Poor Jimmy Fallon. Not only does he have a lackluster late night TV show that nobody watches, but he has to share the ‘limelight’* with another guy named Jimmy with another lackluster late night TV show that nobody watches. Imagine if there was another guy named Truman who loved Taco Tuesday and never got laid. People would get us mixed up all the time!
*Mo’ like lemonlight – coming on at 12:35 AM isn’t fame unless your name is Conan O’ Brien and it’s between 1993 and 2009.
So maybe Jimmy Fallon was trying to set himself apart from the crowd when he and his staff wrote ‘We Are The Ducks From Oregon’, the first college football power ballad, and hired former Skid Row frontman Sebastian Bach to sing it on the air about a week before the game. Or maybe he was trying to make a desperate grab for publicity, predicated on the idea that fans and alumni of a given school in the leadup to the season’s biggest college football game might start paying attention to him if he wrote a congratulatory song about their team.
This doesn't rhyme as well.
Look, I’m not trying to sound nasty or anything. It was really sweet of Jimmy Fallon to write a song about how great our football team is. I just wish the song hadn’t sucked so much, along with the guy he had sing it.
PART 2: YOU ALL KNOW THE WORDS
In case you were wondering, this is what lame looks like.
On Day Two of our National Championship adventure, we rose at 10:30 and trotted off to yet another dusty rehearsal. We had a lot to learn in a short amount of time – today was the day of the official Oregon Pep Rally, which was forecasted to be attended by some 15,000 people, and we had just been handed the music for the marching band arrangement of Sebastian Bach’s ‘We Are The Ducks Of Oregon.’
The Band Director assured us that, if we learned this song and played it at the rally, the resulting video would ‘go viral.’ I didn’t really see how having a viral video on the Internet would improve the fortunes of the Oregon Marching Band, save for perhaps opening the athletic department’s eyes to the fact that, yes, the University of Oregon does have a marching band.
I almost think we were shooting for virality purely out of envy of local acapella superstars On The Rocks and their viral success with ‘Bad Romance.’ The sad inequity of the situation is that no matter how good your 200 piece marching band is, nobody is going to like it as much as 16-odd super cute boys with oh-so-dreamy harmonies.
Oregon what band?
And it didn’t help that our arrangement of ‘We Are The Ducks Of Oregon’ sounded more like a bad Irish drinking song than a bad novelty power ballad. The deck was stacked against us, but earnestly we carried on, learning the crap out of that godawful song so we could play it for 15,000 people and get Internet famous.
And then we loaded our buses and trundled off to downtown Scottsdale for the official Oregon Pep Rally – basically a gigantic block party with a huge stage, overpriced beer, and some of the worst acoustics this side of the vacuum of space.
In space, no one can hear you have school spirit.
The Oregon Marching Band plays at lots of pep rallies. It’s old hat to us now – we march in and play Mighty Oregon while graduates from the class of 2005 slam more tequila shots, the class of 1980 turns down their hearing aids, and the class of 1950 rolls their wheelchairs away from the noise.
In a way, pep rallies are a form of torture for the OMB – they’re shoving the unfairness of our chosen activity in our face every time we go to one. “Look how much fun college football is, guys! Even old people are getting drunk in the middle of the afternoon! Too bad you can’t because you’re in the marching band!”
Such was not the case with the Oregon BCS tailgate. This was not an awesome party. It’s like one of those parties where lots of people show up, but none of them are your Good Friends – y’know, the really fun and interesting ones. Don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about. Don’t act like you aren’t now wondering if you’re one of my Good Friends.
Event coordinators led us via a backdoor into the fenced off area, and gestured towards a laughably small roped off area in the center of a sweaty, boozy sea of alumni and students. We crammed in as best we could, and by the time we’d all been shoehorned into position our asses in the back row were more or less grinding with the crotches of the senior citizens in green and yellow on the other side of the caution tape.
We played Mighty Oregon, which the crowd enjoyed about as much as any crowd does, followed by Jamie Foxx’s ‘Winner’, during which the trumpets have lots of booty shaking and hip thrusting visuals which made our already complicated relationship with the fans we were packed so close in front of even more awkward.
Presently, a pair of MCs took the stage and kicked off the event, encouraging us to make some noise and saying some really nasty things about Auburn, Oregon State, and whatever other rival they could think of when they wanted everybody to yell and scream. Three Oregon congressmen came out and aggressively promoted both their political platforms as well as the Ducks, in spite of the fact that I don’t think any of them actually went to the University of Oregon.
And then out came Sebastian Bach, to a thunderous roar of applause from the crowd.
And you ask me why I don't like tattoos.
Have you seen The Wrestler? In it, Micky Rourke plays a washed up former pro wrestler with a big mane of long blonde hair who lives out of his van but loves what little time in the spotlight he can get wrestling in third rate matchups throughout southern New Jersey.
I feel like Sebastian Bach is basically the musical equivalent of that guy – long blonde hair, muscular build, and glory days so far behind him that, in spite of all his onetime success, I still feel sorry for him. I mean, I know of his old band Skid Row in the same way I know of theoretical physics, but my firsthand knowledge and interest in both is pretty much nonexistent. What I surmise from his Wikipedia page, which dedicates more space to his reality TV career than his music career, is that Sebastian Bach is basically Diet Axl Rose. He can act like a doucheburger and sing some high notes, but he lacks the superhuman talent required to have his name on November Rain. Also, he’s chock full of Splenda.
“Alright!” Sebastian yelled into his mic as he loped onstage, feedback blaring across the crowd. “Now there’s a word in this song, we all know it, that I’m not allowed to say…” He began, referring to the power ballad’s climax, Don’t fuck with the Ducks! “So I’m gonna need you guys to say it real loud! Let’s try it! Don’t-”
He pointed at the crowd, which boozily screamed, “FUCK!” at him.
“-with the Ducks!”
Fifteen seconds onstage, and Sebastian Bach had already found a way to incite a crowd packed with a fair number of children and the elderly to scream profanity, which, I am told, is what metal is all about.
Sebastian Bach can't even pronounce 'Willamette', but HE gets to meet Chip? Horseshit.
So he launched into his rendition of ‘The Ducks Of Oregon,’ accompanied by an androgynous human sporting a similar golden mane on acoustic guitar. Right away it became clear that Sebastian Bach was lagging behind his backing track, and what’s more, that he wasn’t able to catch up to it. Thus, all 15,000 of us got the rare opportunity to hear the same crappy song twice at the same time while watching Sebastian Bach frantically gesture at the sound booth without missing a beat.
Yes, he didn’t miss a beat, but good Lord, did that man miss some pitches. As much as I hated our rendition of ‘We Are The Ducks,’ we were at least playing it better in tune at rehearsals than he was singing it – and if you’d been at the rehearsals, you’d know what a totally sick burn that is on Sebastian Bach.
So at long last he finished his performance, and as the crowd began to applaud, The Band Director leapt up onto his ladder and counted us off to start our version of this abortion of a song. We got two measures in, the bleating of the tubas just rising above the sound of the crowd, our viral dreams (supposedly) within reach, when Sebastian Bach’s voice was coming through the speakers again, accompanied by a guitar intro.
“Hey, here’s another little ditty I’m sure you all know!” Bach grinned as The Director hastily cut us off. “It’s called I Remember You. You all know the words, sing along!”
Ironic, because we don't.
And then Sebastian Bach started singing, stopping just long enough to yell at the sound booth to cut his backing track, which he had once again fallen behind. The song that he sang was a sentimental acoustic and vocal piece about memories and friendship and lost love, which, had it been a recognizable song performed by a good musician, still would’ve been completely out of place at a college football pep rally.
What was worst was that he kept looking at the crowd with a big grin and nodding, as though the only reason we weren’t singing was because we didn’t feel properly encouraged. Between lyrics or during instrumental breaks he would occasionally say, “C’mon, now!” or “Yeah! You all know the words, let me hear you!” Maybe he was saying it more for his own benefit at that point.
Having researched the song on Wikipedia now (I’ve written more words about this song in the last two paragraphs than there are on the entire Wikipedia page) I’ve discovered that it hit #6 on the Billboard charts 20 years ago, and, according to Sebastian Bach in a 2007 interview, was “…the number one prom song in the United States of America in the year 1990.”
Good for him, I guess.
The song went on far longer than its supposed five minute running time – I feel like Sebastian Bach went back for one more chorus, but then decided ‘Hell with it’ and just sang the whole rest of the song all over again. There was muted applause at the end that bolstered when Bach yelled “Go Ducks!”
After that came acapella superstars On The Rocks to sing their rendition of Bad Romance, and, to be honest, I’d never been so happy to hear a Lady Gaga song – say what you will about her, she’s definitely not Sebastian Bach. Unfortunately, the event organizers had only provided microphones for maybe a quarter of On The Rocks, so the real entertainment became watching them try to sing, dance, and coordinate microphone handoffs in time with the music. It was still way better than Sebastian Bach.
After the event, we filed out of the tiny pocket we’d been shoved into and drove off into the night, eager to get back to the hotel and drink the Supplies we’d bought the previous day. We hoped that our team’s performance on the field the following evening would be better than the performances at the pep rally.
Jury's still out on that one.
Oh, who am I kidding? No it's not. Anything is better than this guy.
Truman Capps is sincerely sorry for the delay. Come back tomorrow for the scheduled update!