Walk-Up Wednesday: Brian Adams Edition
Welcome back for our second installment of Walk-Up Wednesday. Last week week we learned Stephen Carmon isn’t as much of a Taylor Swift fan as he is a crowd-pleaser (though like he said, “Who doesn’t like Taylor Swift?”). This time we discover what outfielder Brian Adams enjoys hearing when steps up to the plate, in addition to asking Brian what it’s like to share a name with a famous musician.
We present — without comment — Brian’s walk-up song…
SPOILER ALERT: Not a Bryan Adams song.
Before we talk to Brian… Since the chances of you having a Mark Morrison playlist on your iTunes are about as high as the odds of Morrison making relevant music again (read: low), here’s way more than you ever needed to know about the artist and his 1996 hit, “Return of the Mack”:
* Morrison was born in 1972 to Barbadian parents in West Germany, grew up in England, moved to Miami, and then returned to England by the age of 19.
* “Return of the Mack” is his only song that made noise here in the States. Morrison says the song is about how a lot of people turned their backs on him (including a woman), but he was committed to responding to the adversity by coming back stronger than he ever did before.
* While “Return of the Mack” focuses on his relationship with a woman who scorned his love, there are a few verses prophetically analogous to a batter walking up to the plate:
So I’m back up in the game
Running things to keep my swing
Letting all the people know
That I’m back to run the show
* The rapper Mann remixed “Return of the Mack” with Snoop Dogg and Iyaz in 2011. The unintentional comedy of their music video isn’t quite as high. Yet at least.
* The U.K.’s VH1 featured Morrison in their version of “I Love the 90s: 1996,” which is fun to watch if you like British accents.
* And our personal favorite note: “Return of the Mack” reached as high as No. 2 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in 1997. The only song it couldn’t top? Hanson’s “MMMBop.” Yup. And ain’t that America.
* Also: Anyone else think Mark Morrison could pass for sounding, or even looking, like Akon‘s twin?
John Nolan: So why “Return of the Mack”?
Brian Adams: To be honest, my girlfriend (Charlee) is big into music, and works for the University of Arkansas’ baseball team. She loves that walk-out song and was like, ‘You should do that one.’ I was like, ‘Alright.’ I listened to it, I liked it, and that’s pretty much how it happened. I had it in Eugene and in college as well.
JN: What do you like about it as a walk-up song?
BA: I don’t get into all the rap or stuff that gets you amped up. I try to keep calm. I’m pretty amped up as it is. I try to relax when I go to the plate, so that’s why I have an R&B song that’s just kinda chill. It’s just laid-back and it kind of keeps me calm. My girlfriend’s words are, ‘It gets the fans pumped up.’ So if the fans like it, then I’ll go ahead and throw it on.
JN: So you aren’t nicknamed “Mack”?
BA: Nothing to do with Mack or anything.
JN: On the note of what you are named, though, did your parents (Keith and Karen) realize they were naming you after a rock star?
BA: Ya know, I’ve never asked them that question. I don’t think they named me thinking that way. I’m a junior — named after my dad. He goes by Keith, though, which is his middle name. But I don’t remember growing up listening to Bryan Adams songs or anything. It’s funny, every time I come to the ballpark, they throw it on there, so I’ve gotten pretty used to it.
JN: When did you first make the connection?
BA: Pretty much when I was in elementary school. The teacher would call roll and be like, ‘Brian Adams? Can you sing?’ Every time I went to the dentist — ‘Can you sing a song?’ I didn’t know what they were talking about, so I’d ask my mom and she told me there was a singer with the same name. And now I’ve dealt with it for a long time.
JN: Do the jokes get old?
BA: It doesn’t bother me at all.
JN: Since you hear them often, any favorite Bryan Adams song?
BA: I guess the only ones I know are ‘Summer of ’69’ and ‘Cuts Like a Knife.’ Those are the only two I always hear. I’ve never listened to a whole CD. I’d say ‘Summer of ’69.’ Fans seem to get way more amped up about that one, so I guess that’s the best one he had.
Thanks to Brian for being our Walk-Up Wednesday guest. Let’s hope things between Brian and Charlee never conclude with a song bearing as much pain as “Return of the Mac,” or at least not with a music video featuring leather trench coats, gloves, and over-sized chains.
Let us know what you think of Walk-Up Wednesday on Twitter @John_G_Nolan or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Until next time, you already knew how this was gonna end…