Andy Saur's Vikings questby Bob Kelleher, Minnesota Public Radio
A Duluth man is on a quest to change the music the Minnesota Vikings play in the Metrodome before kicking the football. Andy Saur says the Vikings should be playing a Led Zeppelin song rather than the one they use by Guns N' Roses. His efforts have gotten nationwide media attention, but he admits he's still in for a long struggle.
Duluth, Minn. — If you've ever sat through a Minnesota Vikings football game in the Metrodome, you've heard it, that loud echoing guitar.
It's the opening riff from a popular 1987 rock song, Guns N' Roses "Welcome to the Jungle." It's what they play in the Metrodome when the Vikings kicking team is about to boot the football up the field. It gets the crowd on its feet.
But Andy Saur, of Duluth, says there's a more appropriate song out there, from British rock legends Led Zeppelin. The song's a few years older than Andy Saur. "Immigrant Song" led off the band's third album in 1970. "I've been a big fan of the Vikings all my life, and also been a fan of Led Zeppelin," Saur says. "And the 'Immigrant Song' is about the Vikings. And, I thought 'Wow, that's really cool!'"
Compare the two songs:
"Welcome to the jungle. We got fun and games." (lyrics to Gun N' Roses "Welcome to the Jungle.")
"We come from the land of the ice and snow, from the midnight sun where the hot springs blow." (lyrics to Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song.")
"We're not close to any jungles in Minnesota, but we have plenty of ice and snow," Saur says.
Now, Saur is kind of a creative guy. He's a graphic artist. He's married to an artist. So he thought he'd take his idea to the Minnesota Vikings football team, in a creative way.
"I did a painting, originally of three Vikings ships sailing across the rough seas, whatever, and made a print out of it," Saur says. "And then in that print I had like a little speaker with an MP3 player on it. They could push a button on the actual print, and the song would start playing right out of the poster. So, it was like an interactive art piece."
And he sent it along to the top of the organization; Minnesota Vikings owner Zygi Wilf. Surely, he thought, that would convince Wilf to adopt Led Zeppelin's tune for the kickoff song.
"I got the standard, no solicitation letter when I got it returned back to me," Saur says. "And I haven't given up yet."
Saur's got a bit of Vikings blood in him, with grandparents from Finland and Norway. He wasn't going down without a fight. So it's on to the web, Saur's vikingskickoff.com site, where he's mounting a public relations campaign and gathering names on an online petition.
He's gotten some attention. There have been articles in the Duluth News Tribune and the St. Paul Pioneer Press. One day he was a contacted by a reporter from Sports Illustrated magazine.
"I got an email on my website, and it's yes, 'Well, would you mind if we called you, asked you a few questions?' Saur says. "'Sure that'd be great.' So later on that afternoon he called me and interviewed me for five, 10 minutes, and says 'OK, look for this in the upcoming issue of Sports Illustrated.'"
There in the October 16th Sports Illustrated was one paragraph about Andy Saur and his quest, on the same page as sports names like Terrell Owens and Donovan McNabb.
Again, Saur was hopeful. Surely the Vikings would change the song now.
Not according to Brian Harper in the Minnesota Vikings marketing department. Apparently, "Welcome to the Jungle" is something of an institution.
"You know, we don't really look at it as what song are we playing as much as the sound bite itself," Harper says. "And that beginning to "Welcome to the Jungle" is very recognizable to Vikings fans."
Harper says the tune get fans fired up, out of their seats, and cheering. Change the song, he says, and you have to retrain the fans, A "significant learning curve" Harper calls it.
And the words about Vikings or jungles aren't important anyway, he says, because the song stops before the words ever start, just before the kicker nails the football.
Still, Harper's impressed with Andy Saur's tenacity, and his support for the Vikings football team. You never know.
"Well, nothing's impossible, that's for sure," Harper says. "When we get into the off-season we'll discuss all the different things that are out there that, you know, that we want to talk about. And music is always one of them."
Meanwhile, Saur's got more than 500 names on his petition. And he's thinking of taking his idea and his petition to the Vikings door - right there among the tailgaters partying outside the Metrodome some Sunday afternoon.
- Morning Edition, 11/10/2006, 7:55 a.m.