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Tailgate Tunes in the News:

Crank up New Batch of Packers Tunes / Green Bay Press Gazette  
Noteworthy: Local Music Updates / Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel  
Now, He’s a Music Man / The Business News
When Passions Collide / The Denmark News  
A Publisher of Different Sorts / ISWNE NEWS  

Crank Up New Batch of Packers Tunes

Green Bay Press-Gazette | By Kendra Meinert

If you thought the golden era of Green Bay Packers music ended with the team’s back-to-back Super Bowl run in the mid-‘90s, well, not only would you be wrong, you’d be missing out on Titletown tuneage like “The Packers Lost Favre” and “Mr. Rodgers’ Neighborhood.”

“Tailgate Tunes II: More of the Greenest Hits of Football” is out today - the official start of the NFL season, not by coincidence - with 16 new tracks all about the Pack. A follow-up to 1997’s original “Tailgate Tunes,” producer Chris Wood mined musical green and gold from artists and songwriters across the country for the compilation.

What he came up with was more than 300 songs to pick form - an impressive haul even for Wood, a Packers fan from Green Bay who has been collecting music about the team for more than 20 years.

“I really believed it was time to put out another collection of more current Packers music,” said Wood, whose self-penned “Simply the Best” is track No. 10.

The songs come from artists and songwriters in eight states. Six of them were written specifically for the CD, including “The Packers Lost Favre,” in which Raymond E. Burkhart Jr. weighs the heartbreak of losing his dog, his wife and his favorite fishing pole against losing No. 4.

There’s the dance tune “Mr. Rodgers’ Neighborhood” from local artist James Kocian, a calypso “Lambeau Leap” from The Packer Maniacs, Vic Ferrari party anthem “I’m a Packer Backer” and songwriter John Harmon’s “Scatter My Ashes” (When I die don’t nobody cry/No pine box for me/Just scatter my ashes in Lambeau Field/And I can rest peacefully).

And since no Packers CD would be complete without a parody or two there’s “Titletown” (“Funkytown”) and “Ballad of the Green Bay Pack” (“The Ballad of the Green Berets”).

While there’s much levity to the project (the car on the CD cover is one Wood had painted for his wife’s birthday), Packers music is a genre onto itself - one he thinks deserves some respect.

He already has made certain the CD has been accepted into the Library of Congress’ Green Bay Packer Song Collection, which includes nearly 50 songs officially admitted more than a decade ago and heralded as a way of “expressing community,” Wood said.

The CD, on Wood’s own Just Right Records label, is available at Becci’s Sports and Party Center (formerly Party Perfect), 2075 S. Oneida St., Ashwaubenon, and is expected to be at area Shopko and convenience stores within the next week to 10 days. It also will be available at iTunes and HYPERLINK "http://www.cdbay.com" www.cdbay.com, and it’s being shipped to more than 250 radio stations.

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Noteworthy: Local Music Updates

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | By Dave Tianen

One of the major shortcomings of football is that the Packers only play once a week. To fill those empty hours between Sundays, Green Bay's Madera Music has released "Tailgate Tunes II," a compilation of new Packer songs. It's an up-to-date collection of Cheesehead anthems, including "The Packers Lost Favre" and "Mr. Rodgers Neighborhood."

The music was written by various composers and crosses styles including grunge, country, blues and calypso. Artists include longtime Summerfest regulars, the Vic Ferrari Band, plus the Baymeisters, Elroy & the Diehards, John Harmon, the Packer Maniacs and James Kocian.

The CD, about $10, is available at Musical Memories, 833 E. Kilbourn Ave., and Bullseye Records, 1627 E. Irving Place.

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Now, He’s a Music Man

The Business News | By Sean Schultz

Once a newspaperman, Chris Wood is now in the business of publishing tunes

Beware of husbands who say “For you, honey!” and point to a tricked-out green and gold Christmas present revving up in the driveway.

First, you can be pretty sure it’s not really for you. Second, start getting suspicious. Your man may have a second business on his mind.

Christopher Wood said his wife, Judy, was so grateful for her gift that she cried. Well, it looked like gratitude. “She took one look and laughed until she cried, literally,” he said. She also had to give up her good spot in the garage “to protect her investment.”

That paint job on what had been Judy’s aging white 1989 Buick Le Sabre, done with precision at Ron Piontek’s Denmark body shop, is still pristine after all these years - and many Lambeau Field tailgate parties - later.

Sure enough, entrepreneurship is exactly what Wood, whose first career as newspaperman and printer kept him plenty busy, was working toward even if he didn’t realize it when he had Judy’s Le Sabre “tuned up” as a Packermobile to surprise her six years ago.

He was going to be a music man and he would call his enterprise Madera Music, LLC.

There were plenty of hints along the way. Wood began collecting music decades ago and today boasts a basement full of 8,000 to 9,000 records of all sizes, plus three juke boxes. His “holy grail,” he said, is the one that plays albums. He recalls a young friend at his son Brenden’s birthday party who saw a Disney birthday album spinning on the juke box and remarked, “That’s a mighty big CD your dad has!”

Wood has also been writing songs since 1980, first sticking to love songs, ballads, country, and pop before turning to folk and rock. But it was only natural that he would set his sights on Packers’ tunes since he’s been a Packers’ devotee as long as he can remember.

“I can remember my first game in grade school with Dad (Frank Wood),” he said. “I can recall seeing Vince Lombardi stalking the sidelines. It was against the Vikings and I knew something special was happening in Green Bay, Wisconsin.”

Three decades later, he and Judy joined a bus trip to see the Packers win Super Bowl XXXI in New Orleans which prompted Wood to pen the “The Title’s Back in Titletown” performed with his band, The Baymeisters. It became the last track on the original “Tailgate Tunes: The Greenest Hits of Football” CD.

That Tailgate Tunes involvement would lead Wood to his latest venture. The Tennessee owners of Just Right Records contacted him several years ago and asked if he would be interested in buying the remaining Tailgate Tunes CD and cassette stock since he lived in Mecca (AKA Green Bay). They reached an agreement, and he got the license to manufacture 1,000 copies annually. Most years they were sellouts.

In the summer of 2007, he offered to buy out the Tennessee owners of Just Right Records and with it, their music publishing firm, Bigger Hammer Music. They accepted his offer and the deal was completed in February of this year.

Wood called his new business Madera Music, basing it on his alter ego, Cristobal Madera, a translation of his own name that he adopted after spending one of his high school years in Peru with his family, he said.

Once he owned a music label, Wood was off and running in his quest to put out a sequel to Tailgate Tunes. He had tons of Packer tunes in his own collection, which he sifted through, going back to the 1960s to determine what music was still in circulation. He also sought out an artist and repertoire company to call for submissions and received 30 to help round out his collection for the sequel CD.

On Sept. 4, the opening day of the NFL season, Wood unleashed “Tailgate Tunes II: More of the Greenest Hits of Football.” The new CD includes several tunes penned by local artists including Wood’s “Simply the Best;” “Armed and Ready” by Kaukauna’s Terrance Alan; “I’m a Packer Backer” by Kaukauna’s Alan and Russ Reiser; “Mr. Rodgers’ Neighborhood” by Green Bay’s James Kocian; and “Scatter My Ashes” by John Harmon of Winneconne. There’s a “buried bonus track” on the CD which, Wood notes, he made sure is part of the Washington, D.C., Library of Congress Green Bay Packer Song Collection.

“Artists from eight states are represented on the CD,” Wood said. ”The mastering was done at Made Ya Look productions, and they did a fantastic job. The quality is comparable to anything in L.A. or New York. Several of the tracks were recorded locally.” Bigger Hammer Music published two of the tailgate songs.

“Tailgate Tunes II” has gotten considerable attention in recent weeks. Wood and his first solo CD has been featured on ESPN, CNBC, mentioned in USA Today, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal and the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

Wood said he’s devoted a lot of time to his side business including nights, weekends, and vacation time. But he can’t give up his day job just yet. The son of Frank Wood, who was the owner of the former Green Bay News-Chronicle, Door County Advocate, a chain of shoppers, and the Denmark Press, Chris grew up alongside his dad learning to write as a high school sportswriter and later was editor and co-publisher of the Advocate and publisher of Door County Magazine.

Today, he is president of Wisconsin Web Offset, the Wood family’s Brookfield-based printing business, which also has offices in Green Bay.

Wood wrote the liner notes for his CD which includes brat and burger art and, on the cover — big surprise — Judy Wood’s Christmas car proudly parked with Lambeau Field behind it. When there’s a home game, the Wood family is there in reserved parking, tailgating beside the car, cheerfully agreeing to share their car for Packer fan photos.

“It’s been a fun ride,” Wood said. “Ideally, the CDs will do well financially, but if they don’t, I have absolutely no regrets. I learned a great deal. It’s been interesting and gratifying.”
And he’s still driving that car — for his wife.

Chris Wood released “Tailgate Tunes II,” a CD of Packers tunes, on Sept. 4. Wood and his Green-and-Golden Packermobile, which is featured on the cover of the CD, is part of the tailgating scene before home Packers games. The Business News photo by Matt Becker

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When Passions Collide

The Denmark News | By Steve Arveson

Former Denmark man mixes love of music, Packers

For many years the anthem that signified the start of each home game for the Green Bay Packers, right after the Star-Spangled Banner, was the signature riff from Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, ushering in the intro to “Start Me Up.”

And while the volumes of the locally-produced “Tailgate Tunes” CDs might not be as widely known as the Stones’ album “Tattoo You,” they are continuing to leave their mark on Packer fans across the state.

One of the key cogs in the original “Tailgate Tunes" from 1997 and last year's "Tailgate Tunes II” is former Denmark resident and businessman Chris Wood. Aside from his family, Wood has two passions in life –music and the Green Bay Packers.

“These guys in Nashville, I sent them a cassette tape of a bunch of Packers songs. One of them worked for Sony Publishing and he was originally form Green Bay and he loved the Packers,” Wood said. “He called me up and said he was setting up a record label and they were going to release a compilation of Packer songs called “Tailgate Tunes,” and he asked if I would help them get their hands on the music.”

Wood used his connections to secure several Packers songs that made up the first installment of “Tailgate Tunes,” sold in ShopKo stores and large music stores throughout the state.

“It ran its course for two years and they called me up at the end of the second year and asked if I’d like to buy the remaining stock,” Wood said. “The price was right and I bought several hundred CDs and several hundred cassettes. I immediately set up my own little distribution network in Green Bay, Manitowoc, LaCrosse and places like that and I sold them out in short order.”

A year later the album was licensed to Wood and he sold another 1,000 units and did so again for eight years. Two years ago he bought the label, Just Right records, with a publishing arm called Bigger Hammer Music, affiliated with BMI. He then set up his own company Madera Music LLC. Madera translates to “wood” in Spanish.

"I thought the only thing to do with the expense side of all of this was to put out an album. I immediately began picking songs. I have a collection of over 400 Packers songs on everything from CDs to 45s and a couple of albums that are probably 30 or 40 years old,” he said. “I wanted to get some parodies. I had five parodies and it’s very hard to get the rights to those. I figured if I could get two or three, I’d be okay. I ended up getting two.”

The parodies are “Titletown,” a parody of “Funkytown,” by Lipps Inc., and “The Ballad of the Green Bay Pack,” a parody of “Ballad of the Green Berets,” by Sgt. Barry Sadler.

He also received 30 songs from the world’s largest music relations firm, five of which made the cut for the second “Tailgate Tunes” album. He chose the remainder of the cuts from his collection, some of them required updating lyrics to make them more contemporary.

“In every case where I called the artist, publishers or writers and said ‘we’d love to include your song on the album,’ everybody was very excited,” he said. “Everybody was very receptive to be on a Packers album.”

The second installment of “Tailgate Tunes,” was released on Sept. 4 of last year, on opening day of the NFL season. It can be found at Becci’s Sports and Party Center, Packer City Antiques, Secroogy’s Chocolates in Green Bay and De Pere, Stadium Citgo, Stadium Sports and Memorabilia and CDbaby.com

Former Denmark Resident Chris Wood sits among numerous CDs, cassettes, record albums and 45's containing hundreds of songs about the Green Bay Packers. Wood recently released a CD “Tailgate Tunes II” on his own record label, Just Right Records.

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A Publisher of Different Sorts

ISWNEWS The International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors | By Christopher Wood

It seemed like a good enough idea on the surface.

Since I had been licensing the rights to manufacture a CD containing a collection of songs about The Green Bay Packers — including three of my own — for several years, why not offer to buy out the Nashville-based label?

After all, they were of the opinion that it had pretty much run its course some time ago and the previous year’s sales figures seemed to support that position.

So, my thought was instead of shelling out nearly $2,000 for the privilege of manufacturing a limited quantity for the upcoming season, I would offer to buy them out. The worst they could do was say no.

When their response was “make us an offer,” I did a month later and they accepted.

I insisted on having an attorney who specialized in such matters do all of the paperwork and make it 100% legal. This took many months and ran up thousands of dollars in legal bills, but I felt it was absolutely necessary.

Having set up an LLC to prepare for this new venture, nine months later, we — since my wife, Judy, was an equal partner — were the proud, new owners of a record label with a music publishing division.

While I had plenty of experience as a newspaper publisher, this was something completely new and different.

I — er, we — were also well over ten thousand dollars in debt; so of course, there was only one thing to do — release another album!

We now had the infrastructure in place to do so and it was a matter of finding the material and getting it done.

Having an extensive collection of several hundred songs about The Packers dating back to the 60s, I began going through them and choosing a few that we could use. I also got the word out in area songwriting circles and the music community at large that we were looking for songs for the CD.

Next, I secured a listing with TAXI, which is “The World’s Leading Independent Artist & Repertoire Company.” Their monthly listings soliciting specific material for upcoming releases go out to thousands of songwriters, publishers and people in the music business.

Our listing appeared a few weeks later, spelling out exactly what we were looking for. The recordings would have to be of “master quality” and “release-ready” with the caveat of “no profanity, please.”

They received over 30 songs, of which they deemed about a third worthy of our consideration for making the album. Ultimately, five of those songs made the final cut.

We received numerous submissions as a result of getting the word out locally and regionally, several of which were of excellent quality and suitable for our purposes.

And finally, I had gleaned over 10 songs from my collection to round things out that were either of recent vintage or timeless. They would be nice additions to the album; if I could get permission to make minor modifications in some cases and secure the rights to release them on “Tailgate Tunes II.”

What follows is the “final roster” of songs appearing on the CD and a little more information about where they came from and the process of how they got there:

1. “Armed And Ready”
I had always liked this song, which is a country-rocker that had been written by Terrance Alan, a friend of mine, over 10 years ago. When I gave him a call to ask if he would mind re-recording the vocal track to reflect the current situation (of “Lombardi’s trophy’s coming back to where it belongs”), he said he would gladly do so and was elated to get it included on the album.

2. “Face To Face”
With one of its members having had a Bart Starr toybox as a kid growing up in northern Wisconsin and knowing what it really meant to “back the Pack,” this Wisconsin band was inspired to come up with a heartfelt Packers’ tribute. By the way, the line about “Lambeau Field
lightin’ up the town” on game day is fair, objective and accurate!

3. “The Cheesehead Special”
When this one came out a few short years ago, I loved it at first listening! However, I had copyright infringement concerns with Elvis Presley’s Sun rockabilly recording of “Mystery Train.”
As it turned out, at first it didn’t really matter anyway; since the writer/artist was unwilling to give me permission to use it or a second cut of his I wanted to secure for “Tailgate Tunes II.” However, he managed to convince me there was no infringement issue and after several more
phone calls and some creative financing, I managed to convince him to license the two cuts for use on the album.

4. “The Packers Lost Favre”
As the Favre fiasco unfolded last year, it split the Packer Nation right down the middle. People were passionate in their feelings about it either way and I witnessed some very spirited
arguments amongst numerous parties who were close friends. When this song was submitted by TAXI, I knew it had to be included on the album! It sprinkled a little humor on a subject that was being taken entirely too seriously. However, I also knew that the song’s inclusion would in and of itself prevent us from getting distribution in The Packers Pro Shop at Lambeau Field,
which is the best outlet for this type of product in Green Bay. Oh well, I chalk it up to there being a price to be paid for what needed to be said...Track #4 indeed!

5. “Titletown (aka Funkytown)”
We needed to have at least two or three parodies — or “derivative works” as they’re sometimes referred to — on the album because there are so many good ones about the Packers out there and people just love them! I mean, who can’t relate to an old favorite with new lyrics about their favorite football team? This one had come out about 10 years ago and was controlled by a company in Washington state. It took a long time and a lot of negotiating to get the rights to license the master recording with the “Titletown” lyrics because they were initially asking for an arm and a leg. Ultimately, I was able to talk them into accepting just an arm...

6. “It’s The Pack (Hands Down)”
The sheer existence of this song demonstrates the nationwide appeal of The Packers, having
been written by someone who was a Jets fan as a boy growing up in New York. America’s team? Why, The Green Bay Packers, of course!

7. “I’m A Packer Backer”
This was another Terrance Alan song, along with co-writer Russ Reiser. I especially enjoyed the comments by the announcer during the break in the song about the game being “so much fun to watch, it’s a shame we can’t have a beer vendor here in the booth!” What — no beer in the booth?! We can only conclude they weren’t watching the game at Lambeau Field!

8. “Lambeau Leap”
The biggest challenge with this one was locating the publisher who currently holds the rights to the song. I first heard it when it came out in the late 90s on a release by The Packer Maniacs and felt it would be a “sound calypso addition” to the album. After determining that Karen Angela Moore who had been in the original group was the person to talk to, a Web search led down a couple of dead ends. However, she turned out to be on the board of directors of “Just Plain Folks,” a music organization, along with the president of TAXI, which was how we made the connection. She was overjoyed to have the song get a second wind and find new life on
“Tailgate Tunes II.”

9. “Tailgate Boogie”
This was another song from Elroy and the Diehards written by Tom Sumner and Mike O’Neill. It came out with “The Cheesehead Special” a few years ago, which they had also penned and seemed perfect for an album called “Tailgate Tunes II.”

10. “Simply The Best”
When it comes to The Packers having the special distinction of being owned by the people in the smallest city in the league, these three words say it all! It will never happen again.

11. “The Ballad of The Green Bay Pack”
Like many others, I had loved “The Ballad of The Green Berets” when it came out in 1966. Upon hearing this rendition with the Packer lyrics a few years ago, I was fortunate enough to be able to track down the Wisconsin band who recorded it in time to get it on the CD. The Music Venders were happy to give their permission to license the master recording in return for a case of CDs, and the Nashville publisher who owned the rights to it was willing to go along with the standard royalty agreement. Upon getting the deal done on this one, I was elated!

12. “Mr. Rodgers’ Neighborhood”
James Kocian agreed to make a recording of the original, oldest Packers fight song from 1931 entitled “Go! You Packers Go!” Since there is no recording of the song with the lyrics included known to exist, we wanted to do one and have it on the album. James recorded it in return for assurances of getting another song on the release and a case of CDs. Unfortunately, we were unable to include it when the finished recording was rejected by the family. When he brought us this one as the “other song,” it turned out to be a wonderful consolation prize!

13. “Go, Pack!”
A real rocker, this one was written by Wisconsin band Sunspot for this album with the idea of expressing the wishes of all the Packer faithful throughout the season.

14. “That’s Our Pack”
At first, the song lyric was historically inaccurate in saying that after The Packers won the first two Super Bowls: “and ever since — the Super Bowl trophy’s been named after Vince!” (It was actually several years later.) When I pointed this out to the writer, he agreed to do a quick fix and redid the vocal track. It had already been mastered and sent to the pressing plant, so I had to call them up and say: “Hold the (CD) presses!” They did and we got it right.

15. “Scatter My Ashes”
This song had come out some years ago and received substantial airplay at the time but had never been on an album. I called John Harmon, the talented jazz musician from Appleton who wrote it, to get permission for including it, if only we could make a couple of adjustments.

The first was bringing some of the cheering from the end of the song up to the beginning, which really fleshed it out nicely. But more importantly was the second, of doing away with the hokey disclaimer tacked on to the end of the song. It was all about checking with county officials on “local ordinances concerning the scattering of ashes,” as intoned by a very serious-sounding announcer. I’m sure John would agree that it’s amazing what a good sound technician can do!

16. “Girls Up North”
This was a song that wasn’t real Packeresque but so-o-o-o Wisconsinese! For that reason and that reason only, it made the cut as a “buried, bonus track.”

And one final note: the most enjoyable part of the whole process was writing the liner notes for the eight-page booklet that comes with the CD. Additionally, for better or worse, the album has been welcomed into The Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. to join the rest of The Green Bay Packer song collection that resides there.

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