Wanna Bees to play at ‘Song of Toledo’ acoustic concert May 20Written by Julie Ryan | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: Toledo Free Press and FOX Toledo are profiling, in random order, the top five vote-getters in the “Song of Toledo” contest. The winner will be revealed May 20.
Songwriter Chuck Riepenhoff heard about the Song of Toledo contest when FOX Toledo and Toledo Free Press announced it in March. He was already a part of The Wanna Bees, a children’s entertainment music group, and thought the Song of Toledo contest sounded too fun to pass up.
“I thought, ‘Hey, let’s give this a shot,’ ” he said. “I have a group of guys with this Wanna Bees project, and we were getting together every couple of weeks to write songs and record songs for that project.”
The band will join the other top five contestents — Empire Drift, Kyle White, Purpose and Highbinders, plus People’s Choice Award winner Buck 69 — at an acoustic concert, 3 p.m. May 20 at the Downtown Main Branch of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library. The bands will play their contest entries, and the contest winner will be revealed.
The four members of The Wanna Bees, Mike Hayden, Brad Bury, Tom Pokornik and Riepenhoff, meet every other Thursday in Toledo to record music. Kurt Hattendorf helped with their contest entry, “You’re In Toledo, Baby!”
“I literally wrote down and made a list of all the Toledo landmarks off the top of my head and crossed them off until I incorporated them into the song,” Riepenhoff said. The list included more than 20 landmarks.
“I have a 2-year-old daughter, so the zoo is big for me,” Hayden said. “We try to go to the art museum and we try to go there — it’s one of the jewels of the city.”
Riepenhoff said he began writing, “You’re In Toledo, Baby!” with the chorus first, focusing on making it catchy and energetic — since The Wanna Bees, after all, is a project for kids.
“Typically, there’s not a lot of people who talk upbeat about the city,” Hayden said. “So we wanted to make it upbeat and not a ballad or something slow.”
Riepenhoff said the song came together during their second recording session.
“When you have the four guys hovering around the microphone and yelling ‘Oh your in Toledo Baby,’ it was a lot of fun and we were all laughing and having fun with that,” Riepenhoff said. “And then when you hear that on tape, you realize ‘Oh, this is pretty cool.’ By the end of the night, we were pretty proud of the song and felt that we had a chance in this contest.”
However, their recording process hit a minor hitch when Riepenhoff went to the studio to record the second verse.
“I didn’t realize I hadn’t written full lyrics for the second verse yet,” he said. “It was just like, ‘Oops.’ I started singing and I didn’t quite write that yet, just a piece of paper with ‘Jeep’ here and ‘Jamie Farr’ there. So, that was a group effort. We all had our list of Toledo trademarks that worked to incorporate into the song, so together we worked to write the second song.”
After 10 hours of recording, Hayden said he mastered and produced the song in his home studio. Riepenhoff turned in the contest entry just before deadline.
“Our intent was to write a commercial for the city of Toledo,” Riepenhoff said. “We wanted to write a song that you could listen to but at the same time visualize all the cool things that Toledo has to offer. I could totally see a video going right behind the song with The Wanna Bees hopping on a TARTA bus on a quest to get to a Mud Hens game Downtown.”
The Wanna Bees plan to release a CD, “Work Together,” this year. Follow the band at www.myspace.com/whatuwannabee.