I Love L.A.
As you know, the light is changing — it’s more golden and autumnal, like some Bob Seger song. Yes, I would say that on the seasonal clock chart, we have entered the “Night Moves” portion of the wheel. Amber-tinted late summer, “with autumn closin’ in .?.?.”
What’s just as notable, though, is that sound is changing too. I don’t understand it, but as autumn approaches, environmental city noises — dogs, buses, airplanes, jackhammers, birds, kids in the school yard — seem to take on a different kind of reverb. I hear an echoing quality to sound, as if the sky had been raised a few feet, or the great cosmic sound engineer had just twirled some knobs on various amps and pedals out there. The new environmental reverb makes life feel more momentous, like something’s going to happen.
Could be something big and bad, or it could be something small and great. Could happen in Chavez Ravine.
Last April, I predicted positive things for the Dodgers. (This prediction was based on a highly scientific American Idol/Dodgers algorithm.) I wrote, with pride, “The pride is back!” The prediction panned out, against all realistic expectation — although it’s been a harrowing season too. Kind of like the heat. Harrowing, exhausting, real.
And then, Monday night, magic. Magic! Magic. And so I say unto you now, friends and foes alike: The pride is not just back. The pride is forward!
And all that golden autumn light tinting the hills above Chavez Ravine isn’t so melancholy now, and Bob Seger can wait! As expected so long ago, the Dodgers will go to the World Series. Although the truth is, the Dodgers played so well this year — Monday night aside — I feel totally fulfilled as a fan. The rest is pickle relish.
Musically, though, I suppose we Dodger fans could have fared better. True, Randy Newman has gotten his royalties this year, that’s for sure. But what about Guns N’ Roses?
We didn’t really need Eric Gagne, as it turned out, but it would have been sweet to hear his theme song — “Welcome to the Jungle” — echoing through Dodger Stadium more often this year, just as a general public-morale booster. Likewise, without Shawn Green, we didn’t get to hear “Song 2” (the “woo-HOO!” song) by Blur. I know it’s pathetic to still be talking about Shawn Green after all this time, but it was kind of nice to have someone my age bringing Britpop to the masses at the Ravine.
It’s not that I was so fond of Paul Lo Duca’s theme song (Gene Chandler’s “Duke of Earl”) or Steve Finley’s (“Sledgehammer” by Peter Gabriel); but it’s both useful and fun to have players who have theme songs, whatever they may be. (Especially when they’re not wearing their names on their uniforms!) I would encourage the people in charge of such things to get on the stick with this for next season. Whittier superman Nomar Garciaparra brought War’s “Lowrider” to Dodger Stadium this year — hopefully to stay — which was a pleasant homecoming. Now, it’s only right that Olmedo Saenz should come out and stake his claim to “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes” (theme song to the film of the same name). That, or “Sex Machine.” Or “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy” — or Five Man Electrical Band’s “Signs.” He could be the first player with four rotating theme songs.
Our fine young rookies also deserve themes: For example, Andre Ethier might consider the L7 song “Andre”! Russell Martin could pick “Young Guns (Go for It!)” by Wham! For that matter, Grady Little could have a theme song as well, to be played when he waddles out to the mound .?.?. how about “Sweet Home Alabama”? (Who cares if he’s from Texas? “Sweet Home Alabama” it is!)
A factual note: Last spring, I mentioned the screwy royalty system used to pay for these songs — as well as “We Will Rock You,” “Rock & Roll Pt. 2,” “Blitzkrieg Bop,” “Walking With a Ghost,” “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” etc. As it turns out, the system is even stranger than I had thought. Stadiums do pay royalties for these songs, but the money doesn’t go directly to the artists. It goes to a pool, and is then ladled out by the publishing companies.
Yet another nagging baseball-music mystery was solved recently — a question that had been puzzling my loved ones and me for a couple years. There’s a certain musical snippet used at Dodger games after a home run — let’s call it the “dee-doo-dee-doo” song. Other stadiums use it for other occasions, but for the Dodgers, it is strictly a home-run theme. As a co-worker recently informed me, the “dee-doo-dee-doo” song, so long a disembodied collecton of notes on a synthesizer to me, is actually called “Kernkraft 400” and is by an electronic group with the swell name Zombie Nation. They’re German. Awesome. You sure can’t say the guys who pick this stadium music are xenophobes, pedophile-ophobes, punk-ophobes, or homophobes. God bless America.
I am hoping, and expecting, to hear Zombie Nation several more times bouncing across the hills of Echo Park, well into Rocktober. That, and of course, you know, “I Love L.A.”
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