With some rare downtime last fall, Bobbo and Tracy Byrnes of the band The Fallen Stars decided it would be interesting to divert themselves from their usual Americana songs and try something different.
Being science fiction fans, the Huntington Beach-based band chose to write songs inspired by the short-lived TV series "Firefly."
The show, written by Joss Whedon, consisted of only 14 episodes and led to the movie "Serenity." Tracy Byrnes said it wasn't on television long enough to go bad and offered just enough fodder for their songs.
"The challenge is if you take something like 'Buffy [the Vampire Slayer],' which is seven seasons and hundreds of episodes, maybe you can write seven songs for each season," she said. "That's a little complex and a little overwhelming to do. The same goes for 'Star Wars.' It's about having the right amount and 'Firefly' was so perfect."
The married couple's plan was to write a song from each episode and the movie and release them on three five-track EPs, Byrnes said. The band has recorded the first CD in the trilogy and it will go on sale Sept. 21, debuting at a "Firefly" event called Can't Stop The Serenity.
"Like all great sci-fi projects, it should always be a trilogy," Tracy Byrnes said.
"Browncoats," or "Firefly" fans, will gather at the Starplex Woodbridge Movie Theater in Irvine to help raise money for the charity Equality Now, an organization that works to protect women's rights, according to the event's website.
Can't Stop The Serenity will host a screening of a "Firefly" episode as well as the movie "Serenity." The Fallen Stars will also be there to play some tracks from their EP.
Bobbo and Tracy Byrnes wasted little time getting started on the new songs. The two were able to carve out time during their busy tour schedule last fall to begin the writing process.
"We were driving back from a tour in Arizona and we had one of those DVD players in the van, and wrote the song then," Bobbo Byrnes said.
During the trip, Bobbo and Tracy would take shifts behind the wheel. When he was driving, she would spend time watching the episode and taking notes. And when they switched, he would play his acoustic guitar and create the melody.
"We make a pretty good song-writing team, so we're able to organically grow the song together rather than come at it from different angles," Tracy said.
As each song is released, Tracy posts a video on YouTube, usually a mashup of clips from the episode that inspired it, to help give listeners a visual of the track, she said.
The band is in the process of writing a new batch of songs for the second EP. Bobbo said that at first, he thought it was weird to watch a TV show and write songs, but he referenced other greats that have taken a similar route.
"Well, Rush read Ayn Rand and wrote '2112' and Led Zeppelin read 'The Hobbit' and wrote a whole bunch of songs," he said. "So this is a different version of that. [J.R.] Tolkien. Whedon. It's all the same."
If you go
What: Can't Stop The Serenity 2013
Where: Starplex Woodbridge Movie Theater, 4626 Barranca Pkwy., Irvine
When: 7 p.m.
Cost: $15. Proceeds benefit charity Equality Now
Tickets are available at californiabrowncoats.org
Music from The Fallen Stars is available at thefallenstars.com