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Thursday, May 31, 2012
John Axford discusses role in music video

By Matt Lindner



One minute a rock star was commenting to his bandmates on how much he loved Brewers closer John Axford’s (now long-gone) super-sweet mustache.

The next, he and his bandmates are actually sharing the man’s mustache wax. At least that’s how Adam White, lead singer of Canadian indie rock band The Reason remembers it.

“I tweeted at Axford at a bar one day while watching highlights, and two weeks later, we were talking about him being in our music video,” White said.

That tweet sparked a friendship between the band and the star pitcher that eventually turned into "Mo’jor League," an epic eight-minute-long music video starring Axford and featuring four of the band’s songs from their 2010 album “Fools,” including Axford’s personal favorite “The Longest Highway Home.” The video tells the story of a ragtag bunch of misfits who somehow find themselves playing in a league championship game. Primarily a take on “The Bad News Bears” with bits of “Major League” sprinkled in, the video was shot at a Little League park in Ancaster, Ontario, during the first week of November.

Axford stars as a down-on-his-luck pitcher who gets called out of the bar mid-game and rides on his motorcycle into the game to try to help lead The Reason to victory in the ninth inning.

Their opponent in said video? The Cardinals. Coincidentally, Axford’s season had just ended in defeat in the NLCS at the hands of another, more famous Cardinals squad just weeks before shooting the video.

White swears this was all just a coincidence.

“We didn’t find that out [about the Cardinals name] until the day before the shoot,” White said. “The Little League team that uses the field is called the Ancaster Cardinals. We didn’t find out until we got to the field, and we thought 'This is perfect.'”

Much like in the real world, where Axford’s Brewers fell to the eventual world champion St. Louis Cardinals, his fictional The Reason squad couldn’t squeak past the Cardinals and into immortality either.

“We’re a humble group of dudes and we felt it wouldn’t be right for us to win that game,” White said.

“It actually just happened to work out that way,” Axford added with a shrug.

“We were gonna win originally but we asked Ax if he was cool with us losing and he said, 'Yeah, sure,'” White said.

Axford, a cinema buff who has a film degree from the University of Notre Dame, says White had initially expressed interest in having him do something more than just starring in the video.

“Up until they found people to direct it, Adam actually approached me and talked about if he couldn’t find anyone else about having me possibly direct it as well,” Axford said. “Maybe I’ll keep bugging him to see if he’ll let me direct one of their videos one of these days.”

Perhaps he could bribe them with some of his coveted mustache wax …

As an homage to their new favorite baseball player, members of the band grew mustaches similar to the one Axford became famous for rocking. Axford repaid them for that tribute as only he could.

“I had gotten a couple of care packages of mustache wax throughout the season,” Axford said. “I didn’t think I was going to go through that much wax so I made sure it got put to good use. It was pretty cool to see them all bust out different handlebar 'staches.”

The Reason is heading back into the studio to record their next album, while Axford continues in his role as one of the National League’s premier closers. White said he’s trying to get the band on the bill at Milwaukee’s Summerfest to help capitalize on their newfound popularity in the Cream City.

And while Axford is a huge fan of his new buddies’ tunes, don’t expect to hear one of their tracks replace Refused’s “New Noise” as his entrance music just yet.

“As much as I like their songs, I don’t know if it works for closing material,” Axford said. “They’re working on a new album, so once it’s done, I’ll have to listen to a couple tracks, see if it might work for my entrance music.”