Saturday, January 17, 2009


Wigga Fail and SK8bored Fail
Faction! Music for Sports Fans?

Sirius/XM has a channel called “Faction,” which bills itself as the channel “Where heelflips, handplants, half-pipes and hard rock join hip-hop and the biggest names in skateboarding, surfing, freestyle skiing and more.” It’s the channel for “action” sports. By this I suppose they mean “extreme” sports, because really, a bone crunching block is action. A game winning three pointer is action. Sodomizing yourself on a half-pipe to the cheers of your best friends (and the eventual loggers-on to failblog) is not action.

The channel, btw, is bollocks – a bunch of punkish music (Green Day is not punk. Beastie Boys is punk, but they haven’t innovated since “Whatcha Want,” and if you think Avril Lavigne is punk, then you should go and ask your mother – whom you still live with and likely breast feed from – who David Bowie is, because Avril Lavigne doesn’t have a clue).

As someone who is an audiophile and part-time sports fan (I enjoy sports, but don’t quite have enough of a vacuum in my life to consider following the every consideration and scrimmage of a particular sports team day in and day out) I don’t resent the fact that they have selected such awful music to represent me and my ilk. I do resent, though, that the idea of sports music – widely defined I the vacuous space of this blog as Arena music, music to play to, and music that gets you pumped when you’re about to play – is defined so very narrowly. I know that there are the obvious requirements here. The Ramones ‘Blitzkrieg Bop.’ Queen’s ‘Another One Bites the Dust.’ Blur’s “song 2’ (WOO HOO!). And as of late, Neil Diamond’s ‘Sweet Caroline’ and that techno song that sounds like Trent Reznor remixed that doo-wop sounding song that sounds like a Harvard barbershop quartet got stranded in Tanzania after their Fulbright money ran out. You know the one …

Which has gotten me to thinking …

Favorite song to listen to before a sporting competition:
Keeping in mind that my competitive career was limited to 1992-1999, when I played high school and collegiate football (and a short, tragic stint in competitive diving) there was only one song that was a must have for me before a competition once I heard it. The Deftones “Shove It (My Own Summer).” Chi’s insistent bass riff, Chino’s cryptic metaphysics echoing Hendrix like natural mastery (Hendrix chopped mountaintops with the edge of his hand, Chino one-ups him and shoves stars aside), Carpenter’s acrobatic polytonics, and the mid 90’s melodic metal staple of quiet verse-screamo chorus-quiet verse-loud melodic bridge builds and decrescendos nicely, mirroring all of the emotions of athletic competition – momentum swings, success, failure, quiet sweeping over a crowd upon the visiting teams score, mania rushing over them when the home teams scores.

Before ‘My Own Summer,” RATM’s “Darkness” and “Settle for Nothing” were the staples. RATM’s overt politicism and overtones of angst were perfect contexts for rural teenage intellectuo-revolutionarism, and Zach’s rhythm and Tom Morello’s Van Halen-meets-Zakk Wylde-meets-Wes Montgomery-on a pawn shop Ibanez were waves of adrenaline producing mayhem for me. In fact, the kickoff team I was on screamed “Death is on my side!” as we ran down the field. I am not proud of this now (bullshit) but I knocked three players unconscious and separated a shoulder in my tenure as a “Hitman.” BTW, Morello’s solo on “Settle for Nothing” makes another one of my Top Tens (#6 on “Song I’d most like to make love to that my wife wouldn’t allow.” #1? “Shimmy Shimmy Ya” by Ol Dirty Bastard). More to come, including “Favorite walk up music were I a Major League Baseball player” (here’s a hint, as I walk up to the plate, I’d take Giant Steps …) and “Favorite Music to have my team run out to at a football game” (hell no it ain’t ‘Crazy Train,’ it’s ‘Arc Arsenal’ by ATDI!)

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