BlogTV Series

TMNT – Random Thoughts w/ Bryan VanGelder

With no new episode for TMNT this week, we here at wanted to introduce a new column. So, it is my pleasure to introduce you to my good friend, Bryan VanGelder, and our first installment of TMNT – Random Thoughts. In this new recurrent column, Bryan and I will discuss the curiosities of the TMNT world, the likes of which pull for your attention when you’re taking a shower, riding the bus, or just plain spacing out. Since this is the first installment, we wanted to have a lot of fun, and so today’s random thought:


Music has been an important element of the Turtles’ franchise. Whether it be the original theme song, the hip hop, pop, and punk soundtracks to the movies, or The Coming Out of Their Shells Tour, the Turtles and their creators have never shied away from making a musical statement. The Turtles are teenagers after all, and music is a huge facet of any teenagers life. It is with this mentality that Bryan and I discussed: what exactly would be on each Turtles’ Spotify playlist? Here we go:


For Donnie’s playlist, we wanted to highlight not just his interest in tech and computers, but also his personality. We picture him as being the kind who matches his music to the task at hand, but also his environment, getting lost in the experience. More than tech, Donatello is defined by his curiosity, and this is reflected in his music choices with a mix of new and old, rock and hip hop, and a few awfully familiar guilty pleasures. From Bryan:

Donnie is the pensive listener in the group.  Ever in the moment, his times in the lab soundtracked by the likes of Thomas Dolby, Gorillaz and other computer rock; inter-spliced with chiptunes like Anamanaguchi and Zen Albatross, then peppering in some electro-dance from both sides of the spectrum – the lighter featuring Justice, the darker including the more industrialized Depeche Mode or NIN.  The ‘machine-maker’ also has a soft spot for the retro and psychedelic, turning to the likes of Pink Floyd for moments of Zen… and maybe even a few familiar guilty pleasures here and there.

LEONARDOLeo_ch_pu2Leo’s playlist was possibly the most difficult to create. He is more worldly than his brothers, but he can often come off a little straight-laced and straight forward. Leonardo is more in tune with his feelings, and more willing to express them, and some of his more varied picks can come from this discovery. From Bryan:

Leo, while on the surface appearing bland and average in taste, has a surprisingly deep running playlist.  Yes he has soft spots for some of the major cliches, but he is also worldly, enjoying the likes of Yoshida Brothers (Leo was always more in touch with his cultural heritage than his brothers.)  Our leader in blue is also sensitive, and not afraid to tap into his more emotional side with Dear Hunter, Paramore, Postal Service and even Katy Perry … even if a few of those might be influenced by a certain serpent he may or may not be trying to woo.  Leo is still strong though, keeping The Gaslight Anthem and Against Me in heavy rotation, and isn’t afraid to let his geek flag fly either.


In contrast to Leo, Raph’s playlist might have been the easiest. He’s the most “New York” of his brothers and likes to step out every now and then and sneak into a venue with Casey. Now that he’s currently cruisin’ around space, his music helps him remember home and focus in on what he’s fighting for. Unsurprisingly, his music is filled with raw emotion, whether it be the anger he’s always wrestling with, or day dreaming about a certain Salamandrian. He also has a deep appreciation for Partners in Kryme, since they consider him the leader. From Bryan:

Raphael being the ball of emotion that he is has a rather predictable listenership.  Heavily in touch with his East Coast values and ever seeking new channels for his anger, Raph jams pretty hardcore on the likes of Public Enemy, Bad Brains and Minor Threat, only venturing out as far as Rollins Band or Avenged Sevenfold for something more contemporary.  But did you know Raph was a champion of unwinding?  Yielding a surprisingly deep knowlege of jazz and trip hop, Raph can be found at his most ‘zen’ while spinning some albums by Eclectic Collective, Red City Radio and Jon Batiste.  His guilty pleasures include Partners in Kryme, ‘Mona Lisa’ by Bayside and The Lord of the Rings soundtrack… but we have no idea why.


Mikey’s playlist is pretty wild. It’s all fun, and enthusiastically diverse. Unsurprisingly, there’s not really any downtime for him. He is on and ready to party at a moment’s notice. Mikey might not call himself the heart of the group, but he embodies it regardless, making it his mission to keep his brothers down to Earth, even lightyears up in space. Sometimes you need to unwind, forget the stress, and have fun, and when that time comes, Mikey is there to help. From Bryan:

Mr. Party Dude is just that: a party dude – Michelangelo’s T-Phone is filled with Aquabats, Andrew W.K., Blink 182, The Black Eyed Peas… the list goes on. And that is just to get him through his day-to-day.  He’s undoubtedly the most ‘in-touch’ with modern music out of his brothers, which is why Drake is presently so heavily repeated, but he’s not without respect for his roots either favoring the likes of The Pixies, Technotronic, Weird Al and Baltimora.  In retrospect, Mikey’s tastes are actually refreshingly diverse.


There you have it! What do you think? Did we miss any obvious choices? Did a particular track surprise you? Did you catch all our references? Have a new favorite song? Let us know in the comments and give us your Random Thoughts! We might highlight it next time!

The Author

Dan Spitaliere

Dan Spitaliere

Dan Spitaliere is a sound designer and engineer, voice over artist, and a lifelong shellhead. He grew up on a healthy diet of Turtles movies, comics, cartoons, and toys, and can recite the first movie in its entirety from memory. He is excited to be a part of such a great team in the middle of this current Turtle Renaissance!

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