Frank Klepacki is a composer (well-known for the work he has done in the Command & Conquer franchise). In addition to being a game composer, Frank Klepacki has done music for short films, television shows, and has done some solo albums. Frank Klepacki was born on May 25, 1974. He joined the game industry at the young age of 17 when he was hired by Westwood Studios. He has since composed full soundtracks for numerous games with Westwood, including Dune, Blade Runner, The Legend of Kyrandia, Lands of Lore, and Command & Conquer. One of his most popular works was that of the Command & Conquer: Red Alert games, which won several awards.
After Westwood Studios was shut down, he went to work with Petroglyph Games. He has developed the score for several games there, including Star Wars: Empire at War. EA Los Angeles did try to get Frank Klepacki to compose for Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars, but at the time he was busy with projects at Petroglyph. However, he did help EA Los Angeles by composing a few of the songs in Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3, and its expansion pack Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3: Uprising.
Working at Westwood
Frank Klepacki was born to a Polish family. At a young age, he was interested in drawing and music. By age 11, Frank Klepacki was playing the drums professionally. He applied for a job at Westwood Studios at the age of 17. He had learned the BASIC programming language, and wanted to be a game tester. When he showed a demo tape of his original music to the sound director, Westwood asked that he would compose the score for some of their games. The first game that Frank Klepacki composed for was the NES version of DragonStrike. He worked on a variety of their other games, including Eye of the Beholder II (the NES port), some of their Dungeons & Dragons games, Dune II, and Disney's The Lion King. Many high-profile composers (such as Hans Zimmer, composer for The Lion King) praised Frank Klepacki's work.
His rise to fame didn't come until 1995, when the first Command & Conquer was released. Frank Klepacki implemented a variety of techniques into the music of the game. He tried to integrate an industrial feel into the music, as well as heavy metal, orchestral techniques, hip hop, and house. Some of the songs contained short voice clips, but these were removed in the actual game (they stayed in the soundtrack CD, which was later released). Frank Klepacki wrote the score for the game's expansion pack, the Covert Operations, as well. It included eight new songs. The soundtrack for Command & Conquer was released via mail order on Westwood's website.
Hell March is one of the most well-known songs that Frank Klepacki composed. He originally wrote it for the Covert Operations, but when the game director, Brett Sperry, heard it, he said that it should be the theme for the upcoming Command & Conquer: Red Alert. Frank Klepacki had written it to be the theme for the Brotherhood of Nod, trying to make it sound more like a military song (including a voice sample of a German commander shouting, "Die Waffen! Legt an!," or "Raise your weapons! Take aim!"). While working on Red Alert, Frank Klepacki got to play roles in the cutscenes of the game was well. He played a Soviet soldier (who is killed by Kane) and an Allied commander. He had also appeared in the original Command & Conquer as a Nod soldier.
Command & Conquer: Red Alert's soundtrack was released to great critical reception. PC Gamer voted it the best video game soundtrack of 1996. Frank Klepacki wasn't completely satisfied with the soundtrack of Red Alert, however. He felt that some of the songs could be improved and remixed. The game was already set to be released, however, so the remixes didn't appear in Red Alert. Rather, they made it into Command & Conquer: Sole Survivor, which was not nearly as successful as Command & Conquer: Red Alert.
Frank Klepacki went on to work on many other of Westwood Studios' games. He composed the score for several of their games. Dune 2000's soundtrack was praised, despite the fact the game itself was not very well received. He worked on Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun with Jarrid Mendelson, and the two also worked together on Emperor: Battle for Dune. Frank Klepacki also worked on Command & Conquer: Renegade, which had the theme "Stomp" from Tiberian Sun. Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 included a remix of the popular Hell March (titled Hell March 2), as well as various new tracks. The last game with Westwood that Frank Klepacki was composed for was Earth & Beyond, a massively multiplayer online role-playing game.
After Westwood shut down, Frank Klepacki went on to work at Petroglyph Games in 2004. The first game that he composed for with Petroglyph was Star Wars: Empire at War. Despite the fact that most of the game's soundtrack was composed by John Williams, Frank Klepacki did about one fifth of the game's soundtrack. After Star Wars: Empire at War, Frank Klepacki also did the game's expansion pack, Forces of Corruption. When Petroglyph and Sega collaborated on Universe at War: Earth Assault, Frank Klepacki was asked to do the soundtrack for the game. It was the first time in a while that he had the chance to compose something original, and not based on a previous song. In addition to composing the soundtrack for Universe at War, he did many of the sound effects.
Frank Klepacki has also created many solo and band albums. His first album, called There's a Home, was by his band I AM in 1995. He also did Mmm, Mmm, Mmm and Pink in the Middle with the band Home Cookin'. His solo albums include Morphscape, Rocktronic, Virtual Control, Awakening of Aggression, and Infiltrator. He has done the soundtracks for two short films: Unreel Invasion and Essence of the Force.
The music for several television shows have been composed by Frank Klepacki as well. He has done music in Ultimate Fighting Championship, The Ultimate Fighter, Cupid, MTV, Miller Genuine Draft, Ultimate Fight Night, Amp'd Mobile, Inside the MMA, and HDNet Fights.