A song performed by over 60 artists from over 27 bands, SOS 2020 is a call for help in the middle of a pandemic as well as an anthem of hope across the music community of Pittsburgh.
Even with the approval of the Save Our Stages Act, there is an immediate need for funds for Pittsburgh’s venues as has been seen with the closure of The Rex Theatre from the coronavirus pandemic. When it comes to raising money to help local venues, a bunch of local artists and members of the music scene have joined hands in helping to create a song project for donations.
Written by Eric Rodger of the band Royal Honey, SOS 2020 will be released for purchases on Jan. 8. The song not only brings acknowledgment to the struggling music scene but also raises money for local venues with every song purchase.
SOS 2020 features artists from bands like Rusted Root, The Granati Brothers, A Common Crown, and the Legendary Hucklebucks. It even has music tracks from Dave Granati, Hermie Granati, Vinnie Q, Mike Ekis, Dave Musick, and guitar solos from Jim Dofka, Dave Buzard, and Keith Nelson from Buckcherry.
Besides bringing together just artists, the song is produced by Anthony (Rocky) Lamonde from The Borstal Boys, recorded and mixed by Bob McCutcheon at The Vault Recording Studio, video shot and edited by Alexis Salinas from Alexis Art X Design, and website designed by Bill Domiano from Build the Scene.
The inspiration came about whenever Rodger really had a look around him at what was happening to Pittsburgh’s music scene due to coronavirus. He got this cheesy lyric and melody in his head about how 2020 contained the letters “SOS” and he ran with it.
“When The Rex Theatre closed, it really hit us hard because our singer worked there,” said Rodger. “We had already lost several venues due to Covid-19, so this was disheartening. So instead of rewriting the tune for the Royal Honey catalog, I asked my band if they’d want to make it a benefit song to try to help local venues. They said yes immediately.”
For Rodger, what started as a cheesy melody in his head, turned into a bunch of big ideas for different ways to not only help benefit venues but also remind people why we need music most in this time. It’s something he’s able to take pride in and show how so many people care about what’s happening.
“The amount of talent that is on this recording – it’s hard to even imagine,” said Rodgers. I’m extremely proud of what we’ve done here. It’s not just me and Rocky either. Bob donated full weekends of studio time to this project, Alexis took probably 50 hours of video of the recording sessions, Bill did our website, Jenni Schlieper at Flying Scooter Productions did all of our press and promotion, and Robbie Perrone at Endeavor After LLC is handling our merch. All of these people contributed their time to helping our struggling scene. We want the venues, promoters, and support staff to know that the bands stand together with them.”
“SOS 2020” is written from the perspective of not only bands but also the venues, promoters, sound engineers, and supporting staff. Rodger envisioned what everyone was feeling at the time, not just himself but taking the whole scene into consideration.
“Honestly, the lyrics just kind of came to me,” said Rodger. “The chorus is written from the perspective of the venues and music staff. These places were the first to close and will be the last to reopen. The verses are written from the bands’ perspective. I wrote the first verse about my band being stuck inside on a Friday night, on a Zoom meeting with our friends and fans, instead of being out playing for them. That morphed into us asking, even when this all ends, will there be anywhere left to play?”
Anyone looking to support local venues can either buy the song once it’s released or visit www.sos2020pgh.org/ for other ways to help and donate.