In pursuit of the ‘Grude’
Benton-based Razorback fans gain overnight, viral video fame with original song, “Hey Grude.”
Caleb Conrad, Will Richey and Tyler Davis are a trio of Benton-based Razorback fans interested in seeing former NFL head coach and current Monday Night Football color man Jon Gruden take over the Arkansas program. They can also sing, and quite well at that. To that end, they made a video serenade directed at the coach to the tune of The Beatles’ “Hey Jude,” which hit the Internet and went viral last week netting more than 168,000 views in seven days.
Q: So, tell me about “Hey Grude.” How’d it come about? I mean, did you pick the tune and then hammer out lyrics? Who wrote them, and who picked The Beatles? Carly Rae Jepsen seems so much more flavor of the month.
Caleb: It was a totally random and spur of the moment thing. We were all at Tyler’s house practicing for an upcoming recording we’ll be doing together when we started to talk about the next Arkansas Razorback head coach.
Tyler: So, as a joke we started throwing out songs that we could make into something to do with Jon Gruden, like “Oh Gruden” out of Barry Manilow’s famous song “Mandy.” Out of the blue I sang “Hey Grude” to The Beatles tune. As soon as I did, we all knew that was a song worth writing.
Will: Yeah, there were never plans to write a YouTube hit. The song took about an hour to write, then we filmed a one take video that ended up everywhere the next morning. I think “Hey Jude” was a good choice because it is one of the most popular songs of all time, and appeals to all ages.
Q: I think, after the ULM loss, we all saw (or heard about) the lady with the taped nose and Hog hat doing “United We Stand” — Liz “Liz Honey” McDaniel. Were you guys influenced by that at all, at least in the idea? Or do you even know what I’m talking about?
Tyler: We actually performed with Liz Honey at the NW Razorback Club tailgate before the LSU game. She was super nice, and was a lot older than I had expected. I was the only one of us three that had seen the video before making “Hey Grude,” and it never crossed my mind as we made it.
Caleb: I looked up her video after seeing the second blog compare our video to hers. I had never heard of it. I think that the videos are very different, even though they’re both parodies. Her views hinge on her funny hog head and taped up nose. I think our video can be seen as musical, with clever lyrics and solid harmonies.
Will: Like Caleb, I had never seen the video, but it was cool meeting a YouTube celebrity.
Q: You guys harmonize amazingly well in this and other videos on your YouTube channel (TylerJDavis1993), so I’m guessing you’ve sung or performed together before. Tell me about that. You all know each other from church choir? School? Where did you start singing together?
Will: I’ve known Tyler since the third grade, and our families have been very close since then. We grew up as not only best friends, but also performing partners. We were always singing at school talent shows and church events together.
Caleb: I had always been a solo singer until I met these guys during my junior year of high school. We started hanging out watching football, and singing came soon after.
Q: Along those lines, do have written arrangements or do you guys just harmonize naturally by ear?
Tyler: Will and I have always naturally heard harmonies. That’s why you’ll see Caleb singing lead most of the time. I am better at hearing lower harmonies and Will is an expert at the higher harmonies. We feed off each other well, and most of what we do is improvised and memorized.
Q: It seems there’s no going back now, but I gotta ask about Bobby Petrino. Had to go or should have been kept?
Caleb: We all agree that Bobby simply couldn’t have been kept. He not only hired his mistress for a job she wasn’t qualified for, but he also lied to his boss. Jeff Long had no choice. Bobby had to go.
Q: I’d guess Gruden is at the top of your list for a new coach. But would you take a Gary Patterson or Butch Davis? Or is it Gruden or bust?
Tyler: A good hire is a good hire. I think that Gary Patterson and Chris Petersen would be good hires. However, anything less than very good is unacceptable at this time. It’s crucial to hire a good coach.
Will: Arkansas needs a big name to take over. This hire could make or break this program, and the effects of this hire will be felt for years. We need a guy that can compete with Nick Saban for the top recruits here in the south, and a guy that will give the Hogs national attention.
Caleb: Like any Razorback fan, I just want to win. Isn’t that all we want? This season has been incredibly painful for those of us that love the Hogs. I just think Jon Gruden could come win games, and also build a foundation for a successful program even after he leaves. Whoever it is... just win.
Q: You posted “Hey Grude” on Nov. 18. By the next day it was getting talked about on TV, played on the radio and mentioned on national blogs. What’s that been like for you guys? Friends and family calling? Media? What’s been the most unexpected thing to happen since you went viral?
Caleb: We never dreamed it would go viral. When we wrote and filmed it, there were no goals we wanted to reach, and we never intended for the video to make a legit difference in the coaching search. We have made more of a difference than we ever thought we would!
Tyler: I tweeted the link to our video to some of the local sports guys, with radio shows and things like that. They started to retweet the link, and then some of their followers would retweet it, and it kept going on and on. My phone was blowing up with Twitter notifications. This resulted in people from all over Arkansas seeing the video and sharing it.
Will: Tyler and I both got calls from reporters within 24 hours, not to mention the news stations reaching out to us via Twitter. We’ve been featured on KARK, THV, 103.7 the Buzz, the Tim Brando Show, CBS Sports, USA Today, and the list goes on and on. It’s been so unexpected, making it even crazier.
Q: Lastly, and probably most importantly, have you heard from Grude himself? And, if so, did he say he’d take the job?
Caleb: We’ve had no personal contact with Gruden, but that’s to be expected when no word has been finalized about the next coach.
Tyler: The morning show guys on 103.7 are close with John Daly who is a good friend of Gruden’s. It’s rumored that Daly sent the video to the Grude, but no official word.
Will: I honestly don’t know how he could have missed it. It’s everywhere! I hope he got a kick out of it. I also hope he takes the job.