So aside from where did we come up with the band name, the second most asked question I get is how did we end up playing the Star Spangled Banner. The story behind this is kind of amazing. The first time we ever played it was at Yankee Stadium before a game in 1997 - where we were hired to play beforehand as fans strolled into the game. Dave just started singing it and the whole band just followed along. The fans that were about to enter the stadium, turned around and came back. In a few moments, we had hundreds of people right up front enjoying it as much as we were. When we were done, we decided to work on it and record it for our new album - maybe as a hidden track. We did just that. It became a staple at SH shows for the next couple years.
Then, on Father's Day in 2000, waking up in a cheap hotel room in Virginia after a solo show, my manager calls me and says "NBC Sports has been using your version of the Star Spangled Banner all weekend long during their coverage of the PGA US Open from Pebble Beach". I tell him to "f-off". It was true. I could not believe it. Someone at NBC had our disc and plastered that track several times throughout the weekend. It was amazing. The feedback that NBC got was so great that they wanted us to re-record it so that they could use for the upcoming Olympics in Salt Lake City. We agreed.
So, it's the summer of 2001 and we are in NYC recording our album Paradise. On the very last day of recording the main tracks, we had about a half-hour of time left to "dick around" as we call it. Our producer says, let's get everyone out here, record The Banner in one take and see how it goes. And that we did - it was magical. The music was just flowing - the best version we ever played. And it was in one take.
This was two weeks before the attacks on September 11.
At that time, we were still in NYC putting the finishing touches on this album and what was once an exciting time for us, turned to pain and sadness in seconds - a period that took us all a long time to roll out of.
Because we just didn't have it in us to play for a while, our manager Dan kept himself busy with a CD Duplicator in Lancaster, PA. The manufacturer agreed to donate thousands of copies of our new Star Spangled Banner song in special commemorative American flag cases. These were then sold all over the country where 100% of the profit went to the American Red Cross. Several thousands more were given out to NYPD and FDNY all throughout New York City.
I still get goosebumps every time we play it. I still see the lovely smile of one of Homer's #1 fans, Lindsay Stapleton Morehouse. We miss you down here, Lindsay. (http://www.legacy.com/Sept11/Story.aspx?PersonID=146252)