By Laura Ferreiro
The inspiration for the 150th episode of "American Dad" came from the unlikeliest of sources: Louisville psychedelic rock band Wax Fang. The popular animated show, which aired Sunday night on Fox, featured several songs from the duo's back catalog that inspired series co-creator Mike Barker to write the episode.
"While listening to the track 'Majestic,' I was struck by an image that would eventually become the centerpiece for the whole episode," Barker told USA Today. "The Majestic would be a terrifying creature that would probe Jeff Fischer's brain and display his memories for his alien captors to see. [Wax Fang singer] Scott Carney's vocals would be sung by a hideous and bizarre creature called the Summoner, whose primary purpose is to awaken the Majestic."
Anyone who saw Sunday's episode, called "Lost In Space," was treated to a rock musical-style extravaganza in which an overweight, bespectacled alien interrogates a bewildered and befuddled Fischer as scenes of his selfish behavior flood the screen.
Barker had the revelation to use music as a muse when writing his shows while attending the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in 2008. He was watching My Morning Jacket play a four-hour set in the rain, and knew he could tap into music to help generate ideas for his writing. "From that point on I realized that music should be playing a bigger role in my writing," Barker told the Louisville Courier-Journal. "Writing is hard for me, and when you hear music that inspires good ideas, you’re really grateful."
My Morning Jacket ended up introducing Barker to fellow Louisville band Wax Fang, and the rest, as they say, is history. "There's just something so inherently cinematic about Wax Fang's music," Barker told USA Today. "Carney's voice is stunningly clear and dramatic. And his lyrics are specific enough to build stories around, while staying flexible enough for different interpretations."
Barker isn't the only one who got inspired by this collaboration. "I've scored short, independent films in the past but nothing that approaches the scope and reach of this project," Carney said. "It has certainly left me with a burning desire to seek out more scoring work, as both a distraction from and an extension of being in Wax Fang."