“Ten rows from the end zone you can find me ... local box section 1, row K, seats 7, 8, 9 ...”
That’s exactly where Dave Canales, a Pacifica resident who wrote “Die-Hard,” a song from the album Voice of Reason that’s dedicated to the San Francsico 49ers, thinks the Niners marketing manager found him.
“They heard the lines in the song, got my phone number from my ticket holder information, called me, and before I knew it, the 49ers are requesting my song to be debuted on the Jumbotron during the 2013 Divisional Playoffs at Candlestick,” said Canales, 28, who’s been a season ticket holder since he graduated from high school in San Francisco. At that game, they also gave Canales free field passes 10 minutes before kick off.
“I’ve actually been a 49er fan my whole life, and I never thought I'd ever be on the field,” he said. “I wrote the song as a real fan. I’m just an average guy who loves his team. I also never thought the song would get so much attention.”
But it has. After publishing a music video of “Die-Hard” on YouTube that received 5,000 views the first day it was posted on Jan. 9, 2013, just days before the Green Bay Packers game, San Francisco radio station 94.9 FM picked up the song, and then someone from the 49ers heard it.
“That’s when they called me,” said Canales, who actually wrote the song last year inspired by an instrumental piece performed by his uncle, musician Swampkat. “I even had someone recently stop me at Tanforan to take pictures and sign singles of the CD. I was just there to buy a T-shirt. I’m surprised, blessed and humbled by this experience.”
Canales says he is also receiving tweets from fans as far away as Australia, New York and Southern California.
“Who knew there were 49er fans outside of the country,” he said. “Fans are coming out of the woodwork. But that’s exactly what I was hoping for, that this song would connect a lot of true Niner diehards like myself to our team.”
Canales, who goes by “Heat” in the music industry, describes himself as a self-taught musician, a lyricist, writer and youth educator that uses his talents and voice to provide guidance and understanding to an audience often forgotten in today's hip hop world. He was born and raised in San Francisco's Sunset District and moved to Pacifica in 2004, currently living in the Linda Mar area.
“Music is my hobby,” he said. “My uncle’s piece just all of a sudden seemed like the prefect platform to do the song I've had in my head for so many years so I put the lyrics over it,” he said.
Canales wrote the song in an hour after watching the game against the Detroit Lions after the “handshake" scandal between Head Coaches Jim Schwartz and Jim Harbaugh.
“It came naturally," he said. "Maybe it was just the right time, the way the music felt, I could see people getting amped for this. I didn’t want to rap to people; I just wanted to talk to them. Tell them I know how it is to have an affinity for our team no matter if they win, lose or tie. I’m a lifelong fan, and that’s why I wrote this for all those fans like me, I know what you're going through, how we stuck through it over the years. This is when it all pays off when we see our team finally go to the Super Bowl.”
It was last October that Canales decided to make the music video, directed by Nina Parks and produced by Swampkat.
“We shot it during week five at a home game against the Buffalo Bills,” said Canales. In the video, Canales says he made sure to show respect to all 49er fans, young and old from Kezar Stadium, former home of the San Francisco 49ers, to present day ticket holders and those who watch the game at the iconic 7 Mile House bar on Bayshore Boulevard near Candlestick.
“Not every fan has season tickets,” he said. “I wanted to do something to make them feel appreciated as fans as well. We’re all in this together. I tipped my hat off to all fans in the video."
The result is a jam packed video of classic Niner footage set to Canales' anthem that will get pumped fans even more pumped for Sunday’s game.
Canales knows he’s not the first to write an anthem. “And I won’t be the last,” he said. “I’m just a guy from the Bay Area that likes my team. This was my way with my talent, a knack for words, rhyming, music, and creative writing, to show that.”
When Canales is not at a 49ers game, he’s at Skyline College pursuing a degree in psychology. He will transfer to San Francisco State in the fall. He also has a job. He works for Edgewood Center for Children and Families, which outsources him to Paul Revere Elementary School in Bernal Heights to help instill positive social skills for children with behavior issues in the classroom.
Canales says all wants to do on Super Bowl Sunday is to watch the game with his two younger brothers, fiancée, some friends and maybe his dad at a friend’s house in the Western Addition.
“Keep myself grounded,” he said. “I always watch the Super Bowl with my family and friends so that’s what I’ll do to watch the Niners win this one.”
Canales remembers a few of the five Super Bowls that the San Francisco 49ers have won over the years. He credits his dad for taking him to the games at an early age in the 1980s and making him into the 49er fan that he is today.
“I was born in 49ers blankets. It’s my dad’s fault I’m such a fan,” he said. “My dad raised me to be fan. I’ve been going to games since I was three years old. I’m going to be that 80-year-old man sitting in that seat. And if I have kids one day, I’ll raise them around the 49ers, too.”
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