We got a call from one of our clients who is producing a campaign for their local ECHL team called the Evansville IceMen. Their overarching pitch for the season was “The Boys are Back,” which meant that Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys are Back In Town” would have been a natural fit for the radio and TV campaign. HOWEVER…obtaining the licensing rights to use the actual song would have been PROHIBITIVELY expensive. For example, it was reported that Cadillac payed Led Zeppelin millions of dollars for the use of their song “Rock and Roll” for a national ad campaign. Even for a less extensive campaign, licensing a song like “The Boys are Back In Town” could reach into the tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, which is just prohibitively expensive for both the agency and the hockey team!
We have a solution for problems such as this. We can produce an original music track that is similar to the song the client can’t afford for a much more reasonable price. I have a suite of tools that allow me to very quickly put together a music track that sounds similar to the song in question.
For this song, which I VERY CLEVERLY titled “The Guys Came Back to the City,” there were certain hallmarks that needed to be retained in order to maintain a similar sound. One was the drum groove. “The Boys are Back In Town” is a shuffle groove, which is a very distinctive feeling groove, so using a drum sampler that was loaded with real samples, I dialed in the most 70’s rock sounding kit I could, and then went about programming a shuffle. Once the basic drum groove was programmed, I could start working on guitars. Guitars were another hallmark. Thin Lizzy was ALWAYS a “twin guitar attack” sort of band…they arranged their songs specifically for two guitars and did a lot of harmonized lead playing. Were I recording a more modern song I probably would have layered as many as 8 or 10 guitar tracks using different tones and playing different parts…but due to the nature of the song I needed to sound like, I felt it best to restrain myself to just two guitar tracks. Another important element to that was that each guitar track had to be its own distinctive tone, as each guitar player in this type of band would generally seek to have his own sound that also worked in the context of the group. In this case, I played the right guitar track with an extensively modified Fender Telecaster through a simulation of a Bogner Shiva, and the left guitar with a Paul Reed Smith through a simulation of a 70’s Marshall. I made sure to include a harmonized lead guitar break at the end.
I did take a few liberties with the bass track. I made it sonically larger and meaner than the original song, in the hopes of providing some additional thrust and weight to the track without having to resort to additional rhythm guitars. Once bass was finished, it was a simple job of mixing the tracks and then doing the edits into :60, :30, :15, :10, and :04 second versions!
Ultimately, I think we got close to the style and vibe of the original track without infringing on anyone’s copyright (which is a BIG deal and something you don’t want to get caught doing…it can be VERY costly).
Take a listen and let me know what you think…and if you’re in the Evansville area…go to an IceMen game!!Share