I need better tunes at Canucks games

I’ve mentioned it before, on the blog and podcast, but there has got to be something done about music at Canucks games. I would give anything to be the guy with the job of running the controls and hitting play on the whistles. I would implement rules that certain songs would get limited play. Certain tracks would have to be retired due to being played everywhere else in the league, and there would be no silly sound effects (not that there is much of that being done at GM place now, but just getting that point out there).

Flickr: Catching the Canucks at the Shark ClubTo me, going to a game should be an experience. When you go see a movie, the soundtrack is part of what makes the whole thing worthwhile. When the movie is tense, the music reflects it. When it’s a party scene, then the music takes on the vibe. You don’t get to that pinnacle point in the plot and say, “Ok, bring on the AC/DC and Guns n’ Roses!”

There in lies my major problem of many “sports soundtracks”. The one year that I went out for football in high school, I fought the front. Bones Thugs & Harmony in the weight room and AC/DC for pre-game in the locker room did nothing for me. My own mix tape, with stuff like Nine Inch Nails (lesser known tracks, no less) and Helmet, was met with quick dissatisfaction when I found the room empty upon getting my reps in on the bench press. After a while, I was well known for popping on my headphones and zoning out into my own world.

So what would John do? Good question, but you know that I have some ideas floating around in my head. I mean, this is the new NHL, right? Let’s apply that “new” idea to more than just the rules on the ice.

For starters, I would have less of the staples. That means all of those “classic rock” artists in rotation would get a time restriction until the next time that it could be played again. That sounds draconian, but that would ensure some new blood to flow into the library of possible selections. Then you could also do some slight editing to some tracks to add a little spice to some of the music you have. People have certain parts of a song that they want to hear, and getting cut off at the point where the song is just getting good and the puck drops is such a downer.

Going back to new vs. old blood, there is the issue of the music at the beginning and end of a game. The U2, “Where the Streets Have No Name”, is something I like and have no problem of sticking with for when the teams steps on the ice. The music played at the end of a game, in which we win, has been a conflict for a while. Did anyone else notice that someone made a change recently? Instead of “Olé, Olé”, the Star Wars theme has been played a few times.

Flickr: Canucks vs. Avs (miss604)I like Star Wars. I don’t like hearing the main theme at the end of Canucks games, especially since there are other teams in the leagues already doing that. If you are going to change it, then go with something that is more unique. In fact, I’d say that the “Rebel Fanfare” would be a much better choice if Star Wars is a must, but it still lacks in a good choice for a closer. At least with “Olé, Olé”, people with a good, over-priced beer buzz will be inclined to sing along.

As for the rest of the tunes, I think I could come with a hell of a selection. You can’t forget to ask the players about stuff they’d like to see in there. I mean, with guys from Europe on the team, there is a lot of stuff that you would never hear on this continent to choose from. Sure, this would give me an excuse to play my favorite band from Sweden, The (International) Noise Conspiracy, but they do have tracks that could offer some nice atmosphere in times of need for firing up. At the same time, beats and rhythms can happen, all the while being able to maintain a family atmosphere. Combine that with the local Vancouver music scene, you can make this a truly unique, ass kicking experience.

And at this point, our guys need all the help they can get in the inspiration department. Salo, Pyatt, and Rypien all out with injuries from the last game? Aw geez…


14 Replies to “I need better tunes at Canucks games”

  1. OMG! You have stolen a blog entry I have wanted to do!

    Although I don’t attend games, I listen on the internet and watch games on DVD…I can hear it. Why did the music list for sports arenas stop in 1989???

    First rule…nothing should be played that is older than 1994 (unless it is an ulimate classic that cannot be denied)

    When the Canucks come out on the ice…Robbie Williams, ‘Let Me Entertain You’

    Hell is gone and heaven’s here
    There is nothing left for you to fear
    Shake your ass, come over here
    Now Scream!

    When a bad call has been made by Rob Shick…play the Gillette theme (remember Shick razors?). They used to do that in Portland when Shick was a WHL ref…very good.

    For in between music…use the theme song from Johnny Quest…it’s the closest thing to Johnny Canuck that is out there (unless there was an old Johnny Canuck TV show, then use that music).

    NO RAP! Period. ‘nuf said.

    Why doesn’t anyone use The Zamboni’s?? Some really stupid stuff…but some great fun hockey songs too. Hextall is great…The Helmet song is great for Edmonton fans and the classic Hockey Monkey is a great one to get things going.

    Hoobastank, The Killers, Stereophonics, Goo-Goo Dolls, Gwen Stefani, No Doubt, Bloc Party, Sugarcult, Simple Plan, Eric Gales, The Hives (if you want a Swedish band), Bowling for Soup, The Exies, Razorlight, Copeland, Dashboard Confessional, Mae, Snow Patrol, All American Rejects, Yellowcard…there is so much out there right now…and I am a 44 yr old grump!! Put the AC/DC discs away!!!

    Finally…if anyone…ever…suggests to play Queen…they will be taken out on the ice and tied to the goalposts prior to warm-ups.

  2. Ha! Brilliant! I stopped short of composing a playlist, but you’ve got some great calls there. Maybe I’ll extend that thought in the near future.

  3. Com’ on! How can you leave out the Iowa Hawkeye tradition after every big win?? The horn section starts blowing that every so slightly off key harmony, and then the polka tune rolls….

    “In heaven there ain’t no beer….”

    Talk about a beer buzz dance.

    BTW–We have amazed the parents at our little Catholic school at the home basketball games. I went to your favorite tech store, Radio Shack, and purchased a simple patch cord to feed our iPods into the Aux port on the gym PA system.

    “Wow–you guys are so high tech. How did you think of getting that stuff to hook up to the system? Um, do you have any Journey?”…..”Why, yes I do.”

    We’ve generated our own sports playlist. The boys run out to the latest Green Day/U2 tune, “The Saints are Coming” with a bit of sound editting by your sister-in-law. (She’s the family master of Gargeband.) Our school’s mascot is the “Saints”–Catholic school comprised of 4 different parishes, all starting with Saint Patrick, Saint Rose, etc.

    On the fly, I threw in a chunk of U2 (of course), Goo Goo Dolls, Scott Strap, and Lifehouse. From your web links, I snagged Echo 3’s version of the “Mario Brother’s Theme”–a big hit with the kids (6th Grade through 8th Grade). I slipped in Troubled Hubble’s “Ear, Nose and Throat” into the warm up playlist and the boys like the tempo.

    Our 8th Grade coach (late 30’s) requested anything by AC/DC and “Welcom to the Jungle” by Guns ‘n Roses. When I reviewed the lyrics with him and the principal, Axl screaming out “I want to see ya bleed” just didn’t fit the school enviroment. We couldn’t even start with AC/DC.

    Your nephew continues his rap phase. He picked up a cut called “Shoulder Lean”, editted it and presented to me as the 6th Grade team’s “signature” warm-up song. As the 6th Grade coach and iPod gatekeeper, I haven’t put it in yet–it has clean lyrics but it sure sounds less than intelligent.

    The first weekend of December, my guys played in a 6th grade tournament thrown by our main rival–a Lutheran school. (The host team blew us out in the championship game, 36-20; dang Reformation!) Those darn Lutherans played all kinds of ganster rap pregame and at the half. I’m pretty sure their time keeper/public announcer was that Michael Bolton guy from “Office Space”.

  4. Funny, I was going to do a post on this as well.
    I’m going to disagree with you on most fronts, with the willingness to be flexible.
    For one, NO RAP! Expat is right. But AC/DC / GNR tunes are a good thing.
    Asking what the players want to hear could be a good idea, but the songs they pick should only be played if it pleases the majority.
    And that is the hook, I think. It has to please the majority of the 19,000 in the building. That is where the Killers and No Doubt will fit in post 1994. I would suggest some Nirvana as well.
    I like the sound of ‘Where the Streets Have No Name’, as long as they don’t play the lyrics, which are about fear and running and hiding!
    NIN, John? Which tunes? Trent Reznor rules.

  5. I come from such a tech savvy family. I have to say, the Scott Strap is the only thing that I really have to call you out on. Besides the yuck factor, the guy is way too into himself. Saw Creed once and his jesus pose on stage was enough for me.

    AC/DC and GNR are near the edge of the library for me. It is really over played and hugely abused. I’d be willing to ban it completely, but there is that mass appeal thing to consider. That’s why I would limit its rotation.

    Rap is iffy, but hip hop is considerable. There is a difference! That’s why I called it beats and rhythms. There’s great electronic music, not only techno and house, that can be utilized. When you’re already crushing the other team, you gotta keep the party alive, right?

    And I’m all for editing music. The lyrics of any song in relation to sports is tough. I mean, Cotton Eye Joe? What the hell? Splice, layer, loop, and make it a combo of various tunes if you want. Anything is possible.

    Zanstorm… There’s a variety of NIN tunes to pick from, but parsing through “With Teeth”, check out The Collector; it’s almost a perfect tune for a goalie. :p But since lyrics can come into question, family atmosphere and all, that’s where editing comes in handy.

  6. AC/DC…Gary Glitter…Queen all over played and should be banned. If a team/arena wants to be unique, it needs to find its own identity with its own brand of tunes. Nashville plays nothing but country/western; its their thing. The ‘nucks could do so much better.

    And the theme from the Mr. Magoo cartoon is great for our other referee friend.

    To top it all off…whatever happened to the venerable organ? I was watching the 1994 Stanley Cup Final game 7 (ouch) and recognized that beautiful, sweet music during the breaks. THAT is what hockey is all about. Coaches wearing fedoras…and a pipe organ blasting out CHARGE tunes. Now, if someone could find a mix of the organ AND modern tunes…it would truly be an experience at the arena to savor.

    Old music is OK…but it needs to be an unplayed classic. Come Fly With Me…Frank Sinatra. Fire…Jimi Hendrix. People are Strange…The Doors. Party…Boston. That sort of stuff.

    Gawd I wish I had that job.

  7. Gotta agree agree with, GZ… Nashville has their niche. As much as I hate country music, “I like it, I love it, I want some more of it” is a great thing for them to play after a Predators goal. Totally fits with the city vibe.

    Also checked out the Robbie Williams song. You might be onto something there, maybe even edited a little bit.

    BTW, can we also toss a ban/limit on Motley Crue as well?

  8. Me, I say bring back the organ.

    The Saddledome “organ” plays tunes from various classic-rock and modern punk bands before turning into Go Team Go. From one whistle to the next, it can go from “Birthday” by the Beatles to “American Idiot” by Green Day, both of them leading into Go Team Go. Crazy.

  9. ah, i remember the good old days when between plays you turned to the person beside you and talked about what just happened, or sat in silent anticipation of what would happen next. i really dislike being condescended to, as if i’m unable to bear an instant without ‘entertainment’. i don’t make an effort to go to many nhl games for this reason – at least at home you have a mute button. when there was a strike at cbc tv i believe, there was a short, glorious era of watching games without commentary- only the sound of the arena itself. the sounds of the actual game are what i love, and that’s enough for me.

    i would however definitely be in favour of actual thought going into these things— why not get, you know, DJ’S if yr gonna do it—- eg. kid koala for a game as an added bonus? you could have a wide variety of hometown dj’s/musicians running the music in the regular season, and keep the best one or two for the playoffs. not that the canucks are making the playoffs. go leafs.

  10. fyi the canucks have used the star wars theme for about 5 years now they used ole for one season after they used it for a goal song

  11. I have a hunch that we’ll be stuck with AC/DC, etc., for a while. This hunch of mine centers around money — it’s probably much less expensive for the NHL to maintain rights to classic rock from the 70s, then it would be for it to continually renew the set list with more contemporary artists.

    That said, another hunch of mine would suggest that it would be less expensive for organists to play songs from the most recent groups (as discussed in posts above). As weird as it might be to hear Bowling for Soup over the organ, it would be less expensive because there are at least two types of licenses: (1) synchronization license and (2) master use license.

    With the synchronization license, whoever pays (NHL, in this case) can use the lyrics and music. With the master use license, the NHL can use a particular recording. [Remember Wayne’s World? When they rocked out to Bohemian Rhapsody, the studio had to pay for both types of license. But when Wayne just starts singing “Hey Mickey, you’re so fine” the studio only had to pay for the synchronization license.]

    So it would be less expensive for the NHL to buy just the synchronization license for Gwen Stefani’s “Holla Back Girl” and have organists play the music. A few problems here: what, to me, is exciting about that track is the particular sounds (not organ); not every stadium even has an organist anymore; those that do would have to be sure that the audience knows the chorus (the point of all this music, after all, is to get everyone fired up and screaming the same thing, right? No matter what it is?) . . . Well, you can think of more problems with that.

    Yet, when the fans wanted more goals the NHL responded with new rules, equipment limitations, etc. So, if the fans who actually go to the games let the league know that they’re not being entertained by the music, then they’d have to sit up and listen.

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