Based in Byron Bay and with only a passing interest in the AFL, Angus took up the challenge of composing a song for GWS that played by the rules of the genre – rather than the guitar and synth-based abominations other expansion teams like West Coast, Fremantle and Gold Coast came up with.
The result, There’s a Big, Big Sound, has won rave reviews from neutral fans – to some ears, it’s second only to Richmond’s seminal theme song We’re From Tigerland, widely accepted as the top of the pops.
It sounds like it was put together 100 years ago and yet it’s entirely original, unlike some other efforts which have been lifted from decades-old show tunes, American college football songs and even foreign national anthems.
“I’m just happy the song has been accepted as a legit club song,” Angus said.
“It’s such a weird thing, in a way, to be a trumpet player, to be interested in old-fashioned music, and then suddenly find that some music you’ve made enter into the mainstream of Australian culture in a way that I’ll probably never do with my actual hit songs from my band, if I ever have one again.
“I love that I just kind of wrote it and handballed it to the club and that’s it. It’s their song now. But all these people get to hear my music who probably wouldn’t have otherwise.
“How awesome would it be to hear it sung after a grand final?”
Club songs are important cultural artefacts in the AFL, to the point that their lyrics can become deeply significant mantras.
The Tigers have ‘Yellow and Black’ – the Giants have ‘Never Surrender’, which also works as a hashtag, membership slogan and as a guiding principle for the brash, bold expansion club.
“I can’t take credit for that – that’s Winston Churchill,” Angus said.
“The song was a team effort, really. I took it to the original group of players and coaching staff way back before the team started playing, they gave me some feedback and one of the things they said was we want something like Richmond’s ‘Yellow and Black’ – something all the supporters can yell out.
“It’s the challenge for any of those expansion teams have faced – presenting themselves as a legitimate club with history. I feel like doing the song in the right way and giving a nod to the musical tradition of the big songs (helps) … there is a tradition there that you can pay respect to.”
Vince is a sports reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.