FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Moments after the New England Revolution’s 2-2 draw with D.C. United on April 22, an unfamiliar song rang through the sound system at Gillette Stadium.
Relentlessly upbeat and breathlessly energetic, it’s a tune that was hard to miss.
ONE New England!
ONE New England!
Revolution we all scream!
ONE New England!
ONE New England!
Revolution is our team!
What fans were hearing for the first time was “ONE New England,” a song written and performed by David McWane, best known as the lead singer of Boston-based band Big D and the Kids Table, who’ve been a staple on the ska punk scene since forming at the Berklee College of Music in 1996.
McWane’s relationship with the Revolution began last year, when Matt Puglise – president of the Revolution supporters’ group The Rebellion – met the musician at one of his shows. Their conversation naturally gravitated towards the Revs, and the possibility of recording a club-specific chant or song.
It didn’t take much to convince McWane, who was drawn to the passionate supporters’ culture. With the help of both The Rebellion and fellow supporters’ group The Midnight Riders, McWane and the rest of Big D and the Kids Table recorded a series of songs designed to double as chants.
Soon thereafter, McWane was a guest of the Revolution at their 2016 finale at Gillette Stadium, where he found himself in a conversation with the Revolution’s Vice President of Marketing, Cathal Conlon.
Much of that conversation revolved around McWane’s collaboration with the supporters, and the possibility of taking the next step by writing and recording an official anthem for the club.
McWane was sold on the idea, but Conlon knew the process required a delicate balance.
“You’re always wary of taking something the supporters did and trying to attach it to yourself – I was a little bit wary of that piece of it,” Conlon said. “But we got to talking and he likes the culture around the sport and he likes the guys he’d spent some time with, so he was interested in trying to find a way to make it happen.”
Conlon’s idea was to have McWane write and record a new song unique to the club, but with many of the elements of the song “Trouble is Coming Your Way,” initially recorded with supporters last year. The concept was to meld together the supporters’ efforts with the club’s identity.
And thus, “ONE New England” was born.
“We wanted to keep it similar so the supporters still had that ownership to it, but we didn’t just want to take that song (‘Trouble is Coming Your Way’) and start using it,” said Conlon, “which is why we tried to weave the ONE New England piece into it from the club.
“Keeping the Revolution chant piece to it worked really well. Thankfully the supporters came and did the chanting for the recording again, which was great.”
The song itself boasts a distinctly New England vibe – bagpipes provide something of a Celtic feel – and the pace of the music was designed to match the energy of the supporters’ section. The lyrics, meanwhile, capture the dedication of those who fill The Fort each and every match day.
“Our supporters have this pride in how passionate they are for the club anyway, through thick and thin,” Conlon said. “[McWane] carries that, he weaves it through the verses; singing with all your heart and singing with all your pride.
“I think it speaks to the experience in The Fort. I think it speaks to what they try to bring every game, which is cool.”
So inspired by supporter culture was McWane that not only did he produce a Revolution anthem, he also developed a chant incorporating the ONE New England theme. Modeled after the iconic “Viking Thunderclap” made popular by Iceland at the 2016 European Championships, it’s a booming call-and-response between the capo and supporters.
Like the “ONE New England” anthem, it debuted during the Revs’ 2-2 draw with D.C. United.
“It was kind of cool to hear it for the first time,” Conlon said. “We’ve weaved the chant piece into our advertising already. Our TV commercial is really just the chant with some imagery laced over the top of it. It’s pretty cool.”
As for the song, Conlon’s hope is that it becomes a postgame staple after home victories – perhaps with McWane eventually performing it live at a game – but there’s a keen understanding that the supporters must be allowed to embrace the song on their own terms.
“I’m not going to go to the supporters and say, ‘Okay, now this is your anthem.’ That’s not what you want to do,” Conlon said. “But the fact that the Riders and Rebels were in the recordings, it’s their voices on the tracks, that’s what I think makes it a little different than a corporate suit somewhere deciding that this is now your club anthem.
“It’s been well-received so far and we haven’t really gotten to use it in its proper context yet. Hopefully on May 13 (when the Revs host Real Salt Lake), we win at home and at the final whistle, we can play the song and start from there.”