Interview…Composer Joseph Stephens on Danny McBride, HBO’s The Righteous Gemstones, and “Misbehavin'”

This week, we got to hang out with North Carolina-based multi-instrumentalist, film score composer, and songwriter Joseph Stephens. He’s got a lot of experience in TV and film and one of the gems in Stephens’ in his crown is the a little ditty called “Misbehavin‘” otherwise known as the most unlikely of upbeat bangers featured in The Righteous Gemstones, HBO’s breakout series from series creator Danny McBride.

Stephens is the composer behind the show and has worked with McBride many times; their relationship goes back to their college days. Stephens composed and co-wrote the original song with McBride and Edi Patterson (who both star in the series). The twangy, fun-loving song is performed by former brother/sister musical duo Baby Billy (Walton Goggins) and Aimee-Leigh (Jennifer Nettles). Check out the video below.

One of the best parts of our interview was spending nearly 20 minutes discussing the genesis and execution of that track. The now iconic tune came together in the span of three hours amongst Stephens, McBride and Patterson. Truth be told, a lot more went into it than you’d think, and the story is nearly as fun as the song.

We again joined our friend Bryan Kluger of BoomStickComics for this session. During our interview, we got some great inside info on Stephen’s scores to Eastbound & Down, Vice Principals (pictured below is the vinyl release from Waxwork Records), The Last O.G., Never Have I Ever, and his scoring process, as well as his early days learning trumpet and, later, playing guitar in the band Pyramid. We even hit on his love for synthesizers, Alice Cooper, and, we kid you not, the hot pepper garden he tends to when not writing music.

So get comfy, and enjoy our time with Joseph Stephens!


You can find out more about Stephens’ work at his official website: josephstephensmusic.com/

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