I am a Jambrone.
I write songs about Buffalo sports.
I pump you up.
I make you nod your head.
I make you sing along.
And yes, I give you “douche chills.”
I get ‘em too.
Because of this rare gift, I have been relegated to the underground, where it’s dark, dirty and verbally violent. While children are singing along to the sweet melodies of my annoyingly uplifting music, I toil in the shit, the blogosphere, the underground sports media, as one of…them.
Through the Jambrones, I’ve come to realize a kinship with these fellow “CHUDs”, if you will. We share ideas about teams we love presented in a hack-like yet charming manner with no "radio voice" and little regard for journalistic tradition. And yet, we do it well enough that more than a few strangers have come forward and really like what we do.
We’re just dudes writing and talking about sports; just CHUDs...making songs, writing shit like this piece, rhyming players’ names, and ripping on Matt Ellis. It’s <gasp> fun. But ALL of us get squashed regularly by those with sports media power: The Buffalo News and WGR550.
The programming is all real slick (well, sort of…) and nicely framed, but if you consume them regularly, you realize there are no intricate flavors. No true voice of the fan. (Um, “The Hobby”? Really?) Moreover, the irony is not lost on some of us CHUDs that these mouthpieces in the larger media outlets - guys that constantly demand athletes fight and be held accountable for their jobs - are not interested whatsoever in having the same amount of effort, accountability and competition in their own careers.
They’ll tell you otherwise…WGR takes callers (#illhangupandlisten)…But I’ve heard many with dissenting points get just mercilessly flushed. (Mike Schopp is particularly good at this) So, the many people who actually have something interesting or different to say KNOW BETTER than to call these assholes. Let’s face it – there are better things to do with your time and energy to have a discussion that will never, ever be on equal footing. If you do call in, be sure to prepare for a lesson in Talk Radio 101: The host must remain the expert opinion; when that status is threatened, the caller is either shouted off the air, or frankly, never let on to begin with. And, of course, they also have the “whiner line” -- which I can’t believe I just fucking mentioned -- where dialogue is a non-issue and where assholes can say any controversial thing they'd like.
So, in response to the unfulfilling status quo, some of us went looking for fresh ideas about Buffalo sports. Enter CHUD.
We’ve got some pretty talented and insightful CHUDs down here, too! I know the guys on WGR read and listen to the blogcasters. I’ll bet their opinions are even shaped by them at times, but any props? NO. Are the talking heads on WGR so threatened that they can’t talk about them? When we, and others like us, were trying to climb out of the local band CHUD hole, 103.3 wasn’t threatened! They gave us a show! A “local band” show. WHAT???!!! A show? Local?
One of my fondest memories of my failed attempts to become a rock star was when 103.3 played our song on their local band show for the first time. It was a 3 hour show on Sunday nights at 9pm. Not afternoon drive, but it was something. It went over pretty well. People came to concerts saying that they heard us on there and wanted to check us out live. Then, we were featured “in studio” with on 103.3, where we were interviewed and played live on the air. We got to fulfill many rock star dreams that night, sneaking outside for smokes and booze, making fun of the host behind his back and trying to convince our percussionist that the host wasn’t trying to disrespect him (even though his 36DD girlfriend insisted ‘baby- he’s tryin’ to bring you down’).
So, why wouldn’t WGR do something like that? It was nice when they added some new local shows (John Murphy, Kevin Sylvester) to the WGR line up this fall, but I wanted more. I thought a CHUD show would be kinda cool. Bloggers…podcasters…blogcaster…ploggers….plastercasters…
**SIDEBAR- a few years back WGR had a contest called “The Rookie”, I think, where they had dudes submit tapes and get chosen to call/come in and compete for a gig on the station. It was uncomfortable to listen to at times. And therefore…kinda kicked ass! It was different. What happened to that?!?
But you know, I do realize…perhaps CHUDs want nothing to do with this idea. Maybe it’s jumping the shark to apply for a guest host gig on WGR? Maybe it’s as ludicrous an idea as say Sunny Day Real Estate opening for Maroon 5 or Fugazi hooking up with Green Day for a single to be exclusively sold at Target during the holidays. Maybe it’s a fundamentally bad idea since the underworld sports media derived from the same premise that Sunny Day and Fugazi came about: They didn’t like what they saw on the surface, so they went underground. And you know what? People followed because they were an alternative.
Remember that word? Alternative (music nerd moment: Go to around the 1:45 mark here and you just might hear the birth of that word in describing an approach to a musical movement in an interview with someone who later became the singer for Fugazi. It was like, 1983). So maybe we CHUDs should just let the rabble listen to their shitty commercial radio approved Candlebox/WGR and Ugly Kid Joe/The Buffalo News. The *cool* kids who really know what is up know where the good bands/blogs are. I wouldn’t blame anyone either way – on one hand it’s awesome to screw the mainstays, but on the other, it’s cool to have that shot at a wider audience and a chance to show our local talents.
All I know is that I can’t get those bastards to play our dumb ass songs without making a bet with the producer or making parodies like “Take it Stevie” to the tune of “Take is Easy” by the Eagles or some shit. Puke. I know it’s sort of hokey, but shit – rip on the song for all I care! Anyone with a musical ear can tell that I at least put some time and effort in to this thing, and damn it - acknowledge that it exists. You don’t have to like it, but here we are getting ESPN.com’s attention, but our own backyard ignores us? What the fuck?
So, here I am – in the basement. (literally, actually) I’m used to it down here, so it’s no big deal. We’ll keep writing big dumb songs about the teams we love. It’s still fun as hell to do that. Guys who work for WGR, The Buffalo News and The Sabres are making podcasts and blogging, and it’s almost a mockery of what has been established in the CHUD world. This should happen, this imaginary show. But it never will, because it would mean CHUDs exist, CHUDs have something worthy to say, and CHUDs matter. And THAT… is a threat.