The Rise of the Band Geeks, Episode 24: We Are Not a Cult (Paragraph 3 will Shock You!!)


Professor Ross Eforp

English 269.001




We are not a cult.

This, I can promise with absolute certainty.  They say in statistics that you cannot be certain and everything is subjective, but this is not statistics; this is a blog.  So I can confirm based on my own experience that marching band is not, and never will be, a cult.

What?  You think calling the band director “Fearless Leader” has a cult-y vibe to it?  That is just a coincidence!  These things happen in life–it’s just probability!  See, we respect the Fearless Leader, and the Fearless Leader leads us fearlessly from atop a ladder that has no back rail.  It takes guts to climb that thing, so it is only fair to admire the Fearless Leader’s dauntlessness with this impeccable adjective.

I’m serious!  We are not a cult!  We do not all wear the same thing and secretly identify each other as though through some secret code.  It’s not like we all got comfy beanies or show shirts or anything!  No, we just…got those from the M Den!  Yeah!  No, we don’t get cool swag or anything…our status as student athletes is (wrongfully) disputed.  So how could we possibly be detecting other band kids by their beanies, bags, or t-shirts?

Besides, cults don’t have their own theme songs.  We sure do!  Because…we’re a band…so–uh, yeah.  Songs are what we do.  But do cults follow around stuffed octopi and say “Uprising?” to one another?  No!  Then again, I’m not in a cult, so I don’t know what a cult is like–heh…heh…..heh……………

In conclusion, marching band is definitely not a cult, and this is definitely an essay that would have earned me a 5 on the AP Lang exam.  Indeed, this is a bastion of academia, a beacon of integrity!  Everything said in this can be confirmed by reputable sources such as Wikipedia and Twitter.  It’s legit!

The Rise of the Band Geeks, Episode 22: Uprising?

Deviating from last week’s exploration of Michigan Traditionals, today’s post focuses more on songs made popular in more recent years.  A rock song played over the stadium loudspeakers or a pop song heralded by the band can carry just as much emotional weight while being relatable to the students, who would much rather listen to Seven Nation Army than Varsity.


Seven Nation Army.  This adrenaline-inducing 21st century anthem emerged in 2003, making it about as old as the younger end of this year’s freshman class.  Its solid angst-ridden lyrics are largely ignored in favor of “Oooh-oh-oh-oh-oh-ooooooh-ooooooooh,” which, to be fair, is the tune that makes the song so popular–but you’ll never hear them at a sports game because of the aforementioned “Oh”-ing.  This song was played after we beat TTDS at The Game while the field was being stormed, so it is also a victory anthem.


Pump it Up.  This song by Endor has very, very straightforward lyrics:  “You got to pump it up / Don’t you know? Pump it up,” but its significance at Michigan home games cannot be understated.  After The Trio, the stadium (whether it be Yost or The Big House) blasts this song, and everyone repeats the mantra while high-fiving each other and basking in the glory of our team having scored a point.  Unsurprisingly, it was played multiple times on November 27th.


Uprising.  The question mark in the title is on purpose.  After this song was played during the third halftime show of the season, the Fearless Leader started asking the band if they were ready to play Uprising in the stands with a simple question:  “Uprising?”  It became a running joke for the remainder of regular season (I can’t testify to anything after November 27th).  It’s enough of a power anthem that it warrants a spot as a stand tune next year in my 100% unbiased opinion.


Blues Brothers.  Ah, yes, the Blues Brothers theme!  With an amazing, peppy melody and a fun dance, you can’t go wrong (unless you get the moves to the dance wrong).  It’s quite a shame that this happens during commercial breaks, because this is about the only time I am doing something that passes as dancing.  (The Cha-Cha Slide does not count because it isn’t really played in the stadium.)  Also, the final bit where we cheer and shout, “I QUIT!” is an incredible way to unleash pent-up tension.


Mr. Brightside.  From the moment you read the first sentence, you knew this was coming.  It had to.  No list about modern band/sports game anthems would be complete without the punk rock gem by The Killers released in September 2003.  After all, nothing quite makes your day like a stadium of 100,000 people belting out the verse, bridge, and chorus to a song that, for its upbeat tempo and catchy melody, is really depressing when you read the lyrics.  But there’s something magical about shouting the (hopefully correct) words and feeling your voice getting swept away by the sheer number of people who are screaming around you.  The anticipation builds as you reach the line, “But it’s just the price I pay,” where the audio cuts out and everybody finishes the chorus in a thunderous mass of shout-singing.  Even when it was 30 degrees and snowing, the rendition of Mr. Brightside on November 27th was impeccable–especially since, once the field was stormed, the DJ played Mr. Brightside and solidified it as a modern Michigan victory jam.