The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #224: Musical Interlude – the Making of “The Last Dance” Part 2 / Rocketeer Theme

Episode #224: Musical Interlude – the Making of “The Last Dance” Part 2 / Rocketeer Theme

This week, I continue work on a ballad written from the perspective of Aurora from The Thirteenth Hour from a passage in the book where our young protagonists are starting to realize that there might be more to their relationship than just friendship.  Last week I had a rough draft of the lyrics.  This week, I’m singing the second draft and playing the chords on the keyboard.


While I was practicing the intro riff, I kept wanting to play the theme from the 1991 movie, The Rocketeer, scored by James Horner.  It’s not surprising since it’s one of my favorite soundtracks and one of my most favorite movies of all time, though I’ve never tried figuring out the intro theme, which is played partly on the piano if I’m not mistaken.


I’m playing it in the key of C, just like “The Last Dance,” which is probably why the two kept getting mixed up in my head, even though they don’t sound much alike.

Speaking of the Rocketeer, if you can find a copy of the Nov 2019 magazine, Fine Scale Modeler, you can find a picture of this most excellent painted Rocketeer figurine!





There are now Thirteenth Hour toys!  If you’d like to pick up one of these glow in the dark figures for yourself, feel free to email me or go to the Etsy store I set up ( and get them there.

If you haven’t checked out “Arcade Days,” the song and video Jeff Finley, Brent Simon, and I finished last winter, click on the link below to do so!

You can find more pictures and preview clips of “Arcade Days” on IG as well as this podcast’s FB page.

Empty Hands, the synth EP soundtrack to the novella, Empty Hands, is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

empty hands ep cover_edited-2.jpg

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!


The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #110: Musician and Aerial Video Producer Brent Simon Comes on the Show Part 2 of 3

Episode #110: Brent Simon – Musician and Aerial Video Producer, Part 2 of 3

Update: Click this link above if you are finding iTunes is playing episode 74 instead.  Trying to work out the glitch!

Last week, we had our first episode of Brent Simon’s interview, and this week, we discuss things like bittorrent, movie that were probably inappropriate to be shown to children (but were), how we went around humming John Williams scores as kids, and more.  Lots of 80s movies references in this one!

In case you missed the backstory, in the beginning of the summer, during the interview with Jeff Finley (episodes 101 and 102), we talked about Jeff’s making of a little documentary that rocketed to the forefront of Youtube back in 2006 featuring none other than current guest Brent Simon.  Last week, we talked about the making of that short film (called “The Brentumentary,”) as well as the media explosion that happened afterwards resulting in a CD of synthesizer tunes.  It’s, unfortunately, really hard to find now for some reason.  I did manage to track down a copy of another CD Brent talked about last week, the infamously named “Vomit Gold” by the band he was in prior to all this happening, Bellevue:

You can hear Brent’s synthesizer action in the background just like he mentioned last week.  I’ll figure out how to get it to Brent.  Of all people, he should own this disc.

Speaking of musical things, at one point, Brent references a childhood favorite track, which was a disco version of the Star Wars theme.  I’m not sure this is the same one, but here’s one I did find a medley version on youtube, which has the main theme, the cantina theme, and a bit of the Force theme.


We also discuss the notable lack of the Voltron theme in the new reboot, Tranzor Z (finally learned what that robot was called; see below), Transformers, Robotech, G.I. Joe, Thundercats, Prince Valiant (watch the intro here; always thought this was a kickass intro – the full song was done who the synth duo Exchange), and more.  We touch on a few movies my brother I rewatched a number of months ago (discussed in episodes 74 and 75) as well as a full discussion of some classic movie scores by folks such as James Horner (The Rocketeer, Willow,  The Journey of Natty Gann, etc).

Image result for tranzor z

Click on the picture for the original Japanese intro, which, true to form given the time period, has men singing in the background.

Find more Brent by going to the original source on Jeff Finley’s youtube channel or on FB at and, believe it or not, on myspace ( – the music still (sometimes) works there.

At the end of the show, there a clip of one of the songs from Brent’s “Seven of Nine” CD, a very catchy tune with clever lyrics called “Alien Abduction.”  If you want to see a “live” performance (11 years ago), there’s a clip Jeff put up on his channel of Brent busting out a 20 min set with friends with a number of songs from the CD (not to mention a short breakdancing bit on cardboard, no less):


And speaking of which, check out Jeff’s Soundcloud page for a number of new tracks he’s produced since coming on the show at the beginning of the summer.  His latest instrumental chillwave track:


Between Two Worlds, the synth EP follow up to Long Ago Not So Far Away is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

The bonus track, called “Flight of the Cloudrider” has a 80s movie mashup music video (see if you can identify all the movies!) which is available on youtube.   This app was largely created with the iphone app Auxy.

between 2 worlds EP cover 2

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!  Next week more on Brent Simon!


The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #53: Rocketeer Reflections

Episode #53: Reflections on Rewatching The Rocketeer and How it Influenced The Thirteenth Hour

I recently rewatched the 1991 film, The Rocketeer, one of my favorite films from childhood, if not my all-time favorite.  It encapsulated just about everything a kid could hope for – airplanes, jet packs, shootouts between gangsters and Nazi storm troopers – not to mention a great cast of characters with a plucky heroine and a dashing hero that was just enough of an Everyman to be easily relatable.  Sometimes, movies that seemed great as a kid don’t always make for great films for adults.  So although I owned the DVD of The Rocketeer and have rewatched bits through the years, I was always a bit hesitant about watching the film start-to-finish again, I guess out of fear that it would inevitably fall from grace after years had tarnished the nostalgia factor.


I’m glad to say that didn’t happen.  Not only did I watch the whole thing, I was glued to my seat and daresay I enjoyed the movie more than I did when I was a kid.

In many ways, it was ahead of its time.  Superhero movies weren’t really as big at the time as they were now, and in this age of global terrorism, it is comforting to think that heroes exists in our midst that can stand tall when they’re needed.  And in many ways, that’s what the Rocketeer (a.k.a. pilot Cliff Secord) was – just an ordinary guy who, though a mixture of good/bad luck (depending on how you look at it) and the serendipity of circumstance, becomes a reluctant hero in an uncertain age (at the dawn of WWII).   Part of me suspects that the original creator of The Rocketeer comics, illustrator Dave Stevens, created Cliff with exactly that I mind – not so much a hero chosen to have superpowers but an average citizen who ends up in the role and has to balance using his rocket pack for the greater good (fighting crime/Nazis, saving innocent people) vs. his own personal agenda (making money, impressing his girlfriend).

While I was watching the film this time, I was struck by how many similarities there are between Cliff Secord and Logan, the protagonist of The Thirteenth Hour. In many ways, it’s not surprising, since The Rocketeer was one of my favorite movies all throughout high school, and The Thirteenth Hour was written the summer after I graduated.  Both have a boyish, child like sense of gee-whiz! wonder about them.  While both are, at heart, good people doing their best, both are getting by on a lot more than special abilities and natural talents.  They’re carried along as much by a combination of pluck, luck, help from others, and just, plain old bumbling incompetence that favors the optimistic, idealistic, and brave … the very image of characters that are holding it together not because they are super prepared or organized but with a combination of chewing gum, spit, and twine.  (In fact, Cliff’s rocketpack is held together by chewing gum at one point.)

So, it’s not surprising that there are some parallels, both in character and appearance.  Here are a few of the latter:

-I think ones of the reasons I drew Logan with the haircut he has was largely due to an the unconscious influence of Dave Stevens.

Logan pushupsWM

This is one of the tamer pictures of Cliff Secord’s do out there.  He usually is a bit more disheveled:

-Cliff also worn a leather button-up jacket that, while looking a real pain to put on and take off, sure looks cool).  I gave the Imperial Rangers in The Thirteenth Hour tunics with a similar aesthetic, though I didn’t opt for the buttons.

logan kick rockWM

-And then, of course, both characters can fly owning to special machines.  Logan’s flying machine, Lightning, is talked about in episode #45.

I'll Fly Away Flying IG_1

I recently found a little replica of the hoverboard from Back to the Future 2 in a thrift store – that made my day.

If you’re interested in learning more about real-life attempts to create rocketpacks, you can check out the book Jetpack Dreams (an excerpt on The Rocketeer is below):

You can also read more in this magazine article:


More on the Rocketeer in the future!  Listen for the clip from the soundtrack by James Horner on the podcast as well as more postings on social media.

There are many excellent depictions of the Rocketeer since Dave Stevens’ passing.  This is a fine example by Alexey Mordovets.

As always, thanks for listening!