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"LET'S GO RUSH" - BRANDON JONES CREATES AN ANTHEM FOR HIS HOMETOWN TEAM

Thursday, January 26th
"LET'S GO RUSH" - BRANDON JONES CREATES AN ANTHEM FOR HIS HOMETOWN TEAM

The idea was fairly simple. The Rapid City Rush had decided they needed a theme song, a new anthem for their team. One that could be played at games, in the lead-up to puck drop and during breaks in the action while serving as a sort of rallying cry for the fan base.

Local recording artist Brandon Jones immediately stood out to the team as the obvious choice to write the song.

Jones, who heads up the Brandon Jones Band and also works as a radio host for HomeSlice Group, was born and raised in the Black Hills. He attended the first-ever Rush home game on Nov. 29, 2008, a 4-0 win over the Colorado Eagles, and has long considered himself a fan of the team. So of course Jones jumped at the opportunity.

“It’s such a privilege and an honor because the Rush are so huge in our community,” Jones said. “And it was kind of scary at first. I’ll be honest. I’ve never done anything like this before.”

And for a while, it wasn’t the simplest process. At first Jones was stuck. He had an idea of where he wanted to go with the song, but the lyrics and the groove weren’t quite coming together. Eventually, though, things clicked when one of his bandmates, Eric Domkowski, came up with a new groove while the band was gathered together, and everything quickly fell into place.

“Once Eric started playing that groove, Leighton [Weber] on the other guitar started playing it as well,” Jones said. “Josh [Lehman] followed on the bass, and then Mike [Grosek] came in with the drums, and it was kind of one of those moments where we were like yup, this is the groove.”

From there, the lyrics started to come together. The band members met at Cottonwood Studios, where the band records its music, fine-tuned all the elements, and just like that, it was done. 

The result is an upbeat, toe-tapping, catchy song appropriately titled “Let’s Go Rush.” The team unveiled the song and the video that accompanied it to rave reviews prior to its 5-4 win against the Idaho Steelheads on Jan. 21.

“I got a ton of text messages on Saturday,” Jones said. “I wasn’t at the game; we were at a show. A lot of people sent a lot of positive things over.”

An audible cheer rose up from the crowd after the video and song finished playing, well before the starting lineups were announced amid the usual pyrotechnics and fanfare.

Jones’s deep, booming voice can be heard on every HomeSlice radio station but primarily on the morning show “The Roadhouse” on KAT Country 98.7 and 93.9 The Mix. He also hosts a show on The Cowboy 104.7 FM. He classifies his music as country, rock, classic rock and southern rock. He notes his appreciation and adoration of every style of music from country to hard rock to blues to R&B.

The Brandon Jones Band has performed or headlined at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Wild Bill Days, the Black Hills Stock Show, National Western Stock Show and the South Dakota State Fair, and its songs — including its biggest hit “Black Hills Back Road” — often play at Rush games. “Let’s Go Rush” stretches a bit deeper into rock ‘n’ roll territory, with the electric guitar replacing an acoustic and a quicker tempo that intends to get the listener excited for the puck to drop.

“My other stuff is a little bit more country, less rock, and this one is definitely more rock,” Jones said. “And that’s kind of what I like about it. It brought on a different animal, a little different energy.

“In my mind, those great rock songs, when they start, give you that energy where you know something’s about to happen. So that was kind of our goal.”

Two Rush players can be heard in the song. Goaltender Adam Carlson and center Calder Brooks sat in on the recording session when the Brandon Jones Band produced the track.

“[It was] super cool. That was my first time ever in a recording studio or seeing anything like that,” Brooks said. “It was pretty neat to get a grasp of how they work and what their profession consists of, how talented they are and everything that goes into it.”

Both Brooks and Carlson were struck by the similarities in the general vibe of a band working on its song and a hockey team preparing for practice or a game.

“It was kind of similar to our locker room,” Brooks said of being in the studio. “They had some banter going on, and it was professional, but they were joking around with each other. It kind of reminded me of us.”

Jones was aware that the Rush players were going to observe the studio session and potentially become a part of things, possibly with a photo shoot. But Tom Frear, who runs Cottonwood Studios where the band records its music, had the idea to include Brooks and Carlson in the song.

“We were like why not have them sing along with the cheer of Rush?” Jones said. “Like duh, they’re the players. We ran with it, and it turned out even better.”

So when Jones shouts “let’s go!” during the chorus, the responding background vocals of “Rush!” include the voices of Brooks, Carlson and Carlson’s fiancée, Allison.

“I’m pretty happy that you can’t pick out me and Carly’s voice because I don’t know if that would do any good for the song,” Brooks said with a smile. “But it’s super cool to say we’re part of a song, and it’s for our team so it’s a really neat experience.”

The Rush plan to use the music video and the song as the team’s intro video for the foreseeable future. But even if it’s eventually replaced with a different hype video to lead the crowd into the starting lineup announcements, it’s a safe bet that “Let’s Go Rush” will be played at some point at every Rapid City home game.

The song that the hometown kid created, that gives off the energy that something exciting is about to happen, is here to stay. Jones has authored the team’s rallying cry, its anthem, and in doing so, has become a part of the team that he has been a fan of since the beginning.

“It’s just weird to think because going to a Rush game, and all 15 years of me going to games and being a fan but I can’t ice skate,” Jones said and laughed. “It’s cool, it’s an awesome feeling.”

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