There’s a battle of the bands brewing in the Bay State…
After dispensing with a few miscellaneous pieces of legislation, the hearing was dominated by testimony in support of an opposing bill which would enshrine Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers’ “Roadrunner,” an ode to driving the highways of Massachusetts, as the state’s top rock track.
‘Dream On’ lead sponsor Rep. James Cantwell, D-Marshfield, missed the hearing, but defended the power ballad as emblematic of the state’s spirit.
“(Aerosmith) are definitely from Massachusetts. They are a prime example of the rags to riches story that ‘Dream On’ encapsulates,” Cantwell said. Cantwell offered written testimony in which he wrote that designating the song “will honor hard work and dreaming on regardless of life’s hardships.”
“Like Aerosmith the band, the song celebrates grit and remaining steadfastly committed to your dreams,” Cantwell wrote.
Supporters of the ‘Roadrunner’ bill sang the song’s praises, but were prevented by committee co-chairs Sen. Kenneth Donnelly, D-Arlington, 63, and Rep. Peter Kocot, D-Northampton, 56, from playing the song itself. Donnelly did at one point offer Rep. Daniel Cullinane, D-Dorchester, the chance to sing a few bars. Cullinane, who introduced the bill on sponsor Rep. Martin Walsh’s behalf due to the Boston Mayor-elects commitments, declined to offer his Richman impression.
Sen. Robert Hedlund, the Senate sponsor of the ‘Roadrunner’ bill, told the panel how the song impressed him when he first heard it while working at a gas station when he was 15. The song’s lyrics concern the adolescent urge to ride around the suburbs listening to music and name-checks many Massachusetts institutions such as Stop & Shop and Route 128.
“It really is a love song penned to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,” Hedlund said.
The Weymouth Republican said he has for years pitched the idea of naming ‘Roadrunner’ the official rock song as “a nice little civics lesson” whenever he visited schools to explain the legislative process.
“I did that mainly because I wanted to see this legislation pass, but I wanted to hide behind the children. I didn’t want to be accused of filing a frivolous bill. I had no takers,” Hedlund told the committee before receiving a laugh from the friendly audience.
“I consider myself a fan of Aerosmith, but the Aerosmith song … has no relevance whatsoever to Massachusetts. A cursory, quick look at the lyrics will tell you that,” Hedlund said.
I can think of a few other notable Beantown bands besides those two…!
What’s on your mind tonite…?