Happy New Year, J-dubbers! The hockey song for today is Propagandhi’s 2009 punk-rock scorcher “Dear Coach’s Corner.”
“Dear Coach’s Corner” features the anarcho-leftist combo’s trademark combination of tight, thrashy, brain-melting guitar riffs, dramatic dynamic shifts, and withering lyrical polemics. It’s terrific.
It’s an epistle to Hockey Night in Canada host Ron MacLean, Don Cherry’s foil (and “the reasonable one”) on Coach’s Corner for Cherry’s entire run on the segment. Over the course of more than 30 years, the Hockey Night audience got to watch Grapes’ decline from charmingly unpolished analyst to full-time right-wing crank, a culture warrior as tireless as he was tiresome, until he was finally canned in 2019 for disparaging immigrants.
In “Dear Coach’s Corner,” Propagandhi frontman Chris Hannah takes on Cherry’s – and hockey’s – weird fascination with military displays. It’s a “cult of death”, he sneers, which if it was “not so insane / would be grounds for screaming laughter.” In the dozen years since the song came out, how many more developments in the culture have merited the same assesment? The song is great.
Aspiring musicians should study Hannah’s detailed instructional video on playing the opening solo: