Ananth Pandian has a beard, two little dogs and owns too many esoteric basketball related t-shirts. He lives in Boston and he’s addicted to the NBA and chap-stick.
Perhaps one of the most memorable off-court/Internet-related moments of the season was when Matt Bonner released his “Fundamentals of the Game with Coach B” on the Interwebz. Bonner’s epic sandwich blog, “Matt Bonner’s Sandwich Hunter: The Quest for the Hoagie Grail” (can’t actually check out the actual blog since it was on the Spurs website — yet another reason why the lockout sucks), was already Internet gold, but Coach B took it to next level. Skeets called it, “The most groundbreaking basketball instructional video series the world and possibly the universe has ever seen.”
The series’ theme song has a way of getting in to your head (“Go, Coach B!”), in an unexpected way, and after learning that the band, Bodega Girls, hailed from Boston (my ‘hood) I was even more curious to get the story behind how this unique collaboration came about.
So I got in touch with the Bodega Girls’ Evan Kenney, who introduced himself as a basketball nerd:
TBJ: How would you describe the band’s musical style?
EK: Well, we are all from Boston and we basically would say that we are electronic, dancey kind of pop music with a little bit of rock ’n’ roll and soul mixed in. We’ve been playing for a couple of years and have had a lot of different members of the band. It’s more of an artist collective. Its basically party music — all about having a good time, nothing too serious, very light hearted. It kind of works well with what Bonner is doing — trying to pump people up and get them excited about life.
TBJ: How did you guys get involved with Bonner and creating the Coach B theme song?
EK: We were playing a show out in Amherst, MA, and opening for this band Wild Light. Apparently Matt was in town — he had a night off and wanted to go out but didn’t want to go to a bar where everyone would freak out and say “Ah! Its Bonner!” If he walked into a sports bar he wouldn’t get to chill out.
We were playing at this place Iron Horse and he ducked in because he knew some of the guys from Wild Light. They’re from New Hampshire, Bonner is from New Hampshire. So basically we were playing and he just loved it! We got off stage and immediately knew it was him, I mean, he is the tallest dude I have ever seen in my life. You can’t really miss him!
We ended up hanging out all night with him and his brother Luke. He told us about an annual charity concert that they do and how they’d love us to play it. We end up working with him and writing a song about New Hampshire for him and his organization: Sneakers and Speakers — then he asked us to write the theme song for Coach B.
TBJ: What was that writing process like? It’s a pretty simple song, but how long did that take to create?
EK: A member that is no longer in the band mainly created the song but he still works with us on music stuff and is a great friend. His name is Mac, he was the DJ for our group for a while. We wanted something simple and more of a jingle. We made the beat, which we were going to have for another song but it just kind of worked. Haley Thompson King, who sings in a band called Banditas (also from Boston), did the female vocals. We sent it to Matt and he loved it! It was easy because we knew Matt, and what he would like, and it just kind of came out.
TBJ: What do you think of The Fundamentals of Basketball series?
EK: It’s great! I mean to be involved with anything that he does. I also love his blog.
TBJ: Right, the sandwich blog?
EK: Yeah! We had a show at SXSW in Austin, Texas in March and Matt actually came and met up with us. He came fully dressed as Coach B. — had the whistle and the clipboard, dressed in the full suit and was interviewing us outside the venue and just hanging out. He is a great guy and super supportive and we hope that we can keep making music for him.
TBJ: Yeah, I saw that picture at SXSW…
EK: Yeah, yeah, he came with total Coach B attitude. As soon as the camera started rolling he was serious, man…
TBJ: I remember he was on the TBJ Overdose podcast and talked about meeting up with you guys at SXSW. TBJ asked him what kind of music he was listening to and he said he is a really big fan of the Bodega Girls.
EK: Yeah, we actually just recently DJ-ed his event, Sneakers and Speakers, where we played with Deer Tick.
TBJ: So, you say you are basketball nerds. What’s the band’s favorite team?
EK: We have to rep the Celtics — that’s our team — I mean everyone in the band grew up in the age of McHale, Bird, DJ … it was kind of like the golden era of basketball for us. Honestly, its cheesy but we love watching Bonner, big tall white dude draining threes! We had a show one night and the Spurs were playing the Celtics and we actually stopped playing and sat at the bar and watched him play.
TBJ: What are your thoughts on the lockout? Bonner is the vice president of the Players Association.
EK: I’m bummed about it. It’s just like anything. People need to be treated fairly, but at the same time we want to see them play. We want Bonner to be happy. I hope it works out. I really do. But I think what he’s doing is the right thing if he believes in it. Those dudes work their asses off and they should be compensated for what they do. I don’t know. We are still waiting to see how it all works out, but I know Matt fully believes in the lockout.
TBJ: Do you guys see any more Coach B videos or future collaborations?
EK: Hopefully! We’re always in contact with him and we’re always writing so I think we’ll do another Coach B-related song. All our songs are about our friends and experiences. We write what we know, and we write about those who help us out and we help out, like Matt.