Rock The Ravens
Recently I posted an invitation on Facebook and Twitter encouraging musicians who double as Ravens fans, to submit Ravens-related songs to be posted here on Russell Street Report. There are so many talented people out there who just never seem to get the right break or they’re just not in the right place at the right time.
— Russell St. Report (@RussellStReport) September 20, 2016
I thought that perhaps this effort to reach out and provide new exposure to said talents might either:
A. Help the musicians reach a new audience
B. Allow Ravens fans to enjoy their work
C. All of the above
Last night I received an email from a group of very interesting and talented musicians (as you will soon see). This is their story…
Hello Dear RSR!
Saw your tweet regarding Ravens-themed music, and I happen to have something like that!
Hi, my name is Janos Stefan, and I’m a Ravens fan.
I’m 37, father or two kids (a girl and a boy) who always turn the house upside down.
I’m from Europe, a tiny country called Hungary, slightly left from the middle of nowhere, and even though this country had given more to the NFL in the last decades than you would probably imagine, this is not my topic right now.
I graduated from the University of Debrecen, my major was English and American studies, with specialization in Business English. American culture therefore was not only something that I felt that was close to me, it was also something that I had to take exams on!
I’m currently working as an IT manager for T-Systems, the biggest IT provider in Europe. I’m a head of a delivery unit focusing on Operations Management and Processes.
But let’s have a look on how this Ravens thing evolved…
In the mid-90s I focused mostly on the NHL, as I was born in Czechoslovakia (in the 70’s it existed) and hockey is very popular over there. The team that grabbed my attention and support was the New Jersey Devils, mostly because they had a Slovak icon playing for them (Peter Stastny) and a bit later the Czech guy called Patrik Elias, who I even met when he brought the Stanley cup to the Czech Republic in 2003.
With the rule changes, the holdouts and generally the overall situation, I started to turn my attention to other stuff as well – enter the NFL. The sports TV in my beautiful country started to broadcast games regularly. This was also around 2003-2004, when the Patriots won 2 SuperBowls in a row, and, of course, bleh, everybody in Hungary is now a Patriots fan. Yeesh.
At the time I worked for an American company called Ygomi LLC – I started as a service desk agent, and worked my way up to be the lead graphic and web designer of the company. But especially in my service desk days, since we had peculiar shift schedules, because of the time difference and all, and I found myself going home from work at 2 am, without being sleepy, and trying to find something to watch.
And I stumbled upon the games, and before long i was a fan, learned the rules on the go, and by reading a lot about it, and I’ve come to a point where I can confidently say I have a good understanding of football in general, and our team in particular. For this the credit mostly goes to online forums and sites – I’m thankful for all the wisdom shared there. I learned a lot.
I had some experience and knowledge about the background of running a franchise (as written above, this is why I liked the Devils also: no flashy FA signings, work through the draft, the magic of Lou Lamoriello (“In Lou we trust” – familiar, right?:))
First I did not have any particular favorite team, I just watched whatever was on TV. But even during these times I remember one game when there was this guy called Ray Lewis, who the commentator raved about. And damn, he was blowing people up!
After a couple of months which were spent reading about the organization and the way Ozzie works, how John Harbaugh was brought in, and reading articles, checking online forums and whatnot, I felt that this team is something special and will be worth my support! 🙂
My love of the Ravens is well known among us – our guitarist is a Lions fan (poor soul, yeah) – and I always wear my jerseys when we play live – as you can probably see on the picture as well.
But now, to the point. This story would actually be about songs – and in particular, those of my band, called Ghost Toast and we play stuff that according to most people is really weird – it’s basically not a genre you could categorize just like that. It’s a progressive, instrumental thing that ranges from rock to drums&bass, from metal to trance, with all kinds of sound effects and borrowed vocals and speeches and Lord knows what else. I’ve spent 13 years playing in various bands waiting for this opportunity to finally do something like this, and now here we are.
I will not advertise Ghost Toast, that’s not my intent at all; to be honest – we could care less about the audience if you catch our drift. This is not about fame, and definitely not about money – we have not made a dime with this, nor intend to.
I would only like to aim your attention at 2 tracks from our album that was released in 2013. The whole album was recorded, edited and mixed on our (basically my) computer. No professional studio or label was involved or anything like that – and therefore it didn’t cost anything. Thank God!
Both have something to do with the Ravens.
This one is called Legacy, (video below) and i’m sure you will find out towards the end why I did this whole thing. Those that are impatient should skip to around 4:20.
[Editor’s note: I suggest you listen to the song in it’s entirety. I tried not to listen and was incredibly tempted to take Janos’ advice and FF to 4:20. I’m glad that I didn’t. ~ TL]
You will recognize the voice at 4:20.
It actually didn’t take much convincing for the others to accept me putting this into the song. They focused on the message, which is understandably top-notch, and even our Lions fan Bence is a fan of Ray Ray. So once it turned out that it fit the song, there was no other option than to use it.
The other track is called Nor Defeat (listen here), – again, not much to comment here. This is actually the outro track of the album. I don’t exactly know how it happened. I saw the press conference video on baltimoreravens.com some time ago, and immediately thought when I heard Harbs recite this quote that, “Gosh I just HAVE to use this, it’s so perfect!”
So I teamed up with our cello player, and we laid down the tracks (though here I’m the one who plays the piano, which is something I do not do very often).
Previously I tried to show it to journalists close to the Ravens, even players themselves through Twitter (and that includes YOU Mr. Mink 🙂 ), but never succeeded. I don’t really know why. It would be nice to know what they think after listening to them, that some people in a tiny country far far away are creating stuff like this.
Once again – this is not a publicity stunt or anything like that – it’s been 3 years since we recorded these songs anyway. But if anyone can help in showing it to the right people, we’d appreciate the help very much!
Another fun fact: while with Ygomi, we had a company meeting once near Washington DC. It was my first (and so far only) trip to the US, and we were taken to a baseball game! It was still interesting though, but baseball is something I have never understood properly and still don’t, but it was pretty awesome to actually see an American stadium in person.
OH oh oh! and it was a Nats vs. Orioles(!!!) game, in June 2008, which was cut short because of a HUGE thunderstorm that hit the field. The stadium was evacuated! It was an experience I will never forget.
It would be great to get to a Ravens game one day. Currently it appears that my only (slim) chance for that would be if they were to come over to London – but even that is a longshot for me right now. But who knows, maybe one day I’ll make it.
Best wishes to all RSR staff members (especially TL and Ken – I enjoy your writings the most!)
Janos from Debrecen, Hungary