Jingle Sells

The mad scientist of Big Science Music is making noise—with anything he can find.



Photos by Tony Madonna

A man, his guitar, soft ambient lighting … and the roar of a lawn mower? It’s just another day in the studio for Jay Green, owner of downtown-based Big Science Music. After working in the advertising business for more than 20 years and producing music for thousands of radio spots and TV commercials, Green has mastered the art of the 30-second single. A more versatile, real-life version of Charlie Harper from CBS-TV’s “Two and a Half Men,” he creates catchy jingles by tickling the ivories of his vintage pump organs, shaking maracas and even strumming ukuleles.

Green and his handful of Big Science team members have produced plenty of catchy tunes for clients like Kennywood and Sheetz, but it’s the music Green has composed for TV advertisers like the Pittsburgh Zoo and Xbox that is earning him awards and international attention. At this year’s Pittsburgh American Advertising Awards, Big Science picked up two golds and two silvers for music composed for the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, IC Light and the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Big Science also took home two Gran Prix Lions at the Cannes International Advertising Festival for its 2008 composition for the ad campaign promoting the blockbuster Xbox video game Halo 3.

One look at Green strumming his six-string behind his booth of scattered notebooks and vintage Fender amps, and you can tell the whole “award thing” doesn’t faze him. “I quit school in ninth grade to become a rock star,” says Green, who grew up in Braddock.

“I intended to make a living by making music. And I am.”

He’s certainly keeping the rock ‘n’ roll alive, from the leopard-print stairs leading down into the Big Science studios to his after-hours gig as a guitarist for local band Meeka in Jail (playing at a bar near you). Green’s 12 to 16 hour days in the studio have him experimenting like a mad scientist in a playground of traditional instruments and random noisemakers like vacuum cleaners, golf balls, pop bottles and, yes, even lawn mowers. Big Science’s arrangement for a commercial promoting the Xbox video game Gears of War features raw, starkly haunting war-drum beats worthy of a Hollywood horror score. But the always-resourceful Green simply used a small toy drum to record the percussions, hammering away with plastic drumsticks late one night in his empty studio. “Music is music,” he explains. “Sometimes you can get the biggest sounds out of the smallest, most unusual instruments.” 

Big Science’s studio space itself is a work of art, rivaling any professional gallery with its eclectic mix of pop art and antique treasures. “They all tell a story, you know?” Green says while gazing at his wall-sized, retro Isaly’s sign, which he stumbled upon during a drive through Meadville to pick up a vintage Vespa scooter for his collection.

The unconventional composer understands the power of stories. By telling compelling tales with only a half-minute of sound, Big Science Music continues to make noise on the national advertising scene. Not bad for steel-town kid with a love for rock ‘n’ roll. Now if only he could find where he put that ukulele.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

The Best Bars in Pittsburgh Right Now

The Best Bars in Pittsburgh Right Now

Many Pittsburgh bars have solid beer lists, well-mixed cocktails or a bartender who's handy with a shot and a story. We need more than that. What makes these bars the best?
View Pittsburgh & Its People From The 1850s Through Today

View Pittsburgh & Its People From The 1850s Through Today

#pixburgh: A Photographic Experience features images from the Sen. John Heinz History Center vault, which contains close to one million images. The show features a sampling of 400 images from the 1850s through today — including landmarks, fun, folly and floods.
In Concert: What's Next for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra?

In Concert: What's Next for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra?

Melia Tourangeau, CEO and president of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, looks to lead the ensemble forward after a discordant strike.
Restaurant Review: Umami in Lawrenceville

Restaurant Review: Umami in Lawrenceville

Umami sets the bar for izakaya openings in Pittsburgh. But its owners still have steps to take to keep raising the standard.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

AFC Championship: What We’re Betting for a Win

AFC Championship: What We’re Betting for a Win

Rhode Island Monthly and Pittsburgh Magazine are making a friendly wager over the outcome of Sunday’s game, and we can’t wait to taste their quahogs.
See How Chess Made Le’Veon Bell a Better Running Back

See How Chess Made Le’Veon Bell a Better Running Back

Watch the video that reveals Bell’s talents that go beyond the football field.
Viral: Steelers' Most Famous Fight Song Synced to Lights

Viral: Steelers' Most Famous Fight Song Synced to Lights

See how a Leechburg man has transformed his home into the ultimate Pittsburgh Steelers shrine, but we must warn you, the song will be stuck in your head for the rest of the day.
RMU President Named to College Football Playoff Committee

RMU President Named to College Football Playoff Committee

Chris Howard will help decide which four teams will vie each year for college football’s national championship.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

The Best Bars in Pittsburgh Right Now

The Best Bars in Pittsburgh Right Now

Many Pittsburgh bars have solid beer lists, well-mixed cocktails or a bartender who's handy with a shot and a story. We need more than that. What makes these bars the best?
View Pittsburgh & Its People From The 1850s Through Today

View Pittsburgh & Its People From The 1850s Through Today

#pixburgh: A Photographic Experience features images from the Sen. John Heinz History Center vault, which contains close to one million images. The show features a sampling of 400 images from the 1850s through today — including landmarks, fun, folly and floods.
In Concert: What's Next for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra?

In Concert: What's Next for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra?

Melia Tourangeau, CEO and president of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, looks to lead the ensemble forward after a discordant strike.
Restaurant Review: Umami in Lawrenceville

Restaurant Review: Umami in Lawrenceville

Umami sets the bar for izakaya openings in Pittsburgh. But its owners still have steps to take to keep raising the standard.
Daytripping: Have Musket, Will Travel

Daytripping: Have Musket, Will Travel

The rest is history at ye olde Colonial Williamsburg, the former capital of Virginia and now a restored revolutionary war-era village.
Talk of the Tahn: The Consequences of Trespassing

Talk of the Tahn: The Consequences of Trespassing

I snuck into a steel mill. Bethlehem, Pa. I’d been bragging about how big Pittsburgh’s industrial ruins were when a woman in a bar told me, “Bethlehem’s are bigger.” Size matters.
Edit Module
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


AFC Championship: What We’re Betting for a Win

AFC Championship: What We’re Betting for a Win

Rhode Island Monthly and Pittsburgh Magazine are making a friendly wager over the outcome of Sunday’s game, and we can’t wait to taste their quahogs.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Restaurant Industry Fundraiser to Aid Injured Chef

Restaurant Industry Fundraiser to Aid Injured Chef

Zach Behm was chef de cuisine at Cure in Upper Lawrenceville at the time of a July car wreck.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
The Best 6 Places to Get a Cup of Tea in Pittsburgh

The Best 6 Places to Get a Cup of Tea in Pittsburgh

The quiet rise of Pittsburgh's tea scene gives us a few favorite gems.

Comments


The Trendy New East Liberty Hangout ... Primanti's?

The Trendy New East Liberty Hangout ... Primanti's?

The latest outpost of the popular local chain is housed in the former Verde space in Garfield.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Tomlin Needs to Be Tomlin Against Brady, Belichick

Tomlin Needs to Be Tomlin Against Brady, Belichick

The Steelers are going to have to attack the game to survive it, to grab it by the throat and choke it to the desired conclusion.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Tantalizing Textiles for the Table

Tantalizing Textiles for the Table

Check out the chic decor from Pittsburgh-based artist and designer Janice Nelson.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
Shyamalan's Split is Troubling For the Wrong Reasons

Shyamalan's Split is Troubling For the Wrong Reasons

Reviews of "Split," "20th Century Women" and "The Founder," plus local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Pittsburgh Romance: How Their Love Survived Long-Distance

Pittsburgh Romance: How Their Love Survived Long-Distance

From coast to coast and continent to continent, these couples showed that absence really does make the heart grow fonder.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Urban Fit Co. Opening Flagship Shop in Sewickley

Urban Fit Co. Opening Flagship Shop in Sewickley

The locally owned active wear boutique is slated to open in March. Plus, get all the details on Pittsburgh’s new luxury residential real estate firm, Piatt Sotheby’s International Realty.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Pittsburgh Artist’s Work to be Featured at Thiel College

Pittsburgh Artist’s Work to be Featured at Thiel College

Benedict Oddi’s collection “Scouts and Nomads” will be on display in a campus gallery.

Comments