The Better Theme

The QOS theme is getting roundly panned. Here is my fan tribute to Vic Flick who helped John Barry create the distinctive James Bond Signature Theme for Dr. No and onward:

“…Approaching an amazing 50 years since it was laid down in a blank studio, Vic Flick’s work on the James Bond Signature Theme has lost none of its timeless charm. And neither has Vic!

In a business where everyone has stories of being cheated, of players who are more talk than action, with broken promises strung together often but pearls hardly ever, Vic Flick is a fine old English gentleman and a sensitive, powerful guitarist (with the energy of a teenager) who always holds great intimacy with his audience.

I could tell a dozen stories of how wonderful Vic is to friends, family and fans but one remembrance will do for now. Vic was kind enough to bring the Clifford Essex Paragon he used to record the James Bond Signature Theme (now safely ensconced in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio) to a convention I was hosting for James Bond fans in New Orleans.

I asked for volunteer help to quickly transport the guitar, easily worth six figures, to safety following our show. I later found pal Craig Marciniak still standing in our exhibit hall, Essex in hand, Vic at his side. I silently raised an eyebrow, forming a question.

Craig said, “Vic is helping me learn to play the Bond theme,” and I sort of giggled before Marciniak, whom I didn’t know could play a G Chord or pick a single note, rattled off Vic’s famous riff in rather high style. Craig smiled and said, “Vic Flick is why I learned how to play the guitar when I was a kid.”

I can never figure what aspect of that moment was the most poignant—that Craig was meeting in person this very gracious man who was his childhood hero, that Vic was once again patiently teaching styling on a song heard by half the world, a song he’s heard a thousand times and had covered by artists a hundred times, that Vic let someone even touch his personal guitar (Did Michelangelo share brushes? Did Frank Lloyd Wright let out Fallingwater for the weekend?) or that this moment was just one of many, all of them magnificent memories Vic Flick and his dear spouse Judy have provided for fans over the years.

Vic is at one and the same time a music fan’s buddy, ready to lift a glass with you in a pub or tell you the funniest story you’ve ever heard, and our kind link to John Barry, Burt Bacharach, Herman’s Hermits, Tom Jones, Henry Mancini, Jimmy Page, Cliff Richard, Diana Ross, Nancy Sinatra and countless more legendary artists.

Vic’s license is to thrill, whether it is a thrummed spy tune or simply a pop or rock classic that he’s worked and then tinkered on and re-envisioned for decades. I get chills hearing him finesse a tune with fingers that sounded around the music world in one of its greatest eras, and then improved and improved beyond greatness. Vic’s guitar weaves an ever precious tapestry and I have seen fans weep as his guitar gently does so and more. And he can rock, too!

Vic Flick is a composer, creator, innovator, studio legend and for those lucky to know him, a warm, considerate friend…”

—Besides writing about pool and billiards at Billiards.About.com, Matt Sherman hosts the “Bond Collectors’ Weekends”, events drawing celebrities and fans from around the globe to talk and live James Bond, 007.

Read Vic Flick’s New Autobiography

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