I'll say it again; Zombie Nation is played out. The thumping techno song that Vanderbilt plays in Memorial Gym before the tip at basketball games is done. Hell, at least 100 other schools across the country use it in some respect to hype fans up before a game. What was once a tradition at Penn State is now cliche in Nashville; it's time for the Commodores to own their own tradition.
We covered this last year, and here's what we had to say:
What I'm about to suggest may be controversial, but Zombie Nation, the team's current pre-tip song, is played out. You hear it everywhere - Penn State, South Carolina, Florida, and Clemson come to mind - and while it's a recognizable song for the crowd, there's nothing about it unique to Vanderbilt. For the 3+ minutes the song is playing, you could be in any college arena. This connection is what really generates that fan (and player) buy-in. Can you say that Zombie Nation gets you more excited for a home basketball game vs. Florida than this video? I can't. And that's because the Memorial Magic video has a direct connection to Vandy tradition - something you won't see anywhere else.
Memorial Gym is a completely unique place to play - shouldn't every aspect of Vanderbilt basketball reflect that?
So let Penn State have Zombie Nation. Let's get something else for the Commodores - something that will pump fans up, but you'll only hear at Memorial Gym. Wisconsin has their 3rd quarter Jump Around (which is awesome), Liverpool FC has You'll Never Walk Alone, the Red Sox have Neil Diamond, and the Seattle Seahawks have Verve's Bittersweet Symphony (they can't all be winners). Vandy fans need something to call their own, that will get them pumped up at games and reverberate from the court all the way up to section 3F.
Running off the popularity of last year's pre-game post, we decided to try again in hopes of swaying the Vanderbilt brass away from generic techno music to get a greater fan buy-in at home. Here are some of last year's popular suggestions along with a few choice staff picks for the Commodores to use before sending Festus up to get the tip. Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments - if they're good, we'll add them to the poll, then send the results off to David Williams, who will never read them.
Last Year's Winners:
1. Muse - Hysteria
Hysteria won the fan vote last year, and it's easy to see why. This song gets me ready to jump into a badger pit and start punching adorable/terrifying things. The first minute of this song is what I imagine drinking snake venom is like. If you created a YouTube mix of Festus Ezeli blocking shots set to Hysteria, the universe would crumple in on itself just trying to give you a high five.
2. David Allan Coe/Hank Williams - You Never Even Called Me By My Name/Family Tradition
If you live in Nashville, you know these songs. If you've been to Broadway, you've gotten drunk and sung along to them. Let's embrace our location and confuse the hell out of recruits all in one fell swoop by playing a little Hank or David Allan Coe before the game. Plus, it's got to be a bit disconcerting for opponents to hear a whole section singing "In the rain, IN THE MOTHERFUCKING RAIN" at them as they take the court.
3. Beastie Boys - Sabotage
Everyone knows Sabotage, and the only people that don't like this song are either elderly or hate America. It will get a crowd pumped up, but loses some steam since I'm certain some other colleges must use it for pre-game music.
Train Island: Jefferson Starship - Jane
It was a tough call between this, Ratatat's El Pico (too obscure, no words), and Duran Duran's Wild Boys (not enough energy). In the end, the power of Starship won out. The opening of this song builds a sense of anticipation that reflects how I feel about this year's team. There's a level of excitement inherent in waiting for Festus to unleash a monster putback dunk, or John Jenkins to bury a dagger three. If you're only getting 30 seconds before the tip, this is a pretty good one to rile up fans and players.
KingJamesIV: Gerry and the Pacemakers - You'll Never Walk Alone
I thought I'd think outside the box a bit and use a song that is very popular on the other side of the pond.
Recently, I've become a Liverpool FC fan (thanks almost solely to one of my brothers). They have a tradition of singing "You'll Never Walk Alone" by Gerry and the Pacemakers in the moments before every match (home or away). At home, the song is played over the stadium loudspeakers while the entire crowd sings along. On the road, a small but vocal crowd goes a Capella but still make themselves heard. The results are goosebumps inspiring for fans, and intimidating for opponents. It may not be completely original from a global standpoint, but it would be unique in Americsn sports. And it certainly fits the new mantra of #VUAllin.
BloggyWo: Sun Kil Moon - Heron Blue
For our intro song we should black out the lights and play the song from this Gears of War commercial. I downloaded it - amazing. Imagine this song with faces of our players yelling inaudible screams and then opponents disintegrating to dust around us as we show flashes of Festus dunking, John hitting threes, Rod Odom hitting 1/4 threes, Steve Tchiengang hitting turnaround bankshots, etc.
Wild Card Entry:
The Training Montage from Rocky IV:
Only applicable if we can get the video up on the scoreboard, or if Andre Walker grows out a nasty beard. Actually, you know what? After listening to it again I feel like wrapping myself in the American flag and running to Afghanistan armed only with my fists and a signed 8"x10" of Toby Keith. I've got to make a change:
Train Island's HOME RUN PICK OF ABSOLUTE GLORY: The Training Montage from Rocky IV
If we play this before tipoff, I am guaranteeing an undefeated home record.
Of course, these are only a few of the possibilities we've come up with. Feel free to add yours in the comments, and if they get enough support we'll add them to the poll. This is your chance to participate in the most important* post in AoG history, so think long and hard about your submissions, and we will go above and beyond in mocking your choice of songs. Keep in mind that we're trying to create a new and unique pre-game custom, so try to avoid any other commonly used songs, like AC/DC or Metallica for example.
Zombie Nation is done. Let's replace it with a tradition we can make our own. Whether it's country music or just a montage that makes you want to beat up Communism, Vanderbilt needs a ritual to match the heritage of Memorial Gymnasium. Let's do it right.
*Post may or may not actually be important.