by Ryan Stanzel || AHL On The Beat Archive
It’s often said that the only occupation an athlete would rather have is a rock star, and vice versa. Well, the same can perhaps be said for a hockey equipment manager.
Houston Aeros equipment guru Rick Bronwell has teamed with rookie forward Ben Thomson to form Hold the Mayo, a two-man band that has released a nine-track CD entitled Songs from the Jar.
Proceeds from the CD benefit Houston Aeros Charities.
Bronwell began playing the guitar eight years ago while working for the International Hockey League’s Kansas City Blades.
“I was the assistant there,” Bronwell explained. “I’d do the laundry after the games, and that lasted until 2 a.m. I was bored watching TV and watching the dryer spin. So I got a guitar and an amplifier. I just started playing. It’s all self taught. I’m not really good by any means, but I keep rhythm and play chords.”
The CD planning began before Christmas, when Bronwell mentioned in his on-line blog that he and Thomson had been jamming with their guitars and writing some tunes. Bronwell was not expecting much to come of it, until he got a call from the Aeros Charities Department.
Before he knew it, Hold the Mayo had two recording sessions set up at Hightower High School, which boasts a state-of-the-art audio and video editing program. In exchange for the time in the studio, the students now have a CD for their resume. Video footage was also taken for a DVD.
The band name comes from the inspiration of former Aero Seamus Kotyk. “Have you ever had a sandwich without mayo?” Bronwell asked. “Well, it’s not very good. We’re not very good.”
Hold the Mayo’s fans beg to differ. The band has a MySpace page, and a gig at The Maple Leaf Pub, a local hockey hangout, in March. Two television stations have recorded extensive interviews with the duo.
All tracks are written by either Bronwell or Thomson, or both. Songs include the title track Songs from the Jar, an autobiographical tune about “no-talent all-stars.” Next comes Mexico, written by Thomson and a college teammate at the University of Alberta. “It’s 30 below and I ain’t got no dough,” writes Thomson in a song about the happenings in the Golden Bears’ hockey house.
Smelly Love Song was written by Bronwell and recorded on Valentine’s Day. Bucee’s, It’s a Beaver is a tribute to the popular I-10 rest stop between Houston and San Antonio. One jam session produced Rap Mamma Jamma Jam, a rap song with a country beat that includes tributes to The Fresh Prince, Cypress Hill and Coolio.
Bronwell and Thomson combined to write Carbo Load, which provides the unforgettable line “I’m not Polish, but I like kolaches.” (Kolaches are a popular breakfast treat in South Texas.)
The final song is called All Over, written by Thomson after he enrolled at the University of Alberta. Older than his teammates after six seasons of junior hockey at Medicine Hat, fellow Golden Bears joked that Thomson once played with Lanny McDonald, who captained Medicine Hat from 1971-73 before a prestigious 15-season career in the NHL.
CD’s are $10 at all Aeros home games and $12.95 on the Aeros website, including shipping and handling. Proceeds go to the Aeros Charities Tickets for Kids program – every $7 sends a child to an Aeros game.