Cris Velasco knew the question was coming, so he just shrugged it off with a quick laugh.

"I missed it," said the 32-year-old composer who graduated from Garces High. "I was out shopping, and I started getting phone calls. I completely forgot it was on early."

The "it" Velasco referred to is Monday Night Football. After 35 years on ABC, Monday's doubleheader was televised on ESPN.

With the show switching networks, ESPN wanted to spice up the feel of the program that draws viewers nationwide.

That's where Velasco comes in. When ESPN began planning the show, network executives felt the theme song needed to be spiced up.

And, despite what you might be thinking, we're not talking about the Hank Williams Jr. song that begins, "Are you ready for some football?"

Velasco said the old theme had a 70s disco sound.

Through a long audition process, Velasco was chosen to put together the score.

"I originally did sort of my own thing," Velasco said. "I wanted to make it completely different."

His newer, completely different version, however, was shot down quickly by ESPN executives.

"Do it exactly like it used to be, just make it sound updated," said Velasco, remembering the instructions clearly.

He came up with three versions of the song, put together an orchestra in Seattle and recorded the song.

"It's the same old theme that everybody knows, just updated," Velasco said.

In the last year, Velasco finally got his break, getting the opportunity to write the score for the "Battlestar Galactica" video game.

Before that, he was considering giving up and going to culinary school.

If the name Velasco doesn't quite sound familiar, many may know him better as Cris Liesch -- he changed his last name to his mother's maiden name after moving to Los Angeles.

As Velasco likes to joke, he's the artist formerly known as Cris Liesch.

After graduating from Garces, Velasco had no idea what he wanted to do. He took courses in every field he could think of at Bakersfield College, hoping to find his niche.

It was while listening to Mozart in a music appreciation class that Velasco had an epiphany.

Up until that point, however, he didn't even know how to read music.

That certainly didn't stop him.

He studied music at the UCLA School of Music, earning a degree in music composition and then began searching for that elusive first job.

"It took me seven years before I made a single dime making music," Velasco said. "I was just on the verge of giving up and going back to school to do something else."

In fact, he called his mother, Darlene, to say he was going to quit. She wouldn't let him.

The next day, he got a call to write the score for "Battlestar Galactica."

Now his music is everywhere.

He's written the scores for Toyota, Mattel and Patrone commercials. He's worked on 12 video games and, of course, the Monday Night Football theme -- which, as far as Velasco knows, will be the theme for the next 20 years.

"It really was a dream come true to have all this happen," Velasco said.

Like competing to become the next big Hollywood star, Velasco said there are at least 1,000 composers in the L.A. area alone trying to get their break.

After seven years, Velasco got his break, but because he forgot about the doubleheader, he missed the debut of his theme song on Monday night.

"I'm hoping somebody TiVo-ed it," Velasco said with a laugh.

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