Hometown Songs for Hometown (Sports) Fans

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Duff McKagan is the founder of Seattle band Loaded, and the former bassist in Guns N' Roses. His Reverb column runs every Monday and Thursday.
Regular readers of this column know I am a big fan of sports. I'm a huge Mariners fan, I mourn the Sonics, and I bleed the Hawks' teal and green.

When I watch games live or on TV, I am always pretty pumped when I hear one of my bands' songs being played. It was a dream come true to be in the room when the Sonics beat Salt Lake in seven games to make the NBA finals in 1996, with the crowd going nuts, confetti falling from the air, and "Paradise City" blaring from the rafters.

Of course, this can go both ways. Much as I love New York City, I cringe at the thought of "Welcome to the Jungle" being played to pump up fans at Yankee Stadium. It is then that I am the opposite of pumped, and I always think to myself, "No. That song wasn't written for YOU guys!" Yes, I am a sports nerd. Those of you who spent your youth following our local teams, as I did, can probably relate to how excited I am about what I get to do this week: My band, Loaded, is going to play the Seattle Seahawks halftime show this Sunday. I've been blessed with many high points in my career, but playing halftime for the Hawks is a milestone for me.

Some of you may be scratching your heads. Loaded is not a ubiquitous band. We are not on everyone's iPod or car stereo or rock station. This column has been a great meeting place for ideas. Some good stuff has transpired because of the contacts made through my tenure here at the Weekly.

When I wrote about my mountain-climber buddy Tim Medvetz a few months ago (and his taking wounded Iraq and Afghanistan veterans to the highest peaks on the planet), I received an e-mail from Ken LeBlond from our local Puget Sound VA hospital, and a connection was made.

Tim haunted me a while back with a story about some of the wounded vets he's met: 19-year-old kids who have lost a limb or two and are now back on their mom's couch somewhere in Minnesota or whatever, with nothing to fill the void but gut-wrenching depression.

Tim's story really stuck with me, and when we started writing songs for this new Loaded record, I dedicated a song called "Fight On" to these men and women.

With the acquaintance of Mr. LeBlond through this column, and Ryan Madayag of the Seahawks, we three have partnered to make "Fight On" available for download on iTunes exclusively for the benefit of VA Puget Sound Health Care System. This Sunday when we play is Seahawks Veterans' Appreciation Day. A thousand veterans and their families will be on the field at halftime when we play live.

The way that this whole thing came together just plain gives me chills, and makes it seem that we are doing something good here.

The "Gas Man" at KJR sports radio, Mike Gastineau, has been a big proponent of Loaded, and was the first one here in town to wave a flag for getting one of our songs used by our local sports teams. He played a song called "We Win" about six weeks ago, just after we had recorded it.

I am very--well, stoked. I don't mean to shamelessly self-promote or otherwise seem like I am using this space to pimp myself out, but hell, I'm gonna do it anyhow. My NFL team, the Seattle Seahawks, are using the new Loaded song as a means to get the team and fans pumped.

I imagine that some of you reading now are big sports fans, right? OK, so put yourself in MY place. Imagine that you wrote a song and now your favorite team is using it. AND you now get to play at their halftime.

Not only that: When I was in London a few weeks back, I received an e-mail request from someone at MLB to use "We Win" as musical content for their TV and online channels. I thought it was kind of premature for Major League Baseball to contact me in October about the following season, and I let them know that I had never received a song license request so far in advance. No, it was for THIS season. The World Series, to be exact.

Not bad for our little band from Seattle.

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