Modern footy not in tune

By Shane Worrell
Updated November 7 2012 - 1:54am, first published April 2 2010 - 11:11am

I’M neither a St Kilda or Geelong fan, but I braved the heavy rain last September to see my first Grand Final Parade.And I should have seen it coming: Mike Brady was part of the festivities.I’ve got nothing against Brady or his song, Up There Cazaly, which at some stage in Australia’s distant past rocketed up the charts, selling thousands of copies.Truth be told, I quite like the tune; its an important part of footy folklore.I just think I’ve heard it too much.Surely there are better footy songs than Up There Cazaly, I thought as I shielded myself from the rain with a newspaper.I then reassessed my argument: surely there are other footy songs than Up There Cazaly? It surprised me, given that footy is so ingrained in our culture, that I could only reel off a few: Greg Champion’s That’s the Thing about Football, that other one by Mike Brady and Paul Kelly’s Leaps and Bounds in which he references the MCG and the month of May.But that was about it. People born before 1980 might remember more, but I couldn’t. Everyone talks about it. Everyone watches it. It’s a part of who we are.So why haven’t more bands written songs about footy?Perhaps it’s because many rock bands seek credibility. And credibility is not writing about the footy team you love - no matter how heartfelt your intentions. Credibility comes from sounding as British or American as you possibly can. And they don’t play Aussie Rules in London or LA.Rock stars sing about unrequited love, not your team knocking off Geelong. It’s not cool enough. It’s not worthy of song.But what about how St Kilda supporters feel after winning only one premiership since 1897?Isn’t that pain?Or what about how West Coast fans felt when Chris Judd walked out on them?Is that not a true sense of loss that requires a grieving process?OK, maybe it isn’t. But I’d still like to turn on Rage one morning and hear a Carlton fan singing about that one fateful Brownlow night when their baby did a bad, bad thing: “You hit the booze, and brought so much shame/They shipped you north and things aren’t the same.”The Coodabeen Champions, thanks mainly to Greg Champion, have delivered scores of songs about footy.Champion’s That’s the Thing About Football is the best known, and more humorous ones include We worship Robert Harvey, Matty Lloyd throws Grass in the Air and the Richmond-inspired There’s a mob up Punt Road.And what about all the Australian bands that have played at the Grand Final?Where’s the revelation that Powderfinger’s real happiness slowly creeps back when they see Fevola and Brown combine to make a potent forward line?Or John Farnham’s admission that You’re the Voice is really about Dennis Cometti?One of the Jet guys wore a Geelong jumper when they performed at the 2007 granny. But where was his song about Cameron Mooney? Something like: (Are you gonna) boot that goal? You Am I’s Tim Rogers is a famous North Melbourne supporter and in the song Weeds, he sings: You sure wish you knew who was on the half-back flank/twenty years when you took those flags on back to back.There was a Melbourne band called Ruck Rover, Even had an album called Free Kicks and Louie and the Party Boys released a song called Aussie Rules, but one of the best examples of a band referencing AFL footy is Melbourne balaclava-clad band TISM.Their song Morisson Hostel lambasts Jim Morrison fans, likening them to the Richmond cheer squad. Ouch.In Father and Son, they recall watching Winmar kick to Lockett, in The Back Upon Which Jezza Jumped, they empathise with human stepladder Graeme Jenkin, and in another tune they advocate knuckling pretentious rock stars with Rod Grinter’s elbow. One of their more imaginative, or ridiculous, songs, (Jumpin, jivin) Jimmy The Ghost Joyce, tells a fictitious story of Irish novelist James Joyce being recruited to Richmond by Tom Hafey and writing Ulysses on the siren to help the Tigers beat Hawthorn.But TISM are no more.So, what’s left? Hopefully, a whole genre of Australian hip-hop dedicated to singing about Gary Ablett’s rumoured Gold Coast jaunt or a death-metal genre lamenting Collingwood’s grand final losses post-1958.Or maybe even an indie rock movement that thrives on reworking AFL club songs, making some of them easier on the ear, focusing first on Fremantle’s.Perhaps these bands are already out there and I’ve foolishly overlooked scores of existing footy-related songs.I hope so. For now, I can handle more Up There Cazaly, just as long as we don’t return to the days of Warwick Capper’s I Only Take What’s Mine, and Mark “Jacko” Jackson’s I’m an Individual.

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