I
Pilot: Introductions

So now the curtain gets pulled back. My name is Daniel A. Pulliam. I'm the creator of this web page and co-author of The Definitive Smallville Soundtrack web site, along with my very good friend and aforementioned "soundtrack sage", Pete Casiello. Strangely enough, it doesn't seem all that long ago that we started this project. Looking at it objectively now, though, I doubt if either of us would have thrown caution to the wind as recklessly as we did in the beginning if we'd had any idea how rapidly and drastically this would spiral out of control. What follows is a detailed account of the process involved in creating a Smallville music list that, for the very first time, can now truly be called complete. It's as detailed an account as anyone out there is likely to want to read anyway. So sit back and enjoy our blood, sweat and ridiculously obsessive tears. For what it's worth, we both found that this trip was one worth taking for ourselves when all was said and done. Hopefully, after reading this, other fans will ultimately feel the same...

Chapter II
Metamorphosis: From Fans To Meteor-Freaks

I didn't see my first Smallville episode until 2003. I'd always meant to watch the series, but it had slipped through the cracks up to that point. Once I did finally start catching up, the one thing that really jumped out at me was the show's tremendous use of music to tell its story. At the end of the Pilot episode, as Lifehouse's "Everything" began playing, I knew I was going to want the song. The next day, I got online and bought a copy of the album. This would happen again and again with each subsequent episode. I eventually wound up with an entire CD of Smallville music that I liked from the first several episodes, aptly titled "Sappy Shit" in barely-legible black Sharpie. But I'm a completist at heart, and the seeds of curiosity had already been planted. I decided that I would try and find every song from that very first episode that had so inspired me. Me being as I am, of course, my completism quickly spread to the second episode and beyond. 800 miles away, Pete was beginning the same journey on his own. The funny thing was, we had never met...and wouldn't meet for another year after that. We were just two random Smallville fans drawn to the same goal: find every single song from the show ever. Well, it seemed reasonable at the time...

Chapter III
Lineage: Assembling A Musical Family Tree

One of my biggest misconceptions when I first started collecting Smallville music was that this was going to be a fairly simple and straightforward process. After all, this was a major Warner Bros. television show. Surely there was a place to quickly and easily reference which songs were used in which episodes and how to obtain them. Indeed, a bare minimum of googling led me to the old WB music guide for the show. I didn't know enough at that point to know how good or bad that list was. But what's more, I had no reason to believe back then that it wasn't a perfect reference. And why shouldn't it be? What purpose would be served by an incomplete or inaccurate music guide - and one on the official web site no less? I never questioned that logic. I never thought I would have to. I copied and pasted that old WB guide into a notepad file and snagged what music I could that was readily available and went about digging a bit for the others. Not hardcore digging, mind you. It just took a little more Google magic. This was probably the easiest and least headache-inducing part of the entirety of this project. It's what a call the era of innocence. It's analogous to how Season 1 of the series seems now looking back to those of us who are still watching eight years in. It's the early, simple and unassuming Season that's warm and cuddly in comparison to everything that followed it. As I would soon discover, a good quarter of the music listed on that old WB guide wasn't exactly easy to track down. But once I did, I should have everything, right? Assuming the WB guide was complete...and in order...and accurate. As it turned out, that was three assumptions too many...

Chapter IV
Obsession: A Meeting Of Minds

Once the process of collecting all the music that was findable from Smallville kicked solidly into gear, there truly was no going back. After about a year, I'd found the vast majority of the material listed on the official guide. The ones I hadn't found were proving to be a real thorn in my side. Limewire and SoulSeek were proving to be my best and only allies in locating songs by obscure bands that Amazon had never heard of before. A quick Google search wasn't going to suffice anymore. At this point, I knew there was going to be far more work to this than I had originally intended, and I had no idea what the next step would be. So that work could proceed virtually around the clock, I even enlisted my then-girlfriend to do repeated Limewire searches for anything I didn't have while I was at work and she was home since our schedules were different. And even still, I needed more help. That's when I met Pete. Pete was everything I wasn't, and it made for a tremendous partnership. He had connections from years of compilations from various other TV shows. He knew the names of online libraries where Warner Bros. tended to get their music sourced. He had email addresses, phone numbers, and snail mails. And he would rattle off that information as if it was second nature to him. He was truly a veritable treasure trove of information. It was kind of nuts, but then, "kind of nuts" was precisely the kind of person I needed on my side if I had any chance of doing what I set out to do. And so, back in 2004, the email campaign began. We wrote to everyone under the sun that Pete had ever heard of. The list was extensive to say the least. Black Toast Music, Static Music, D2 Music, Fundamental Music, Bosshouse Music, Telepictures Music, MasterSource Music, Extreme Music, Kid Gloves Music, Famous Music, Megatrax Library, APM Library...and that's just off the top of my head. It was more than overwhelming. We spent hours scouring through what small amount of material was available on the company web sites to see if we could figure out which company owned which song. Some of them cooperated with our requests. Others stonewalled - for years - but eventually caved. And eventually, progressing this way slowly, we found everything that was listed. Of course, at this point, we were two years into a project that for both of us had morphed into something that was a whole lot more than the sum of its tracks, and it wasn't long before the old obsessive compulsive gene kicked in again. Was that old WB music guide actually complete or not? Was it in order? Was everything listed there actually in the show? How would I ever find out without going through each and every show with a fine-toothed comb? And with that thought, it was all over...

Chapter V
Crusade: A Completist's Nightmare

One pair of really good headphones: check. One over-cranked soundcard to hear any little nuance: check. One fanatical dedication and a willingness to do this for six and a half seasons of material: check. I began watching "Pilot" with only the music in mind and quickly discovered that the old WB guide was almost completely out of order. It was almost funny, actually. If someone had made an effort to get these songs more out of order, I'm not sure they would have been entirely successful. It was a mess. About 20 minutes into the episode, though, I realized that Pete and I had a much bigger problem on our hands. About a third of the music in the episode wasn't even listed, and some of it was barely audible in the extreme. But I figured I was only going to do this once, so while I was at it, I may as well do it right. So I used Goldwave, one of my favorite free programs out there, to capture the audio from each scene where an unknown song was playing in the soundtrack. I then kept markers placed on the list for those scenes so I would know where the songs would eventually fit into the order should we ever locate them. My system was twofold: a folder system for each episode with all of the unknown songs listed and numbered in order of appearance. And in each folder along with those unknowns, a notepad file with the names of every song I knew from that episode and place markers for the ones I didn't know so I could add them in later. This process worked very well in the long run, and I don't doubt for a moment that if I were any less of an anal retentive bastard, we never would have gotten anywhere with this part of our journey. Surprisingly, this process of reordering every song into broadcast order and cataloguing the unknowns only ended up taking a few weeks of constant work. In the end, we ended up reordering just about everything the WB list had compiled and we had over 60 unknown songs to track down, some of which only lasted a few seconds in the show. It was more than discouraging for a couple of guys who, prior to this stage, had thought they might actually be close to finishing the entire project. We were just scratching the surface. And, of course, most of our unknowns - being the songs that weren't there for their popularity, but as filler - ended up being ridiculously hard to find. Phone calls and emails restarted again in earnest, contacting everyone we knew with every clip we could throw at them. Imagine having to go to a library, emailing one person in particular who's agreed to listen, and telling them that you have 60+ tracks you'd like them to listen to and tell you if they recognize anything. It was almost impossible to do without being pests and burning every bridge we had with these people. Fortunately, it was at our lowest point that Pete would prove himself priceless...

Chapter VI
Action: Filling In The Gaps

If Pete had a mutant ability, it must have been his innate ability to hear two seconds of a song that was buried under layers of dialogue, sound effects, and random gibberish and actually make out anything discernable. Seriously, this guy was crazy. I'd send him a clip that was a few seconds long that barely even had a song in it, and a few hours later, he'd have the title, the artist, and the library the song was from. It was unbelievable. I tended to be better at distinguishing lyrics from mud than Pete was, and I used Goldwave a lot to filter out as much of the foreground noise as I could whenever possible, so I'd throw my two cents into the process that way and send him off to do the dirty work. It seemed fair enough at the time. Still, as amazing as Pete and I were as a team, I can't over-stress the complexity or difficulty of locating all 60 of those unknowns. It seemed positively insurmountable. It took over two years and a lot of begging. From Smallville's monumentally unhelpful ex-music supervisor to the odd artist who'd been placed by his producer on the show and didn't even know about it, just about anyone was fair game to contact, usually by any channels possible. I'm not exactly sure to this very day how we did it, but we eventually identified every unknown song that was ever used in the show. Some of them proved easy to find, others were a nightmare, but we did eventually find them. The last step was going back through and adding the classical instrumental pieces to our list, something I'd not thought to do the first time around with my headphone experiment. Once we were certain we'd found absolutely everything, there were a few we got rid of from that old WB list because they most certainly were not featured in the episodes in question. To demonstrate what was entailed in getting copies of some of these songs, I've dedicated the next chapter of our history to one track in particular that took me personally over six months to track down on my own. I'm hoping this will give people a greater appreciation of how much effort this takes at times and how crazy you have to be to do a thing like The Definitive Smallville Soundtrack...

Chapter VII
Fanatic: The Pursuit Of "Angels Or Devils"

All throughout the process of tracking down music and adding to our ever-expanding Smallville compilation, there were a few standout tracks that were incessantly - and annoyingly - in the back of my perfectionist's mind. We had a few songs that we'd found, but we'd found the wrong version. They may have been extremely close, but they weren't used on the actual broadcast. This drove me crazy. One such track was "Angels Or Devils" by Dishwalla, which aired on the eighth episode of Season 2, called "Ryan". After finding "Opaline" for an entirely different episode, I'd become something of a personal fan of the band, enough to know that the version of "Angels Or Devils" had to be live. Now, herein lay the quandary: how do you find one particular live version of a song that was most likely performed back in 2002 when the series' music supervisor won't so much as give you the time of day? I decided the best course would be to curl up in the proverbial fetal position and try my old friend Google. This yielded only one lead, though it seemed like a good one. Someone with the handle "sologenesis" was looking for the version of the song I was looking for, and he had posted his request on the old Google Answers forums. He mentioned that he thought the version from the show was called either "The Star Lounge" or "Live From The Lounge". The thread ended, maddeningly, with sologenesis's claim that he'd found what he was looking for with no word as to how or where. I began a dedicated search to find out who this person was and, if I was lucky, get in contact with him. Google Answers wasn't up anymore, so there was no way of emailing him directly through there. Googling his handle instead, I pulled up another website he'd posted on and tried messaging him through their forums. No luck. Googling "The Star Lounge" brought up a radio station based in Los Angeles called Star 98.7 FM. They sponsored a Sunday morning show that was indeed called "The Star Lounge". I went through their web site, but there was no mention of Dishwalla ever performing on this show. So I emailed them. No response. So I called them. I kept getting promises of call backs with no follow-through. No one seemed to remember anything other than the fact that the band had once been on the program, but couldn't tell me when or what was performed. I did a myspace search for the band and messaged both them and the lead singer, JR Richards. The band gave me no response, but JR wrote me back. He said "The Star Lounge" rang a bell, but he really wasn't sure when they were there or even if that performance was the one used in Smallville. This was getting discouraging. I called Star 98.7 again and finally got someone to talk straight to me about obtaining performances. They informed me that even if they happened to find the show, they couldn't give it out to me, the rights to the performance belonging to the band's record label. They weren't sure, though, if that fell under the purview of the band's current label or the label they were under in 2002. I tried both but found that neither had a very clear idea of what I was talking about or trying to do, nor did they seem to care one way or the other. Pete suggested at this point that we go back to the original source of information: sologenesis' post. We hadn't tried tracking down the "Live From The Lounge" lead ever since we'd gotten side-tracked with Star 98.7, so we decided to go that route instead. Googling that title didn't bring up anything. I then got a message out of the blue from a helpful Devoted To Smallville forum member who knew I was trying to track down the song. He suggested I try the old Dishwalla fan site forums. The site was down for maintenance, so I went to archive.org's fantastic "way-back machine" and started scouring through pages and pages of posts from the fan forums from back in 2002. Lo and behold, I found a post about the show and how that particular performance was to be used on Smallville. I contacted the forum's moderator by searching for her name in myspace only to be told that she didn't have a copy of the show or know where I might find one. Even more nerve-racking was the presence of a dead link to the track on the old fan site. When I inquired about this, she informed me that she was never in charge of uploading content, and that the guy who was had long since vanished without a trace. Well, this was just fantastic. Thus far, my best source of information had no doubt been the archived fan forums, so I went back to them to see if I could gather any more useful leads. The date of the performance had apparently shifted a few times due to an ill band member, thus leading to a slew of different and conflicting dates posted all over the place for this show, making my job that much harder. Finally, I happened upon a post that listed an email address for a gentleman who worked for the radio station that sponsored the program back in 2002. The address was given along with a blurb that whoever wanted a copy of this show was to contact him. The only problem was that the end of the email address was cut off as it was an archived post, with no way to retrieve it. Fortunately, the beginning of it (the part before the @ symbol) was intact, which gave me enough to Google once again. I found the entire address fairly quickly. Hopefully, it wouldn't be a dead email. As it turned out, it was not. I contacted this individual and, about a week later, was greeted by a return email asking who in the world I was and how I'd located him. He explained to me that he was the only person to work on "Live From The Lounge" that was even still actively working in the radio industry as far as he knew and he had no idea how I ever linked him to that performance. Even better, he thought he might possibly have a copy of the entire show, and if he didn't, he might know someone else who did. He asked me to give him a week to turn his apartment upside down and try to find it. I was as patient as I could be at that point. It ended up taking about 10 days in total, but he ended up finding that show and sending me an mp3 of the "Angels Or Devils" performance. It was a match for the Smallville version. Meanwhile, Pete had been doing more research in case this road hadn't panned out and had found some interesting tidbits, including the fact that "Live From The Lounge" was actually a completely separate show from "The Star Lounge", Dishwalla had actually performed on both shows within a two month period, and "Live From The Lounge" had soon after been cancelled, all of this effectively making this one particular performance of this one particular song a true needle in a haystack. I contacted JR Richards soon after and sent him the song I'd bugged him about months before. He was actually glad to have a copy for himself. I can say with relative certainty that Pete and I are possibly two of only three people on the planet who now have this recording. And for all of our efforts, we got the privilege of color-coding one single line of text from purple to pale blue. After that, it was on to the next song. This story is not a unique one. It is only an example of what we've faced each and every day as completists. But then, that's the kind of dedication and determination that something like this takes, and a story like this one is the best evidence I can give to all the fans out there that their letters of appreciation and support truly are appreciated. It's the only vindication or thanks that we ever get aside from knowing that we've made something special...

Chapter VIII
Rage: A Song-Seeker's Kryptonite

By far the worst thing that can happen to a music collector when trying to find all that is findable is to come up against people who, for whatever reason, want to impede your progress. Let me preface this by saying that I have no problem whatsoever with copyright laws or with artists being compensated for their work. It's actually quite the contrary as I'm a singer/songwriter myself. But I do think there is a line between copyright infringement law and the rules of human decency that some of these music libraries don't readily acknowledge. Case in point: Static Music Library. For over four years, I attempted without success to obtain two songs from this library only to be told time and time again to go away. I understand that composers have creative control over their material, but honestly, who out there is actually looking for "Zulu" aside from me and Pete? I mean, it's pretty absurd. Eventually, though, the library relented and granted me access to two songs that undoubtedly meant more to me than to their composers. And since that time, has anyone noticed a copy of that song circulating around the internet? Of course, not. Another big offender is Kid Gloves Music Library. As a company which professes to promote exposure for their artists, they should theoretically be the ideal place to go to with legitimate questions regarding music that has been placed on the show. Unfortunately, the very first email I sent to them (asking the names of a few songs from our unknowns back before we'd identified them all) was met with no response. After nearly a year, I received a response from them that was extremely rude for no apparent reason aside from their presumably being annoyed that a fan would dare contact them and interrupt their day. How a company like theirs manages to become a repeated contributor to a terrific show like Smallville without the slightest bit of concern for the interest of the show's fans is quite simply beyond my capacity to comprehend. I would like to think that, were I actually lucky enough to be in their position, I would have the humility and respect for the fans to know that they're the ones who ultimately make the series possible. And those two cases are far from isolated. In fact, fully cooperative people who genuinely see the passion for this that we both have are few and far between and are sadly the exceptions and not the rule. It's truly a shame that certain people find it their mission to stonewall people like me and Pete who are legitimately trying to create something unique and have a genuine interest in their work. I realize that trust is a rare commodity, but in my humble opinion, courtesy toward those who are sincerely excited to sample your ridiculously obscure and hard-to-find music should not be. As much as we thank those libraries and artists who have decided in their wisdom to help us (even those who initially said no to our requests), we would also like to take this opportunity to offer a big "up yours" to those absolutely countless people who've been nothing but needless hindrances to what we've ultimately succeeded in accomplishing anyway. We appreciate your giving us even more of an achievement to take pride in. Without all of you getting in our way at every moment, this surely would have been far too easy and wouldn't have come with nearly so sweet a taste of victory as it does today. Thanks whole-heartedly for nothing...

Chapter IX
Fallout: The Public Endorsement Of A Definitive List

Ironically, it wasn't until very recently that either of us had any idea that Smallville fans out there had any real interest in what we were doing. After briefly putting up a link to the list a few years ago, I opted to take it down after I discovered a number of people were shamelessly stealing the info and taking credit for it themselves on various forums. This was more than a little disheartening to see after doing so much legwork to track the bulk of this material to its source. As Jc of SVFan.com recently pointed out, there's a knee-jerk reaction to having others take credit for work you're so diligent about doing, and at the time, I was content just knowing what we had accomplished and allowing the rest of the world to fend for themselves. As time went by, though, I began to see what we were doing as more than simply a pet project, and I thought it a real shame to let the selfishness and conceit of a few ruin what had since become an essential resource from the rest of the Smallville community. Once I made the decision to repost the list, emails thanking me and Pete for all our hard work began to pour in, and we realized for the first time that we'd done something truly invaluable for fans. After four years of blood, sweat and tears, we can now call this list definitive with complete confidence. It's the difference between thinking you've compiled a good list and knowing that you've assembled absolutely everything there is in one place. The list speaks for itself, and I think the vast majority of fans are intelligent enough to discern a true source from a fabricated one. Looking back over everything we've gone through, I can say with conviction that I am extremely proud of The Definitive Smallville Soundtrack web site, and it makes me unabashedly happy to know that we can finally call this list complete and uniquely authoritative. With all due respect to Kryptonsite, The CW's music site, and all the other subsequent online attempts to replicate this project, we know that ours is the best, most comprehensive and accurate list available. We've done enough homework to know the difference. We have dedicated this project to the fans because, in the end, those are the people we're here for. They're the ones who support the show, listen to the music, and care enough about a project this monumental to read paragraph after paragraph about its creation. Thanks to absolutely everyone who helped us to make this project a reality. I could never list them all. Happy listening!