By: Andrew Giangola
April 20, 2017
PUEBLO, Colo. – When the PBR storms into the Tacoma Dome Saturday night, it will be one of the most unique sporting – and music – events ever.
All night long, the bull riding action will have a musical score from a live band – one that has sold 10 million albums.
Iconic rockers Warrant, who recently cut a special new party anthem for PBR, will be the “house band” for the Tacoma Invitational, presented by Cooper Tires. They’ll perform the national anthem, play during rider introductions and when the dirt-kicking, bone-crunching bull riding action begins, the band will serve up a foot-stomping soundtrack leading into each 8-second burst of mayhem.
“Music has always been an important part of the PBR experience, and we’re taking it up a notch,” said PBR CEO Sean Gleason. “Fans will see a complete integration of music and sport as Warrant provides the live soundtrack to all the action on the dirt.”
Fans can even expect the first few bars of the PBR’s most memorable walk-on song, the George Thorogood & The Destroyers Classic “Bad to the Bone” when two-time world champion J.B. Mauney enters the chute.
Warrant recently recorded the PBR’s new party anthem, “I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink.” The rousing cover of Merle Haggard’s number-one hit from October 1980, along with a music video featuring the band, PBR riders and bulls is being played every night at midnight in PBR-branded bars across the country as a clarion call for the good times to continue.
The Warrant collaboration follows the PBR’s successful pairing with Steven Tyler.
Tyler’s performance of a PBR-commissioned the song, “Hold On (Won’t Let Go),” opens PBR on CBS broadcasts, and is heard in arenas and in league marketing.
“Rather than license and rent a great piece of music, play it hundreds of times in arena and on TV, and then give it back, PBR’s vision is to own the music,” Gleason said. “At some point, we’ll have enough original music to build a catalog and issue a PBR music compilation for fans.”
PBR is one of the few major sports with its own music director. Marc Stephenson’s mix of classic rock, country and pop adds pace and punch to a sport already bursting with adrenaline. While some may assume country music is the No. 1 preference among PBR fans, the genre fans listen to most is classic rock, with country a very close second, according to new research.
In fact, it was the unmistakable sound of blaring rock and roll that first attracted Warrant’s Jerry Dixon to the sport when he attended the Built Ford Tough World Finals in 2014.
“I didn’t know much about the sport but was completely blown away by the entire atmosphere,” Dixon said. “It didn’t take long to realize that most of the in-house music was rock. The next day, I was ranting about the bad-ass PBR World Finals, the amazing action on the dirt, the incredible rock music they played, and that we had to get involved somehow.”
The high-energy recording of “I Just Think I’ll Stay Here and Drink” was a lot like the band’s biggest hit, “Cherry Pie,” Dixon says.
“Both songs were actually an afterthought,” he said. “The entire albums had been done, the gear torn down, and we were starting to mix the other tracks when we got back in the studio and recorded just one more song. The magic usually happens when you’re not thinking about it.”
In addition to watching Warrant’s new video in PBR bars across the country, fans can see the band perform live at the World Finals in Las Vegas in November.
After establishing ties with two longstanding rock acts, Gleason is looking into the country space. The PBR may align with a familiar name or offer a platform for developing acts to put their song in front of millions of fans.
“We can help new bands get critical exposure that’s essential to being successful today,” Gleason says.
Assuming the live test in Tacoma goes well, the search for other house bands will grow. Eventually, fans will get a great sporting event with a concert at the same ticket price.
Back in the present, the guitar-slinging boys accompanying Mauney, Jess Lockwood, Silvano Alves, Guilherme Marchi and company on Saturday night do have their limits.
While the band has toured the world, taken creative risks and defied daunting odds to endure in a harsh and unforgiving business, you’ll never see any of them try to get on a bull.
“Bull riding is honestly the most insane thing I’ve ever seen and best left to the few people on God’s green earth with the balls to do it night in and night out,” Dixon said. “Hats off to the PBR riders and the bull athletes who these tough, half-crazy cowboys challenge.”
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