Carl Givens is hoping a contemporary version of "We're Knockin' Heads Off" will help restore the Bastrop Rams' swagger.
“We're Knockin' Heads Off,” the Bastrop Rams' football theme song during the most glorious era of the program's history, has resurfaced thanks to its original artist.
Bastrop police officer Carl Givens has collaborated with his son, Carl Givens II, and cousin, Jamel Caldwell, to bring back a new, contemporary version of the song which was embraced by the Rams' players and fans alike.
Carl Givens Sr. penned and composed the original lyrics in 2003. “We're Knockin' Heads Off” quickly became more than a song, growing into more of an anthem; a battle cry.
“The people of Bastrop were proud to have their own song. It was crazy,” Givens recalled. “You couldn't go anywhere in Bastrop without seeing “We're Knockin' Heads Off” on a bumper sticker or T-shirt. Wal-Mart, D&H (Sporting Goods) and the schools all started selling T-shirts. Hammerhead Graphix quit taking orders, they had so many.”
Make no mistake, “We're Knockin' Heads Off” was a spinoff of the team's attitude at the time, not vice versa. Bastrop prided itself on fearless, hard-hitting defensive play. Blaring over the public address system as the visiting team made its way on to the field for pregame warmups, the song added to the intimidation factor of playing in Ram Stadium.
“Our defense, you couldn't move the ball on them,” Givens recalled. “They literally hit people so hard, we used to sit in the stands and say, 'He almost knocked his head off.' Just watching them and seeing how aggressive they were, that's how we ended up putting it into a song.
“I remember right before the song came out, me and Trevor Wilhite used to tell the kids before a game, 'Go out and knock somebody's head off, boy.'”
Givens moved to Seattle shortly before the original song became a smashing success. For several years, the Rams' players wrote and performed an updated version of the number. One year, there was even a baseball version of the song.
Bastrop football reached its zenith from 2005-2008 when it won 49 straight games, with state championships in 2005, 2006 and 2007 and a semifinal appearance in 2008.
Other than a quarterfinal appearance in 2010, the program has had limited success over the past five years.
After watching the Rams sink to 3-8 in 2013, Givens decided it was time to do something to drum up support for the team. With Brad Bradshaw, the Rams' head coach from 1997-2010, returning as defensive coordinator, Givens felt the timing was right.
“Our support has been as low as I've seen it for the last couple of year,” said Givens, a 1993 Bastrop High graduate and former linebacker/strong safety. “But Coach Bradshaw is back and I think it's time to get out and get back behind our boys.”
Givens Sr. sings the first verse of the song, with 13-year-old Carl Givens II taking over the vocals for the second verse. Caldwell, who was in charge of the technical work and composing the song, sings Verse 3.
“This song is new, it's modern,” Givens said. “Hopefully, it will motivate the folks of Bastrop to get behind the team. I've been distributing (the CD) throughout the city for the last couple of weeks. I want to continue to bring as much attention to it as I can to spark that attitude, that Bastrop pride.”
Taking it a step further, Givens says the trio plans to film a video at a public pep rally prior to Bastrop's Sept. 5 season opener vs. Huntington at Ram Stadium.
Givens doesn't need to be reminded that the song no longer strikes fear into opponents the way it did back in 2003. The current rendition is as much of a challenge to the 2014 Rams as it is an effort to reach out to the fans.
“You can't have a song like this and play weak,” Givens said. “I think this song will bring the attitude back.”