By Michael Rand
The other day, we received an e-mail from a woman named Eileen Parker, who wanted to set us up with an interview with recording artist A&R (given name Antonio Richardson). After reading a little more about him, the obvious answer was, “yes.” A&R wrote and performs “Joe Mauer Theme Song,” which Baby Sideburn Batting Champ has used as his at bat music this year. As the story goes: Both of them are St. Paul guys; A&R met Mauer through some of his former high school football teammates at Cretin-Derham Hall. According to the artist, Mauer played one of his songs at a New Year’s Party he hosted, really enjoyed it, and asked him to find a song for his intro music this year. A&R took it one step further. He will be performing “Joe Mauer Theme Song” live before Friday’s game (5:30 p.m. it says right here, where you can also have a listen to the song yourself). A&R was nice enough to answer some questions. So let’s get to it, shall we?
RandBall: Did you actually get to attend Joe Mauer’s New Year’s Eve party, at which your song influenced him? If so, can you please describe the scene.
A&R: Yes. I mean, it was a great experience. The decorations were excellent. It had white linen hanging from the ceiling, table cloths, open bar, buffet — it was all that you could ask for, from a New Year’s Eve private event. It was really classy. Joe and Justin Morneau both had on black and white tuxes with top hats … it was great. The atmosphere was total networking and a lot of old friends coming together to bring in the New Year.
RB: How often has the Joe Mauer Theme Song been played this season prior to his at bats? Is it every at bat, or is it just select at bats, and if it’s the latter does he seem to perform better when your song is played?
A&R: Well the song does play at all home games … but sometimes it may get bumped out of the way by crowd chants and stadium announcements and stuff. But other than that, yes, it plays every time he goes up to bat. Other songs that I’ve given him are played a lot in their locker room and in interviews that I’ve noticed — like a song that I have called “Straightn Up For Tomorrow” and other songs, but his performance on the field has always been great. I would say it has given him a boost though. Soon as the lyrics start on the song it’s like this:
“Guess who steps up to the plate/it’s minus 1 from number 8 (#7) check the sideburns can you relate/straight from the home of the great lakes/he got soul power it’s Joe Mauer the human highlight tape/”
I mean, that would prepare you for some great anticipation at the plate so yeah, I would say he’s on the verge of something great this season.
RB: When you say the song will be live on the pregame show Friday, what exactly does that mean?
A&R: I will be performing live at the Metrodome. And, if I am correct, I’ll be one of the first Hip-Hop artists to perform in the Metrodome for the pre-game show.
RB: If Joe Mauer wrote a song called, “The A&R Theme Song,” what would it sound like? Does a keen batting eye translate directly into strong mic skills?
A&R: I would say it would sound full of life. Actually its funny you said that because Joe writes music from time to time. If Joe was to write a “A&R theme song” I know automatically it would put a smile on everybody’s face because that’s the type of person Joe is. He would bring out the brighter side of me and the accomplishments. The “Eye on the Prize” element will make it a hit. It’s something about being in the zone that brings out the best in everything and I was definitely in the zone when I wrote “The Joe Mauer Theme Song.”
RB: St. Paul guys seem to have a special connection. How would you describe that city bond?
A&R: The bond is extremely strong I think it stems a lot from our up-bringing because we were groomed to always stick together. Its like a brotherhood. No matter how far in the world each person could be, no matter how much success you gain, you are still connected to your brothers. There are very few who actually keep those values in the world so we make it a point to always hold that. A lot of times St. Paul is also overshadowed by Minneapolis because of the success of people like Prince. And, the Metrodome and Target Center are in Minneapolis. But, the one thing we have is our structure and togetherness that really always sticks out.
RB: Not to be picky, but in the theme song (which I enjoyed very much, by the way), you found audio footage of a Joe Mauer home run. Where were you able to find that?
A&R: Aside from being a friend of Joe’s I am also a fan, so I kind of keep highlights of my own for personal memorabilia. I’m a huge sports fan and I always keep special things of the players who have had an impact on me and my life. People like Jerry Rice, Magic Johnson, and Joe, and it just so happens that it fit well for this song. And it’s kind of a way that certified that this was supposed to happen. And so when me and my DJ (Dj MV) listened through them, it was perfect.
RB: Any chance your work with Joe (and him having a good year) will lead to the entire lineup commissioning you to write theme songs? Because as much as I like hearing “Cherry Pie” every time Brendan Harris comes up, don’t you think he and others might benefit from a change?
A&R: Yeah, I think they would benefit greatly, and I think that has a great possibility to happen. I’m a lifelong Twins fan so I could put a lot of everybody’s personality into the song that would make it great for everybody. It could be a great thing to uplift the entire team.
RB: All kidding aside, what other projects do you have coming up?
A&R: Well in a week on Aug. 8, I will become the first Hip-Hop artist to ever perform at the James J. Hill Mansion, which I’m very much looking forward to. Sept. 2008, I have a documentary film that will premiere at the AMC Mall of America titled “Green Light.” I have an album coming out soon that will be the soundtrack to the movie. For those who’ve seen my billboards that I did with CBS on Pascal and University in St. Paul, right across the street from the Midway Shopping Center, I have two new ones coming up. One is with Peter Parker from B96. I have ringtones available; just text keyword “Joemauer” to 67463 to get the “Joe Mauer Theme Song” on your phone. So things are looking great. Always staying busy, and with every move I’m elevating the name “A&R” to something bigger and better.