Dinosaur Tracks began as a paleontology-related, cable-access TV talk show that I co-produced (with Kevin Glover and Marvin Jones) and hosted in 1987. The show’s format had one paleontologist guest and one or more media guests per episode, with some “show and tell.” paleo-related patter and film clips squeezed in between. I also served as a kind of property guy on the show, decorating the simple set with items from my own collection.
The show needed an opening and closing theme song. Rather than use stock music I decided to write a “Dinosaur Tracks” song myself. My friend “Prehistoric” Pete Von Sholly — who would later appear on the show as one of my media guests, discussing his Tyranostar comic book — suggested that, as both of us were musicians, we record the song together (as the Iridium Band), playing all the instruments ourselves with me handling the vocals, in an actual studio.
That led to my writing more songs, enough to fill an album, which we titled, naturally, Dinosaur Tracks. Our goal was to create songs that made at least one scientific point, had a sense of humor, were good music and that both kids and adults would enjoy. We also decided that many of the songs would be in familiar styles and suggest well-known musicians and singers.
Pete and I started our own company Fossil Records, which released the album on cassette in 1989. We followed the original album with two “sequels,” More Dinosaur Tracks (1991) and Dinosaur Tracks Again (1994). I wrote all of the songs but one, “Dinosaur Circus,” which Pete wrote based on a book written and illustrated by him. Pete did the artwork for the cassette “j cards” and I wrote the liner notes.
Some of the Dinosaur Tracks songs proved popular enough to be featured in various movies (including Attack of the 60-Foot Centerfold and my own Dinosaur Valley Girls, The Mummy’s Kiss: 2nd Dynasty and Blood Scarab); and on a number of TV programs and various video documentaries such as The Hollywood Dinosaur Chronicles, Dinosaurs Next Exit, America’s Dinosaur Parks, Dinosaur Digs: A Fossil Finder’s Tour and my own Dinosaur Movies; and some of the songs got radio airplay and were heard in museum halls an auditoriums. In 1994 I wrote, edited and published a one-shot “fanzine,” the Dinosaur Tracks Newsletter.
Six songs from the first album became the basis for a collection of Dinosaur Tracks music videos that I wrote, directed and co-produced (with Kevin Glover) and Simitar Entertainment released on VHS in 1994. (This collection is now a “bonus feature” on the Dinosaur Valley Girls 2-disc DVD set.)
We also produced and released three cassettes in a series called Dinosaur Talks, in which famous paleontologists — Edwin H. Colbert, Elmer S. Riggs and Charles M. Sternberg — talked about their discoveries and lives.
Keep on Trackin’!