David Mansfield 2001 interview

Si Twining

David Mansfield’s official website: www.david-mansfield.com

Featured on: The Way It Is, Night on the Town

Collaborations: Bob Dylan, Edie Brickell

Another original member of the Range, David Mansfield played violin on The Way It Is and Night on the Town. He been very busy in the years since – you’ve probably heard a lot of his work without even realising it. Read on to find out more… (this chat is from May 2001).

Tell us about the success you’ve had in writing film soundtracks – your credits are impressive indeed!


I’ve written scores for about two dozen feature films, both theatrical and cable, and over a dozen scores for network television movies. It’s really my bread and butter as they say. I still play live, and make records, but mostly I write film music.

2009 note: David’s latest work is on his official website.

What’s been keeping you busy recently? You’ve been writing and producing as well…?
I composed the score and provided the overall music direction for a feature film about traditional Appalachian folk music called “Songcatcher” that will be released in the U.S. on June 8th (it’s already been released in Australia) by Lion’s Gate Films. There is also a soundtrack album being released on Vanguard next week (May 8th) that will include music from the film as well as “inspired by” songs by various artists including Roseanne Cash, Dolly Parton, Gillian Welch, Patty Loveless, Emmylou Harris, among others.

When and how did you meet Bruce? How did you get involved with his band?
We had a mutual friend (another musician) that knew Bruce wanted to put a band together that would include some folk sounds in addition to the usual keyboard, bass, drums, etc., and he thought my fiddle and mandolin would fit right in. I just went out to his house and sat in with the band; we all hit it off right away.

Are you still in touch with Bruce, and the original Range?
Yes; although I haven’t kept in touch with everyone. Bruce and I stay in touch, especially if he comes through New York. George Marinelli lives in Nashville, and we stay in touch a little, though it’s been a long time since I last saw him and his family. I haven’t seen Joe Puerta for a long time– I just don’t get out to the west coast very often, except briefly sometimes to work on a TV score. And I haven’t seen John Molo for quite a while– the last time was probably when he was still touring with Bruce and played a concert at the Jones Beach Amphitheater. I miss them all a lot, and wish we weren’t spread out all over the country.

What would you class as your career highlight so far?
I really couldn’t say; I’ve had a lot of exciting moments in quite disparate areas. What’s more fun, conducting a symphony orchestra or playing on a hit record? I don’t know.

Do you have a favourite song of Bruce’s from the Range days? Or more recently?
After all these years and all the songs I probably still have the fondest spot for “The Way It Is”.

Any funny anecdotes from playing or touring with Bruce?
Well, both Bruce and George have always been rather addicted to practical jokes– especially the really juvenile kind that you play on the telephone. They got me good once. Bruce and George had some friend of theirs with a British accent call me up and tell me there was going to be a reunion of the band “Spooky Tooth”– and did I want to come along on the tour, what would I charge, etc. Another time I was rehearsing with the late John Denver for a tour, and Bruce kept calling the rehearsal hall, mentioning my name, and asking for “Bob Denver” (you know, the guy that played Gilligan).

So what’s in your CD player right now?
“Last Forever” by Dick Connette.

And what’s in your immediate future, David?
I’m not quite sure; I’m looking for a new score to do. Something always turns up!


Thanks to David Mansfield for taking time out to do this for us. He certainly continues to be busy into 2009.

Si Twining … May 6 2001.