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Southern Straightaway creates ABC57 Saturday Kickoff theme song

ABC57 wanted to capture the essence of college football and the game day experience at Notre Dame, so we commissioned local rock-a-billy band, Southern Straightaway, to create the theme song for the ABC57 Saturday Kickoff show.

The band jumped at the chance.

"Fire It Up, when you hear it the first time, you remember that. I can see people saying, 'Hey, fire it up' when they hear it. And that's the idea. We get fired up and that gives a lot of connotations. Fire it up, get ready to go, get ready to play, get ready to watch the game, fire up the grill, tailgate, whatever you're going to do. Kick it off, that's a really cool thing," said bass player Dan Tanner.

Were they surprised to be asked to create the theme song?

"I was like 'Why us?' We were just this little band from Plymouth you know, but then we kind of took it in stride as 'Well, why not us?' So we just hit it and within an hour or two, we really had a song," said lead guitarist Ryan Mear.

The 'little band' came up with a big sound.

Southern Straightaway is made up of seven guys - Marcus, Rick, TJ, Ryan, Dan and Tony.

They are all from Michiana.

"We definitely took the effort. We came in and we started writing riffs and our lead guitarist already had an idea in mind because they were asking for sort of a rockabilly sound. So he came in and started playing it and I was 'ok, what happens at Notre Dame games?' Everyone I know is talking about tailgating," said lead singer Marcus Clingaman.

"If the guitarists come up with a riff, and Tony lays down a beat and I put a bass line on it, the next thing you know we've got a pretty good basis for a song," said Tanner.

When creativity strikes you don't squander the moment.

"I was like 'I don't have anything to write with. Does anyone have anything to write with?' They were like 'no' so I looked around and there was some cardboard lying around so I just grabbed that and started writing on that," said Clingaman.

Piece by piece, it came together until it turned into the foot stomping, fist pumping song we love.

Now these life-long musicians have the chance to share their love with football fans.

"Connecting with a crowd and having them dance and enjoy it, there's nothing else like it," Mear said.

"I think this is definitely excitement and inspiration to push forward. As the chorus says, 'Fire It Up,' it's like 'let's get ready to go. Let's get something done, let's make things happen," Clingaman said.

"I can't wait for the season to start every year, but Notre Dame football, absolutely stellar, I love it. I can't wait, we're going to get it fired up!" Tanner said.

Tanner graduated from Notre Dame with an MBA in 2003. He said writing a song to be played in connection with his alma mater is a dream come true.

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