In 1979 it was “Orioles Magic.” In 1989 it was “Why Not?”
Now in 2009, it’s “How ’bout them O’s?” Have you heard the biggest hit in Baltimore?
– Who is Warning Track Power?
Myers: We’re a band that essentially came together just to write this song. The majority of us play [or have played] in a one-time-only cover band called the Egg Babies Orchestra. The lone exception is our drummer, Steve, who plays in Baltimore’s best rock n’ roll band, J-Roddy Walston & The Business.
– How did the idea of “How bout them O’s” come about?
Myers: We all got caught up in the resurgence of “Orioles Magic” last season. We loved the song, but even more so, we loved how the team itself took to loving it again, albeit in a more ironic way. At the beginning of the year, I was getting excited about the season, so I decided to email my favorite instrument-playing, Orioles-loving friends to see if they’d be interested in writing “the next great Orioles song.” Being known for knee-jerk harebrained schemes, I anticipated a lukewarm response at best. To my surprise, everybody else was feeling the same way that I did, so we arranged a night a few weeks later when we could get together to flesh this thing out. We didn’t have a title, we didn’t have a hook, we didn’t have a single note written…but we were all pretty certain it was going to be the best song any of us had every written.
Ward: Wanting to create the ultimate pump-up Jock Jam stadium anthem was a major factor.
– Have you guys ever done anything like this before?
Colmus: My other band has tried our hand at writing jingles for commercials and whatnot, but nothing that was borne out of this kind of passion. It’s kind of hard to write a big anthem about E*trade or the Nintendo DS. (Well, maybe not for everyone…)
Laun: Me and our friend Billy (who mixed the song and also plays with J Roddy) have recorded a couple fun songs for different holidays. I sort of relate it to this because you go in with a pretty specific topic in mind and you’re writing it for a broader purpose than other songs. And, like this, we wrote them in a day.
– How have fans and the media taken the song?
Myers: The response has been astonishingly positive. And not just from our parents. The Orioles Hangout message boarders took to it immediately, Yahoo had a blog about it a day after we finished recording and our myspace page has been blowing up. Personally, I give up on things pretty easily, so I was relieved at the reception. Otherwise, I would have thrown in the towel almost immediately.
Our most critical reviewers harp on the nature of the lyrics. People think we’ve painted ourselves into a corner with all the name-calling. We agree that there’s a legitimate concern regarding the timelessness of the song. But the thing is that its 2009 and modern music recording technology is crazy. We’re not stuck with this incarnation of the song. We can change anything we want, anytime we want. Give us 24 hours and the song will be about the Portland Sea Dogs tomorrow. Of course, we don’t want to write a song about the Portland Sea Dogs. Part of the charm of the song is how unabashedly optimistic and leap-of-faithy it is. We wrote the song for 2009. If we’re lucky enough to have people continuing to want to hear it, we’ll make sure that lyrics are always applicable. We hope the song can stand the test of time, but if it doesn’t, that’s fine. We haven’t even made it to the season yet, and the process itself has already been the best time of our collective lives.
Colmus: I received a message on Facebook from an O’s expatriate living in California who was forwarded the song from a friend, and he said how he and his wife were listening to it all the time to get ready for the season, since they couldn’t take part in the any of the local festivities. I’ve never met the guy in my life and I’m assuming he tracked me down from seeing my name on the myspace site. Ward, I believe, heard from a friend’s dad who said the song got him so excited for the team that he plunked down for season tickets. I hope that’s not apocryphal.
– Is your song being played on the radio?
Myers: WTMD (89.7 FM) has been playing it every day and doing absolutely everything in their power to support the song. They’ve been totally awesome to us. Although we haven’t heard it ourselves, we’ve heard from friends that they’ve heard the song on the Fan, the Bay and a few others, too.
Colmus: We’re making an appearance on “Coffee With” with Don Scott and Marty Bass on WJZ next Friday (4/3) at 6am. From what I understand, it’ll be broadcast live and we’re filming it outside the stadium.
– Tell us about your performance at the Ottobar this weekend…
Myers: It should be interesting. Our “other” bands are playing, and since all of us will be in attendance, we figured we should go ahead and play the song as well. The downside of this is that the song was truly written in the studio, and we’ve never actually played it together as a band. Could prove to be a disaster. Must see!
Again, J-Roddy & The Business are unearthly good. And the Egg Babies, we’re playing all songs from movie soundtracks, along with clips from the movies behind us. So, might still be good, even if the O’s song bombs.
Colmus: I don’t mean to sound like Scott Donahoo, but we’re also playing the G-Spot Gallery in Hampden on Saturday April 4th at our friend’s CD release show. We’ll probably throw in a couple of other baseball-related covers, including Metallica’s “Creeping Death.”
– Do you think this is the next “Orioles’ Magic” or “Why Not?”
Myers: Well, “Orioles Magic” was written when the team was already awesome and “Why Not?” was written with a sorta “Whoa man, we might be getting somewhere!” mindset. With those in mind, I’d say “Why Not?” as we’re that same mindset. Purely musically speaking though, those two songs are behemoths and we probably shouldn’t even mention our little song in the same breath.
Colmus: I hope it’s more like the next “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”
– Will the Birds be playing “How ’bout them O’s” at Camden Yards?
French: If they know what’s good for them.
Colmus: They’re going to give it a run in the pre-games and sort of see how it goes over with the fans. If people seem to like it, you might start hearing it more often or they might throw some highlights behind it. And then it’s only a matter of time before we’re dancing on the dugout with The Bird.
Myers: We’ll all be in attendance for Koji t-shirt night on Tuesday, April 21st, so I bet we’ll be hearing it that night.
– Are you season ticket holders with the O’s?
Myers: A six-game plan is the biggest any of us have, I think. Fortunately, or unfortunately, its pretty easy to show up and buy tickets at the box office. They have some good promotions these days, so it makes more sense to make game-time decisions, rather than planning 6 months ahead of time when we’re going.
Laun: Fortunately for the last year I’ve lived a few blocks away from the stadium and it’s pretty nice to be able to decide on a whim to walk down and catch a game.
– Obviously you guys know your stuff when it comes to the birds…How do you feel about this O’s this season?
French: Barring a few minor miracles, I think it will be pretty similar to last. We’re gonna put up a ton of runs, but our starting pitching is a disaster at this point. The only difference is that I’d be shocked if we got hot out of the gate the way we have tended to do the last few seasons. I don’t think we’re going to see 0-21 part deux, but I’m worried that the phrase “How Bout them O’s?” could become a negative sooner rather than later. That said, the O’s look to have great arms in the minors, and I think we’ll be competitive before a lot of people are expecting us to. So in the meantime I’m going to keep moving down to the box seats before the stands are 40,000 strong full of Wieters’ jerseys.
Colmus: French is right on. It could be a rough April, but if the duct tape on our rotation can hold until some of the young guys are ready to come up this summer, we could make a run at the Vegas over/under (73 wins).
Myers: History suggests that, win or lose, we bring our A-game against the Yankees and Red Sox. I’m predicting two out of three from the Yankees to start the season, then we’ll set the league ablaze through July. At that point, we’ll write our “Stay Away Late Season Swoon!” song and cross our fingers. The lineup looks solid. The defense should be unbelievable. We have enough arms that we should be able to make something work, barring too many injuries. Give Felix 550 at bats and let’s see what he can do!
Gittings: I’m really excited about this year, but as the other guys said, it’ll be all about the rotation holding its own, and I don’t know how long they’ll be able to do that. That said, there could be some nice surprises. I’m excited about seeing Uehara-he’s got good stuff and he knows how to throw strikes.
– How do you feel about the future of the O’s?
Colmus: If we stick to the new philosophy of developing from within and only picking up the big expensive pieces when it’ll put us over the top, then I’ll feel pretty good about it. I think alot of the fans just want to feel like someone’s at the wheel – that there’s some sort of plan in place to reverse what’s gone on over these last eleven years. That’s the underlying message of the song – relief and excitement at finally feeling like we’re headed somewhere, even if we won’t arrive this year.
Myers: Our positional depth is still pretty thin. I hope they continue to try to fill it out in this year’s draft.
Gittings: There’s nothing I love to see more than good pitching, so I’m real excited to see Tillman, Matusz and Arrieta pitching at Camden Yards.
– Favorite Oriole?
Colmus: Eddie Murray. I was entranced by those sideburns.
Ward: Mike Devereaux. It was those Oakleys.
Myers: Billy Ripken. He was always a jerk to me when I got his autograph as a kid, but that didn’t stop me from thinking the world of him. What a guy. My brother is far better softball player than me, so I feel like he’s a kindred spirit. But alas, two ships that pass in the night.
– Favorite Oriole moment?
Ward: The Todd Frohwirth meltdown. Frohwirth had the bases loaded, threw what looked to be a strike to end the inning, and it was called a ball. Next pitch he gives up a grand slam and ends up having a meltdown. Throws his hat and glove submarine style across the field.
Colmus: When I was five, my dad took me to a ballgame for the first time, and as an old man was walking past my aisle seat on his way to the tunnel, Larry Sheets drilled him in the back with a line drive foul. The old man crumpled in the aisle about ten feet from where I was sitting, and I remember thinking “This is awesome.”
French: In the “Why Not?” video, there was a game in June where the Angels were hammering us almost the whole game. Dick Schofield led off the game with a homerun – the guy only hit six the whole year. Every now and then they would stage a comeback, only to be thwarted by another Angels rally. Long story short, Mike Deveraux hits a home run in the bottom of the ninth that was fair by maybe a foot and the Orioles win. The Angels’ manager got thrown out of the following day’s game for arguing that home run. Unfortunately, I was in the back of my friend’s mom’s station wagon a mile down 33rd street when he hit it. We left in the 7th.
Laun: My friend took me to the game when Cal tied the streak. That was pretty awesome.
Ward: Actually, I changed my mind. I was at the game when Cal broke the streak and it was an amazing experience.
– What’s next for Warning Track Power?
Myers: First and foremost, we’re gonna have to deal with the reality that we named ourselves “Warning Track Power.”
French: I’m going to be eating some pork chops in about an hour. I’m pretty excited about that.
Colmus: “How ‘Bout Dem Loyola Greyhounds Women’s Lacrosse.”
Laun: I’ve thought about attempting a Ravens song but don’t really know how to go about (ahem) tackling that one.
– Any closing remarks?
Myers: Hey, thanks for having us!