Buy a #BoobProject running tee...everyone wants one! All money from sales goes to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation
Story of the #BoobProject:
The Boob Project is a collaborative charity song featuring Florence + the Machine, Noel Gallagher, Hozier, Michael Franti, Vance Joy, Matt Nathanson, Spandau Ballet, Graham Nash (CSNY), the Grateful Dead, Bleachers, Elle King and many, many more. It will be released October 1st to raise money for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
The lyrics were written by the eight-year-old son of Mike “No Name” Nelson, a KFOG in the Morning DJ whose wife is currently battling breast cancer. The story of how the song came to be is VERY sweet and endearing…
The Boob Project: “Boob Spelled Backwards Is Boob” is an ongoing musical collaboration started by Renee, Mike “No Name” Nelson, and Irish Greg on KFOG In The Morning. The words for the song were written by Mike’s eight-year-old son regarding his mom’s ongoing battle with breast cancer.
Looking for a creative way to involve various musical guests in a year-long project, Irish Greg hit upon an idea after No Name told a story about his son. The boy had shoved a piece of CD-shaped paper into a CD player with the words “Boob Spelled Backwards Is Boob” written on it. No Name asked why he did it and was told by his son that he had a song stuck in his head called “Boob Spelled Backwards Is Boob” and wanted to hear what it sounded like.
That sparked the idea that the show would then ask all musical guests that visited the station in 2015 to help get the lyrics out of the kid’s head and make a proper song. Given that No Name’s wife is still battling breast cancer, it was decided that when the song was completed it would be sold to benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, coinciding with Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October. The charity songs “Do They Know It’s Christmas” and “We Are The World” were to provide the template of different artists contributing some vocals and instrumentation that in the end would become a single cohesive song.
The next step was to have No Name’s son write down some lyrics which he did on Monday, January 19th.
The lyrics were a bunch of thoughts scribbled down by the young boy and then put into order by the KFOG in the Morning crew:
I’m imagine that I’m floating on a gentle river
I’m moving fast down a waterfall, and I’m falling, falling to my end
Never forget the good things in life…candy, life, eating, having fun…because the end all that matters, all that matters is you
I am dreaming that I am a leaf on a tree, I’m swaying all around in the breeze
But then a crow jumps out and I fall…and I get covered in weeds
But never forget the good things in life…like candy, life, eating, having fun…because the end all that matters, all that matters is you…yes you
Boob spelled backwards is boob
I am wonderin’ why I am here in this garden
But when someone comes out to water me
I’m feeling energized just like the sun
The sun is shining down on me
Never forget the good things in life…like candy, life, eating, having fun…because the end all that matters, all that matters is you…is you…is you…is you
Boob spelled backwards is boob
Musician Michael Franti visited the show the following day and was the first contributor.
Franti performed live that day and afterwards recorded a guitar track that would become the basis of “Boob Spelled Backwards Is Boob.” He also sang some of the boy’s lyrics but those were accidentally deleted by Irish Greg!
Here’s Michael’s guitar track:
It was decided that whenever a new contribution was made to the project, the updated version of the song would be played on KFOG in the Morning to keep listeners engaged in the project throughout the year.
On Friday, January 23rd, Spandau Ballet visited the KFOG Playspace to perform an acoustic set for some Fogheads. After their sound-check, Irish Greg approached singer Tony Hadley and saxophonist Steve Norman and asked if they’d contribute. They were both moved by the back story and instantly agreed to take part. Hadley mentioned that ironically, he had sung the first line of “Do They Know It’s Christmas.” Hadley sang the first verse of “Boob Spelled Backwards is Boob.” Norman contributed a sax solo. Here’s the vocal track:
On Tuesday, January 27th, Chuck Prophet and Stephanie Finch performed live on KFOG in the Morning and afterwards contributed additional guitar (Prophet) and keyboards (Finch).
On Friday, February 5th, Renee contacted local singer-songwriter Megan Slankard and asked if she could help arrange the song and write a melody for the chorus that would be the basis of the song going forward. Megan added some length to the tune and arranged the verses and choruses while also providing vocal guide tracks and harmonies.
Here’s what it sounded like:
Megan Slankard’s contributions to the Boob Project cannot be overstated. In addition to providing a melody for the chorus, she has done all the arranging, mixing and editing.
On Monday, February 9th, Graham Nash of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young was at KFOG to talk about an exhibit of his photos at a winery in Napa. While at the station, Irish Greg convinced him to contribute this harmony to the chorus:
On Wednesday, February 18th, the project got a write-up on the website for RTE News, Ireland’s national broadcaster. Read it here.
On Thursday, February 19th, the Evening Herald newspaper in Ireland wrote a piece on the Boob Project and laid down the gauntlet to get Bono involved! Read it here.
The band ALO (Animal Liberation Orchestra) visited the KFOG Playspace on Friday, February 27th for an acoustic show and afterwards contributed harmonies and hand claps.
Using ALO’s contribution, Megan put together a slightly different mix of the song with an acapella ending.
On Wednesday, March 11th, Jack Antonoff from Fun. and his new band Bleachers stopped by the KFOG studios to record a song for KFOG in the Morning. They were also more than happy to contribute to the Boob Project.
Here’s the latest mix of the song as of March 18th:
On Monday, March 23rd, Megan and Rebecca from the band Larkin Poe stopped by. They provided lap-steel guitar, mandolin and these harmonies to the Boob Project:
On Wednesday, April 8th, Florence + the Machine were in San Francisco to play two shows at the Masonic in San Francisco. That afternoon, lead singer Florence Welch stopped by KFOG for an interview and she was more than happy to contribute to the song. She was so taken by the lyrics that she insisted on singing the whole second verse:
Getting Florence Welch on board was a big boost to the project and just a little over one week later, we learned that none other than Hozier was more than willing to sing the chorus of the song. With “Take Me To Church” one of the biggest songs of last year, to add the Irishman’s name to the contributors was HUGE. On Thursday, April 16th, Irish Greg went to the Masonic to record Hozier before his sound-check. This was the first time we recorded remotely and it went really well:
On Monday, April 27th, Megan sent over another rough mix, this time the song was updated to include Florence Welch on the second verse and Hozier in the chorus:
On Friday, May 1st, Steve Earle was in town for a show at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. He stopped by KFOG that morning to perform live and contributed to the pre-chorus of the song:
On Tuesday, May 12th, Elle King was in town to perform at the Independent. She stopped by KFOG in the Morning earlier that day and performed live. We told her about the Boob Project and she was really moved by the story. She sang the pre-chorus beautifully:
With the Grateful Dead getting back together to perform for a few final shows in the summer, we thought it would be cool to get at least one member of the band involved with the Boob Project. Having established a relationship with Grahame Lesh, son of Dead bassist Phil Lesh, we asked him to see if he could convince his dad to play on the track. On Wednesday, May 13th, Phil Lesh recorded the following bass part:
With so many additions to the song in May, Megan got to work putting together another mix on May 14th, this time including Elle King and Phil Lesh.
On Monday, May 18th, Noel Gallagher was in San Francisco to play at the Warfield. The former Oasis guitarist hadn’t planned on contributing but after hearing the backstory about the Boob Project he was happy to play along:
ZZ Ward was in town for promotion duties ahead of the Bottlerock Napa Valley music festival. On Tuesday, May 26th, she stopped by KFOG to perform her single “Love 3X.” We told her about the Boob Project and she was happy to provide harmonies on the pre-chorus:
We were thrilled when Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead contributed a bass line back in mid-May and even more excited when Bill Kreutzmann played bongos on the song just a few weeks later:
On Monday, June 1st, following a show the night before at the Great American Music Hall, Jackie Greene dropped by KFOG to record songs. He sang some harmony and contributed this bit of guitar to the Boob Project:
In early June, Matt Nathanson recorded the third verse of the song. Here’s the raw vocal without music:
On Tuesday, June 23rd, Megan sent over the latest mix including ZZ Ward harmonies, Jackie Greene guitars and Matt Nathanson’s third verse:
Spandau Ballet, the second artist to appear on the Boob Project, had a show at the Mt. Winery in Saratoga on Friday, July 31st. Because they contributed vocals and their sax before we’d thought to make a video, we needed them to mime their parts after the fact. So Tony Hadley and Steve Norman once again stepped up and played along with the track:
On Monday, August 3rd, Stephan Jenkins of Third Eye Blind performed a Private Concert for Fogheads at Michael Romanowski Mastering in San Francisco. Upon hearing about the Boob Project, Jenkins added his voice, having had family members affected by breast cancer:
The Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival took place over the weekend of August 7-9 in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. Plenty of bands and artists showed their support for the Boob Project including (from L-R) George Ezra, Leon Bridges, Mumford and Sons and James Bay:
Clemens from Milky Chance even tried his hand at singing the chorus:
Vance Joy visited KFOG on Wednesday, August 12th, ahead of his show with Taylor Swift at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. Vance came by the station specifically to record for the Boob Project and spent an hour recording both ukulele and multiple versions of the pre-chorus vocal:
The original plan with the Boob Project was to have all recordings done by September 1st, giving us a month to do the final mix, mastering and complete the video ahead of the October 1st release date. On Thursday, August 3rd, Irish Greg and Megan started finalizing the mix. With so many artists contributing, there were more than 60 tracks to sift through. Up to this point we had used Bleachers’ electronic drums on the track but felt real drums would be better.
On Thursday, August 10th, Megan went into the studio with Kyle Caprista (drums), Jeff Symonds (additional bass) and Gawain Mathews (piano). While there, they started tinkering around with Spandau Ballet’s sax solo. Megan thought that while the solo was awesome, it felt too adult and serious for what is essentially a child’s song. That’s when they came up with this alternative using piano, 12 string guitar, whistling and a music box:
Since we’d all become so attached to the sax (it’s been part of the song since the start), Megan was concerned that the piano would be a hard sell. When we heard it Friday, September 11th, we all agreed it works so well with the song that it had to stay.
Armed with a shiny new part of the song, Megan and Greg got together with Michael at Michael Romanowski Mastering later that day to begin the very final mix and begin the mastering. While sorting through everything it was agreed that the second pre-chorus could use a bit more oomph so they asked San Francisco singer/songwriter Jeff Campbell to lend a hand.
Between Friday, September 11th, and Thursday, September 24th, the song went through dozens of different mixes until finally everyone was happy with the finished product. It was decided that the intro for the song would be shortened for the download and radio mix but left at its original length for the video.
Michael Coleman Film and Greg started putting the video together on Tuesday, September 22nd, which, like the song, went through many different edits until everyone was happy with the result.
We are excited to present the song and video to the world on Thursday, October 1st.