Photos and article by Randy Jarosz
Friday Nights are going to rock again this baseball season as Root Sports, home of the Pittsburgh Pirates, kicks off another year with local talent for their Friday night theme song. 2015 showcased White Like Fire, The Hawkeyes and Daily Grind. The bands were recruited by Root Sports Coordinating Producer, Craig McConnell, who tracked down talent from Strip District Music Festival.
For the new season, McConnell took a similar approach, this time scoping out talent at Deutschtown Music Festival. There he found The Commonheart and Semi Supervillains, both of whom graced the main stage in 2015. “I approached them after their show and began the process of making a theme song submission with those guys and it obviously worked out for them,” said McConnell. He later found The Brighton Boys online as the third act, who already have a song titled “Friday Night.”
“We felt like it was important to involve the local music scene in this project because our programming is for Pittsburghers made by Pittsburghers and it wouldn’t have felt right to have a band from outside the area represent our local broadcast. Plus, the local music scene overall is really strong. If it wasn’t, we would have needed to bring in talent from outside the area but that was (and still is) unnecessary. There is plenty of great talent in our backyard,” he continues.
The filming took place at Stage AE under the bright lights with a special stage that read “Friday Night Rocks” and Pirates underneath. Each band went through 30 takes over two days with closeup, overhead, side and really any other shots you could think of. The three bands under the direction of McConnell changed lyrics to one of their existing songs to adhere to the “Friday” theme.
“We played the same song about 30 times in a row so keeping the same high level of energy through each take exhausted us. Additionally, our “Friday Night Rocks” theme song is an altered version of our song “Shivers” from our Here Comes Trouble-EP. The biggest challenge for me and James Conley was to lock onto the Friday night arrangement & lyric vs. the Shivers arrangement because we had just gotten back from Austin, TX at SXSW where we had played the Shivers arrangement 10+ times in 5 days between rehearsals and all of our showcases,” said Vinnie Longhi of The Semi Supervillains.
“It was surreal. Between the giant crane cameras, the lights, and Craig McConnell yelling “Roll it” it was completely unlike anything we have ever done, said Clinton Clegg of the Commonheart.
He continues “at first I planned to write a song from scratch but, The Commonheart has a tune called “Aloysius” that I felt had all the elements of a Pittsburgh sports theme song and just needed some rearranging and some new lyrics. I wanted to touch on the big themes that going to the park provides, walking across those beautiful bridges, the family atmosphere, and an overall feeling of anticipation that makes you excited for baseball and our home team. I think we accomplished that with this reworking of that tune.”
30 other local bands will be featured throughout the season with music only. You can catch the debut video of The Commonheart’s song “Pittsburgh on a Friday,” the remake of their song “Aloysius” tonight on Root Sports when the Pirates take on the Reds at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.
“We’re proud to be involved in the Pittsburgh music scene as an organization because we love all things Pittsburgh and we hope what we’re doing helps these bands gain more exposure, said McConnell.
The Semi Supervillains
Visit HughShows to see photos of The Brighton Boys