Back in 2012, while I was living in New York City, I was awakened at 6:45 a.m.ET by a phone call from Chicago radio legend Jonathan Brandmeier. WGN was about to spin my Cubs song contest entry, and wanted to talk with me live on air. The morning radio crew all agreed that my song, "We are the Cubs," was good enough to be considered for final consideration, but upon learning that I lived in New York City, they let out a collective groan. It was then I knew that I was probably not going to win. But this year, 2014, I live here in Chicago and am armed with a home studio and the mad creativity this insufferable winter has unleashed upon me, in the form of cabin fever.
First, a word about this contest. I am a professional musician. And by professional I mean, I write music for money. I've written for network television, syndicated radio, theatrical productions, and my varied personal projects. This contest, however, is a very common method media companies employ to skirt paying artists for their work. The idea is, the fame and notoriety you will receive from having your song played in front of 162 Cubs games and within countless promos is enough compensation. To demonstrate how this works out, usually, what comes to mind when I mention "The Fold"? If you said, "Oh! It's that awesome band that won the last WGN song contest, and I immediately went out and bought all their albums, and have caught every one of their live shows." Well, then I'm sure The Fold is thrilled they won the contest two years ago. But if you said, "The fold is where my ribs meet my love handles," then I guess we all know who the real winners were in that exchange of goods and services.
But regardless, this is the Cubs, and for me, winning this contest would be the greatest honor and compensation enough. As Ron Santo said when his number was retired, "This is my Hall of Fame." I don't even mind not getting paid. Writing for the Cubs feels more akin to writing a song for my aunt's anniversary, or my best friend's new baby. The Cubs are family, and knowing I'm a musical part of every Cubs game would give me a priceless thrill!
But what to write? I already wrote a Cubs song. And the winning song last time was a different style. You can hear my entry from the last contest, and the winning entry below. Should I resubmit the song I already wrote with a remix, and maybe some different lyrics? Try to copy the style of the last winner and go "modern rock" with it? Pull out the banjo and go old tyme? Metal? Pop? The song has to include references to the Cubs and WGN Radio, and they also suggested including the 100-year anniversary celebration. And it's due by February 28! I'm going to sit in the studio and flesh out some ideas today and tomorrow. If we crowd source this thing, maybe we can win this for the whole BCB family! If you have any discernible musical talent, and live in Chicago, I'd be happy to include you on the track too. Just email me here.