Brian McAndrew channels the spirit of Prefontaine in post-Supwitchugirl return to music
From one of the creators of "I Love my Ducks" comes a song about a kid from Coos Bay.
I wake up when the world’s not moving.
All I need is my shoes, my music.
I’m running out of all of my excuses.
The gun is drawn, I tell them let’s do it.
I’m running like Prefontaine.
Brian McAndrew is in his 30s. He’s got a full-time job, a wife, kids and a resume that will always be highlighted by a few music videos he made as a spunky 20-something who really loved his Ducks.
“If I’m being completely honest, It’s weird having your biggest success so far behind you,” McAndrew said. “I don’t want it to be. Nobody wants to peak in college the same way nobody wants to peak in high school. So, I mean, there is sort of this thing looming over us. I don’t know if the other guys feel that a little bit”
To be fair to McAndrew, if you went to Oregon in 2009 and you were a part of “Supwitchugirl,” your biggest success would likely be behind you, too.
McAndrew’s past is a time capsule. The two music videos he, Jamie Slade and Michael Bishop made for what began as a class project are as engrained in that era of Oregon as Chip Kelly, sub-minute touchdown drives and chrome helmets. The three college kids captured the blur in a bottle — twice — and the millions of views “I love my Ducks” and “Return of the Quack” garnered had the trio performing before the Rose Bowl, national championship game and later traveling the world.
Then they grew up.
McAndrew’s a video editor for a nutrition company and edits commercials and music videos on the side. It’s a good life, but one that’s kept him at an arm’s length away from his creative goal of directing.
Lately, he’s been able to scratch that itch with a return to creating music.
“Music is cool because you can do it as a self-contained creator,” he said. “It’s like writing — you can do it as one person. Film making, you have to be plugged in. You have to have a team. It’s a group project.
“But the thing about getting back into music is it’s so hard to get people interested. That’s the thing, like all of this other stuff that we did nobody cared about unless it was the Ducks.”
It’s true. While creative masterpieces, other Supwitchugirl songs like “Look at that Dunk,” “Pogs,” and “Eggsplosion” didn’t exactly cater to the same audience as their hits.
And that’s had McAndrew thinking a lot about Steve Prefontaine.
See, McAndrew is trying to put out a new Oregon-related song1 every two weeks, a project that’s “sort of six degrees of separation from ‘I Love my Ducks’ and Supwitchugirl.” Last week he began with “Prefontaine,” a synthy and whimsical song that’s meant to capture the spirit of the legendary Oregon runner.
Both grew up in Oregon’s Bay Area, Prefontaine in Coos Bay and McAndrew in its next-door neighbor, North Bend. McAndrew remembers posters with the iconic runner’s mustache and quotes in every elementary school classroom — some real and some that seemed more in the spirit of Prefontaine.
“I had this song about the universal sentiment of waking up early to run and fitness is this universal thing of like, yeah, you’re running, but you’re just wanting to improve,” McAndrew said. “I was on a run and I just started singing the main hook with the chords and I knew it was kind of catchy. And if you’re going to make a song about running like someone, it’s pretty obvious you’re going to say you’re running like Prefontaine. He was this figure growing up in North Bend, this patron saint of gritty work ethic. So I just attached his name and that helped the song develop.”
McAndrew sometimes wonders what would have happened had Supwitchugirl come along at a different time. They went viral right around the time that going viral first became a thing. YouTube paved the way for the rise of “I love my Ducks” but there wasn’t much of a blueprint to make a career out of making internet videos yet.
Maybe they could have hung around for a bit.
“Then again, nothing negative ever came out of it in terms of our friendship and how we feel about the whole experience,” he said. “We never had any disagreements or fights. Like, what if we became YouTubers and we eventually had a weird falling out? It was literally all positive.”
He’s viewing his return to making music the same way.
“Music has always been the one thing where I lose track of time,” he said. “It’s like the one thing that’s just for fun.”
— Tyson Alger
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Next up is a banger about Christmas Valley, Oregon.