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Antonio Sanchez’s Birdsong

The story behind the all-drums score of last year's hit film "Birdman"

Antonio Sanchez
Antonio Sanchez

There’s no film quite like Birdman, Alejandro González Iñárritu’s dark comedy about a fading former star of superhero movies (Michael Keaton) battling personal demons while mounting a Broadway comeback. One reason for Birdman‘s distinctive flavor is its intense, intricate, highly original solo drum score, composed and performed by Antonio Sanchez-a bandleader and a drummer for groups led by Pat Metheny, Gary Burton and others.

Sanchez and Iñárritu first met in 2002, when the filmmaker approached the drummer backstage after a Metheny gig in Los Angeles. Sanchez was already quite familiar with Iñárritu, not only from his award-winning films, but also from his work on the popular Mexican radio station WFM, where Iñárritu had served as on-air host and station director. “The first time I ever heard Pat Metheny actually was on their night show,” says Sanchez, 43. “I was a big fan, just because they played really hip music.”

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