Satiating that competitive streak beyond record sales; keeping fit when stage-diving and gear-lugging; or simply being a gung-ho action-junkie. Sports can indeed be an ecstatic substitute for musicians. We show how these fellas play ball.
1. THE TIME ARCADE FIRE DUNKED FOR CHARITY
Turns out Win Butler is just as swell at reflektin’ as he is at reboundin’. Proud aboot being an honorary Canadian, Butler’s been known to participate in charity basketball games hosted by POP Montreal (a local music festival). Shooting hoops with his brother, Will – with on-court guest appearances from The Strokes, Bon Iver and Vampire Weekend – Win also has wife, Régine Chassagne, in his corner, soundtracking the chummy competition with organ accompaniments. Helps that Butler is nearly two metres tall!
2. THE TIME BRIT BANDS WANTED TO FIGHT FOR FOOTY
Football music anthems have been around for as long as the bicycle kick, and yes, there are rousing humdingers that aren’t cringe-worthy (*cough* Ricky Martin…Pit Bull *cough*). Sophisticated as ever, alternative British acts have been responsible for war-cries of a more credible calibre, endorsed by the In-Ger-Lund national team. The Lightning Seeds honoured its emblem with “Three Lions”, Embrace cooked up a kingly stadium-rocker called “World At Your Feet”, and even New Order was shamelessly game with “World In Motion”. But frankly, nothing quite trumps the ridiculous campiness of “Vindaloo” – the waggish hymn from Alex James’ Fat Les.
3. THE TIME DMX ALMOST GOT INTO A PUNCH-OUT
In one of his most iconic rap-a-thons, “Party Up (Up In Here)”, the boorish, gruff emcee cusses 28 times (we actually counted). So it’s not exactly surprising that this foul-mouthed thug has a penchant for violence, albeit in the name of justice. A vigilante-slanted story that went South, DMX was pitted in a ‘celebrity’ boxing bout against George Zimmerman, accused (and acquitted) of murdering a Black teenager. But though DMX threatened to “beat the living f*ck out of Zimmerman”, the fight got cancelled, with the hype fizzling out quicker than Pacquiao vs. Mayweather.
4. THE TIME JAMES MURPHY ‘SERVED’ TENNIS DATA
You’d naturally expect the virtuoso behind LCD Soundsystem and the DFA imprint to hoard an abundance of ideas in his noggin. So when he’s not brewing his own coffee and crafting sound effects for subway turnstiles, Murphy’s ‘ace’-ing at making music from tennis statistical data. Forgoing the thwacks from smashes and grunts from adrenaline-pumped racket-swingers, Murphy used an algorithm that turned numbers recorded from tennis games into 400 hours of sound – subsequently translated into staccato-ed bleeps and ’70s Moog-ish synths that Kraftwerk would show ‘computer love’ for.
5. THE TIME EVERYONE WANTED TO GO SURFIN’
Genres and trends come in waves, and there’s perhaps no gnarlier culprit than surf music. Making dudes and dudettes go “Cowabunga!” in the ’50s, sun-kissed pioneers like The Beach Boys and Dick Dale enhanced the hang-fiving sport with radiant harmonies and Tarantino-favoured guitar licks. And as perpetual as the waves themselves, surf music’s appeal rekindled multiple revivals – the latest fortifying the careers of The Drums, Surfer Blood, Best Coast, Tennis and Beach Fossils. Onboard with reverb-drenched vocals and weathered, torpid guitars, surf’s one art that’ll never wipe out.
6 THE TIME THE XX OLLIED INTO SKATING
We can never run out of reasons to fall in love with The xx, can we? Despite how gossamer these indie-poppers might sound in delivery – with Jamie xx’s intricate, padded micro-beats and Romy Madley Croft’s frail, hushed vocals – these two are nose-grinding rebels while skating. As revealed in Jamie’s solo MV for “Loud Places”, these lovable besties are shown darting across the London urbanscape on skateboards; a cathartic pastime they’ve both indulged in since the age of 14. They’re even pretty slick on the half-pipe!
7. THE TIME JACK WHITE PITCHED PERFECTLY
White’s adroitness in garage-rockin’ guitar riffage is universally known, but apparently, he puts in as much power in his shrieking solos as he does in baseball pitches. Disparaging the meme that arose from his public scowling at a Chicago Cubs game – ‘Sad Jack White’ went viral like ‘Sad Keanu’ – White redeemed his passion for the sport by throwing an opening pitch for a hometown game in Detroit. Displaying a fairly wicked arm, White’s renewed elation was even captured and immortalised in a baseball card! A seven-nation army couldn’t hold him back; why should baseball?
8. THE TIME TIËSTO PUCK-ERED UP WITH HOCKEY
Considering the vast breadth of his hands-in-the-air DJ poses and his chunky, towering Dutch frame, this titan of EDM might actually make a decent hockey goalie someday! Yet the role he’s assumed ain’t one that’s skidding on ice; Tiësto, instead, designed a mask for New York Rangers’ goalkeeper, Henrik Lundqvist. More than just a fan of the Rangers and NYC, whose first governor was Dutch, Tiësto also empathised with Lundqvist’s European roots; bequeathing the Swede with a symbolic “Red Light” against flying pucks of doom.
9. THE TIME BILLY CORGAN GOT READY TO RUMBLE
Posing with cats and tidying tea shops are just some of Papa Pumpkin’s tamer pursuits. But for alt-rock fans who idolised a Corgan who flung bullets (with butterfly wings, no less) with savagery, their fears were unfounded – Corgan was the ringleader of his own pro-wrestling league! Known as Resistance, Corgan’s circuit even managed to recruit numerous high-profile body-slammers in the industry, legitimately grappling with the garish bright lights of wrestling bigwig, WWE. Though unfortunately, Corgan threw in the towel in 2014, three years after founding his sanctuary of suplexes and sentons.
10. THE TIME DRAKE BECAME A TORONTO RAPTOR
Besides “running through the six with his woes”, the top-dog emcee also happens to be running the Canadian NBA team of his hometown. Since 2013, Drizzy has been appointed as “global ambassador” of the Toronto Raptors; a ballin’ role that’ll see him rebranding the squad image, including a custom clothing line. While the Raptors are probably observing rises in spectator numbers – thanks to stalker-ish fangirls hoping to re-enact a certain squeamish encounter with Madonna – they almost lost their star ‘playa’ after NBA Illuminati deemed his recruitment of rival athletes (at gigs) unprofessional. Woes, we tell you!
This article was originally published in JUICE Singapore June 2015, Issue #201, and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.