To celebrate the start of the 2014 Major League Baseball post season, I conducted a web chat with notable New England minor league baseball blogger @PawSoxHeavy. You can read her work at http://www.pawsoxheavy.com.
We aimed to talk about music in baseball stadiums. We ended up talking (a lot) about John Fogerty, Australian baseball players, Rhode Island, garage rock and Simply Red.
PawSoxHeavy: Hi, I’m here.
Cam: Let’s jump right into it. John Fogerty sings “Centrefield”: friend or foe? Make that, “Centerfield” You’re American.
PawSoxHeavy: Initially, I didn’t mind it. Then, I worked at a ballpark and I hated it. But now I don’t mind it. It’s a far cry from “Fortunate Son”, that’s for sure.
Cam: Interesting. What ballpark did you work at?
Cam: Who were the Red Sox luminaries who passed through during that time?
PawSoxHeavy: It was when I was a teenager. Mo Vaughn, etc.
Cam: Who was the manager?
Cam: Seems like… Butch Hobson era. Whoa, jinx!
PawSoxHeavy: Yeah, he was scandalous.
Cam: So John Fogerty, Steve Miller, Bob Seger… who would you say is the modern equivalent of these blue-collared rockers?
PawSoxHeavy: Maybe the Black Keys? That’s a little bit of a stretch.
Cam: John Mayer?
PawSoxHeavy: Those guys are true dinosaurs. I think John Mayer is more of a Kenny Loggins type. Kid Rock, perhaps?
Cam: If you look at old pics of Bachman-Turner Overdrive, aesthetically, it’s amazing those guys ever got a record contract. I like some of their songs but damn, did NOT look like a rock band.
PawSoxHeavy: Didn’t one of them have enormous curly hair?
Cam: Yeah, big hair, tight long sleeved t-shirts with NHL logos was kinda their “jam”. And yeah, I was thinking Kid Rock too.
PawSoxHeavy: Oh, they were Canadian?
Cam: Yup. Leftovers from the Guess Who. Not sure where “Turner” came from. What is the strangest song you ever heard at a ballpark? Any hip indie rock? Explosions in the Sky?
PawSoxHeavy: Also featuring Gary Overdrive.
Cam: “The Pete Best of BTO”
PawSoxHeavy: When I was in Minneapolis, they played Replacements songs. I was surprised…
Cam: That’s pretty amazing. I like those regional cult bands who are just massive local bands in their hometowns. Like Toronto and the band, Toronto. Who I thought were from Buffalo for the longest time. Seriously.
PawSoxHeavy: The White Stripes occasionally? Around here, we hear a lot of John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band, as featured in Eddie and the Cruisers.
Cam: Have you heard the Hold Steady’s version of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”? Surprisingly amazing and affected!
PawSoxHeavy: I have not. In Pawtucket, they play Carly Simon’s version. I haven’t heard of Toronto the band. Do the Hold Steady sing the entire song? All the forgotten verses?
Cam: “Join us as Carly Simon sings ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame’ and remain standing for a spirited rendition of ‘Let the River Run’…” The Hold Steady seem to sing 70% songs and then, that dude talks through the other 30% about assorted nonsense.
PawSoxHeavy: They’re nothing, if not distinctive.
Cam: I like them. They seem like the next phase of the Replacements, Guided by Voices ilk. “Hipster bar band”.
PawSoxHeavy: I like them as well.
Cam: Is John Cafferty from New England?
PawSoxHeavy: He is from Rhode Island.
Cam: Is he still… alive? There was some college rock band from Rhode Island in the 1980s, no? Or a hardcore punk band? Necros or something?
PawSox: He is still alive. In the 1980s? I don’t know of any college rock/hardcore. How do you feel about “Centerfield”?
Cam: I like the clapping part at the start but it’s super cheesy. To your point, CCR were effin’ great so that doesn’t help. If it was some no-name singing that song, I’d probably like it much more.
PawSox: The clapping part?!? Really?
Cam: Can you think of any other songs about BEING an athlete?
PawSox: Oh, great question!
Cam: That Springsteen song? “… mumble mumble mumble…. WAS A BIG BASEBALL PLAYA”
PawSox: “Glory Days”. That Dead Kennedys song about high school football? “Jock-o-Rama”, maybe?
Cam: Ya! Totally. Also, Belle and Sebastian sings “I Don’t Want to Play Football” although technically, that’s about NOT playing sports. You know Tom Cochrane, right? His song “Big League”?
PawSox: I don’t know that one,
Cam: HIS boy’s gonna play in the big leagues. HIS boy’s gonna turn some heads HIS boy’s gonna…. knock ’em dead. Ahhhhhh-HOOOOOOOOAH!!! THE BIG LEAGUE!
PawSox: My goodness!
Cam: YouTube it. Canadian rock classic. I like it. The video is black and white, and foggy.
PawSox: Belle and Sebastian also did that Mike Piazza song.
Cam: Do you know the Pavement song “Major Leagues”?
PawSox: I don’t know that Pavement song. Which album?
Cam: I strongly dislike that B+S song. Around the time they started getting way too clever and cutesy.
PawSox: Ha. Also, Tom Cochrane was around way before “Life is a Highway”? Imagine that!
Cam: That Pavement song was on Terror Twilight. It’s fine but kinda forgettable. It sounds like a band that is pretty bored and about to break up. It is my belief that Tom Cochrane was marketed to be the John Cougar Mellencamp of Canada. Really, JCM was the evolution of the Millers and the Segers.
PawSox: Wow, [“Big League”] is is so intense! It’s like “Candle in the Wind” for hockey players.
Cam: Pretty much. Did you ever listen to that band Peter Buck created where they just did baseball songs?
PawSox: I did not! I totally forgot about that. And I read about it extensively. Also, I need to karaoke this Tom Cochrane song.
Cam: Did TC have other hits in the States other than “… Highway”?
PawSox: No. I don’t remember any. He’s no Bryan Adams.
Cam: Few are! So why did Buck do those baseball songs? Are they are sports nerds? I think a guy from the Young Fresh Fellows was in there too!
PawSox: I think baseball is one of the few acceptable hipster sports. Along with jai alai, maybe.
Cam: Is it because you can talk about yourself through the entire game and it’s pretty much fine?
PawSox: I think so! Plus you can casually bust out some Heady Topper… and vape.
Cam: Very true. You have plenty of time to do anything but watch baseball. BTW the Rhode Island band I was thinking about: Deer Tick. Not from the 1980s. Are they a big deal where you are? They are the evolution of the Replacements too. Almost laughably so, they’re so similar.
PawSox: You would think so, but no. Live music in Providence is dead.
Cam: Do any touring bands play there? Are there big summer music festivals? Newport?
PawSox: Newport Folk Festival. Colin Meloy showed up. Newport also has a jazz festival.
Cam: I get that guy and the Death Cab guy and some comedian from Saturday Night Live mixed up. Their faces.
PawSox: … and the guy who was in the last seasons of The Office.
Cam: Gary Overdrive?
PawSox: Ha, no.
Cam: What are the two most random bands you used to mix up? For me, it was Jane’s Addiction and the Leslie Spit Treeo who were a light female-fronted hard folk rock trio from Toronto who were mildly popular in 1990. Stephen Colbert?
PawSox: Grant? Wade?
Cam: Grant Balfour?
PawSox: I can’t remember!
Cam: Grant Balfour, the big Aussie hurler!!
PawSox: Haaaa yes, it was Australian reliever Grant Balfour. Or Pete Moylan.
Cam: Remember Dave Nilsson of the Milwaukee Brewers and southpaw Graeme Lloyd? Also, Moylan is Aussie?
PawSox: Nilsson, yes, Lloyd no. RE: Moylan: he is!
Cam: He’s the Braves pitcher who got hurt, right?
PawSox: … and Ryan Rowland-Smith. Yeah, Moylan was the Braves guy.
Cam: I think RRS was CANADIAN!!!
PawSox: Shut up! He was in Pawtucket last season.
Cam: Nope, you’re right. Aussie.
PawSox: He’s a sexy, sexy man.
Cam: Do you know the song “You’ll Never Walk Alone” by Gerry and the Pacemakers?
PawSox: The soccer song?
Cam: Damian Moss. Former Giants hurler. Aussie.
PawSox: Yeah. Who was the other Damien who was a catcher?
Cam: Yeah, is that KNOWN as a soccer song? I just heard it maybe 3-4 months ago for the first time. Great tune. Up there with “Ferry Across the Mersey”. Damian Miller?
PawSox: I prefer “Ferry…”. Miller, yeah. He played 4-eva. Like Benito Santiago.
Cam: The real question I need to ask: the Standells sing “Dirty Water”?
PawSox: Oh! It’s a good song.
Cam: Even outside Fenway, not a good song.
PawSox: That’s all I can really say. What? I do like that song.
Cam: It’s so boring though. It’s no “Psychotic Reaction” or “Pushin’ Too Hard”.
PawSox: Yeah, but it’s out of context. The Seeds’ “Pushin’ Too Hard” kicks so much ass!
PawSox: I bought the domain name deadsongs.com
Cam: Oh yeah? What’s going there?
PawSox: I haven’t figured it out yet… or how to execute it, really. It’s about songs like “Centerfield”.
Cam: So, it’s gonna be a blog?
PawSox: I think so, yeah. Songs that produce zero emotion when you hear them. Not even annoyance.
Cam: The aforementioned Kenny Loggins and his song “Nobody’s Fool” from Caddyshack 2? That’s one. I feel completely blank when I hear it. Not happy. Not sad. Not anything.
PawSox: I played “This is It” this morning!
Cam: 54-40 sings “Ocean Pearl”… another
PawSox: I don’t know that one!
Cam: More Canadian stuff
PawSox: What was Them’s big hit?
Cam: “Gloria”? Do you like Simply Red?
PawSox: Oh yeah… I do like them a little. I hear they’re despised in the UK. They’re better than UB40 by miles!
Cam: They were oddly cool. Check the video for “It’s Only Love”. Mick Hucknall getting all amorous. It’s quite the sight. Mick Hucknall wins the “unreasonable self confidence: music edition” award.
PawSox: I don’t know if I can handle that.
Cam: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SaGBbjDwmAc. I kinda like his shirt in the video
PawSox: Oh, okay..