The Man Behind The Music
If you’ve watched Justified, you know the theme song. I’d even venture so far to guess that you’ve found yourself on a Tuesday night stompin’ that foot as the teaser rolls out and the bass kicks in.
Yes, you probably know the Justified theme song, but do you know the man behind the tune? Well, you should…
T.O.N.E.-z is a Bronx-based rapper born to make music. Some people just are. His collaboration with Gangstagrass led to the creation of “Long Hard Times to Come” (you guessed it… Justified’s theme song). When Graham Yost heard the song for the first time, he knew he had found his show’s theme. Sometimes it just fits.
Here at Justified we’ve got a lot of love for T.O.N.E-z. And we think you should show him a little love too. You can check out his music at www.tone-z.com and on his facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/TonezIsHipHop (Don’t forget to hit that “Like” button). If you dig what you’re hearing, increase the love—his album, “High Voltage”, is available on iTunes now. Also, keep an eye out for T.O.N.E-z as he makes a cameo in this week’s episode, “The Devil You Know”.
An Interview with T.O.N.E-z
ME: Hey T.O.N.E-z, tell us a little about yourself? How did you get into music?
T.O.N.E-z: I’m from and still live in the Bronx New York. Music is something that you are born with; it’s something that’s in your soul, your spirit. My evolution stems from life, the more I grow as a person and learn about life it automatically attaches to my passion & lyrical creativity.
ME: What other artists have influenced your music?
T.O.N.E-z: Michael Jackson, Freddy Mercury & Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Run DMC, LL Cool J, Big Daddy Kane, KRS1.
ME: All great musicians to draw from. So, what’s the story behind “Long Hard Times To Come”?
T.O.N.E-z: Well I received an email from Rench [of Gangstagrass] about FX wanting to use a song we did named “On The Run” for the commercials to “Justified”. Once they used it, it became an underground classic. Keep in mind those lyrics were from 2004 and the commercial was 2010.
Since it became such a hit FX contacted us to record the theme song. Rench sent me a raw drum loop with a baseline and I literally came up with the lyrics on the spot—no pen, no paper—and spit them out along with the chorus in 24 minutes! I was trying to catch an episode of Seinfeld, so I did the lyrics in one take. FX accepted it and the rest is history.
Working with Gangstagrass is great. Rench & some hired musicians do the music and I make the magic happen once my vocals are attached.
ME: When you first heard the JUSTIFIED theme song on-air, what was your reaction?
T.O.N.E-z: I was alone in my room and I literally jumped up screaming “Oh heeellll nah!!” I was and still am super excited every time I hear it.
ME: How did your fans react to “Long Hard Times to Come”?
T.O.N.E-z: They were and still are very proud and very impressed with my work as a lyricist.
ME: What are you working on now?
T.O.N.E-z: I have a new album out named “High Voltage” you can find it on iTunes, Amazon, etc. [I’m] getting a tour put together and hopefully doing more scenes on JUSTIFIED!
ME: So it’s not all music with you. This season you’ll be playing Barnes, one of Limehouse’s henchmen. What was that like?
T.O.N.E-z: First off I’d like to say thank you to Graham Yost, Greg Sill and the whole FX family! Barnes is one of Limehouse’s henchmen and all I can say is Mykelti Williamson, Timothy Olyphant, the whole crew were super cool, very down to earth, and just amazing. It’s an amazing team. On the set everyone showed me real love and were so kool, helpful, and also funny. Mykelti helped me with my lines; he’s a great guy.
ME: If Barnes had his own episode of JUSTIFIED, what would it be about?
T.O.N.E-z: I would without a doubt have Raylan be down with me and welcome him to the dark side. And Ava—OMG, I have the biggest crush on her— [would be] right by my side. Boyd would work at Chucky Cheese. So for 45 minutes on a Tuesday night at 10pm you would see me and Ava riding around doing hold ups—on some Bonnie & Clyde type shit—meeting up at the hotel room and Boyd delivering pizza to us so we can eat and count our money! As for the rest of the cast they’d be doing the complete opposite of their roles. In other words it would be a bizzaro/Twilight Zone episode!