When Deadliest Catch executive producer R. Decker Watson Jr. and his team were putting together the June 12 episode of the show, they knew it was special. And it called for a meaningful piece of music.
“Essentially, there was this once-in-150-years phenomenon,” Watson tells Yahoo Entertainment of what’s been a particularly brutal season. “It was a combination of a blue moon, a supermoon, and a blood moon, which doesn’t sound like a big deal, but if you’re on the ocean and you understand the relationship of the ocean to the moon, it becomes a really big deal, especially when it takes place in the Bering Sea, which is already home to America’s largest tides.”
The results can be scary, as fans will see.
“It can push the boats around. It makes it really hard for them to get their gear out of the water, because you have this incredible resistance when they’re trying to pull these 800-pound crab pots up from 600 feet down,” Watson explains. “And they’re doing that all day long. Not only that, the tides go east to west and the prevailing winds go north to south, which creates a confused sea. All that combined during the winter season created some of the worst weather these guys have seen in their fishing careers and some of the most unpredictable weather. And they knew this going out, and they went out anyway, because that’s what they do.”
So, understandably, a jingle-jangle pop song wouldn’t cut it. As Watson remembers it, cast member Jake Anderson’s comment about a dream (seen in the clip above) pointed them toward Aerosmith’s 1973 hit and classic rock radio staple.
“Dream On” has just the right combination of dramatic, hard-driving instrumentals and beautiful lyrics to underscore the drama going on. Much of the crew — including Watson, who spent his college years in Bean Town — are fans of the “Bad Boys from Boston,” so it was decided, right?
Except that, as Watson pointed out, “any big, iconic, massive classic rock track like that is going to be expensive.” So his team pitched it to network execs, who said yes. The next step was for the crew to cut the song into the episode, just as they would use it, which took a week, before sending it directly to Aerosmith for approval. Licensing a song isn’t like walking into a store and plucking an item off the shelf.
“We were pretty nervous, because we would have had to start from scratch with something else, and also we were all pretty passionate about it,” Watson says. “We really wanted it to work. We wanted it in our show, because we felt like it was a really powerful piece.”
The hardest part of the whole process, Watson adds, was waiting. They were relieved when the band gave them the go-ahead to use their hit within a couple of weeks.
“And we were so thankful, we literally celebrated,” Watson recalls. “It was like a Tuesday when the word came in, and all of us — you know, I gathered everybody in a room — and everybody was cheering. We’re so excited.”
The almost three-and-a-half minutes that resulted is the longest cold open in the history of the show. It’s a moment that Watson, who has produced more than half of the show’s 200-plus episodes, says has a different feel.
“I think fans will love it,” Watson tells us. “Obviously, we created it with them in mind.”
The Deadliest Catch episode featuring Aerosmith’s “Dream On” track airs Tuesday, June 12, at 9 p.m. on Discovery.
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