Photo courtesy of J.J. Redick
Quick, who are the music groups that come to mind when you think about getting pumped up and ready to play in an NBA basketball game?
Here, I’ll do it for you.
Rick Ross, Jay-Z, Skrillex, Kanye West, Eminem — just to name a few. We need a list, though. Fortunately, a list of the top 100 pregame pump-up songs of all-time was thrown together. Eminem did have a few tracks on the list, Linkin Park had a handful, and the usual suspects like Jay-Z, Kanye West, and B.O.B. are littered all over the list.
So who isn’t on that list? A little alternative-indie band by the name of Milo Greene. The lazy, folksy, and really quite beautiful melodies from Milo Greene might lull the average professional athlete to sleep, but they also serve another function. They pump J.J. Redick up before games.
In mid-March, Redick dropped a tweet after the Magic game in San Antonio, saying he was glad to meet one of his favorite bands and snapped a picture with the group on the baseline of AT&T Center. A seemingly strange endorsement caused me to investigate.
An off-day in Portland
J.J. Redick wasn’t kidding. He loves this band.
According to Redick, he was in Portland on an off-day in early January doing what most people do, browsing the internet. He stumbled on a music blog that suggested Milo Greene’s “1957” as a “must-listen track.” So like any music fan, J.J. listened, loved, YouTubed, loved some more, and immediately purchased the song.
“I went to the Milo website and paid for the seven-inch vinyl so that I could download the MP3 version of ‘1957’ and ‘Silent Way’.”
Milo Greene isn’t posing. They love the NBA. Graham Fink, guitarist and vocalist for Milo Greene, told me in an interview that several of its members are “huge basketball fans,” which means they were well aware of who J.J. was before the meeting. When they saw the tweet, they thought it was just another fan. It wasn’t until later that they realized it was the Blue Devil himself.
“We received a vinyl order from a Jonathan Redick with a Florida mailing address and realized the Twitter account was actually his — I’m not gonna say we geeked out, but …”
Note: “geeked out” means “got really excited,” as in what a bunch of geeks do when a new video game comes out.
Milo Greene refused to believe that J.J. could possibly use their music as pump-up music. Not only did the band not assume it was pump-up music, but they said they never expected any crossover whatsoever into the jock world.
“I’ve got to ask J.J. if he listens to us as pump-up jams before games — if so, then we’re doing something right because he’s a shredder out there.”
But don’t think they won’t try to take advantage of the endorsement.
“Now that J.J. is on board, the sky’s the limit. Going to see the Thunder play the Lakers tonight, maybe I can slip Durant some tunes and get him in the mix — that wouldn’t suck.”
(I don’t think that ended up happening.)
The “Portland playlist”
No seriously, Redick uses this music to pump himself up pregame, and the Milo Greene cats are going to flip out.
J.J. titles his playlists according to the location he made the playlist in. When he downloaded “1957” in Portland, it became the go-to track on his Portland playlist. In his own words, the Portland playlist has been his favorite since January.
“Believe it or not — I listen to ‘1957’ before every game,” he said.
How much love does Milo Greene have for J.J. Redick?
Here’s what they had to say.
“It was amazing to see the game and chat with J.J. for a bit — he’s a really cool guy and we’re definitely going to get him out to one of our shows ASAP.”
It’s not hard to tell. I asked the group if it gave them any swag to be the favorite of an NBA player.
“Too much swag and too much brag — as all of my friends are also basketball fans. I consistently say that this is the coolest thing that’s ever come of playing music. Don’t get me wrong, touring and having your music resonate with people is amazing — but this is the NBA. My 12-year-old self is still blown away.”
And just how much love does J.J. Redick have for Milo Greene?
“Getting the chance to meet the crew from Milo was an awesome experience for me. I appreciate people that are passionate and good at what they do.”
Can Milo Greene ball?
Graham Fink had this to say about the future for Milo Greene pending a music business meltdown.
“I spent 4 months doing plyometrics in an attempt to dunk … no dice. Robbie, Andrew, and I are a mean 3v3 team though, so if this whole music thing doesn’t work out, look out for us in next year’s draft.”
Can Redick jam?
In his words, he “has no musical ability.” But that’s not to say he’s not working on it.
“My wife and I attempt to duet to some songs on long car rides.”
For Redick, regardless of his own melodic penchant, music plays a fairly important role in his day-to-day life.
“Music is very important to an athlete. Music helps me focus before a game. Music helps picks me up after a loss. Music accentuates my giddiness after a win.”
And there’s more to know about Redick. He’s an alternative-indie guy! Who would’ve thought?
“I would say that Milo’s music fits into a broad style of music that I enjoy. I love indie/alt. rock. I listen to everything from Silversun Pickups to Kings of Leon to Milo Greene to Phoenix to Fleet Floxes to Red Wanting Blue (a band from Columbus, Ohio) to Honor by August (a band from D.C.). I stopped listening to rap and country music years ago.”
He gives credit to his brother for pointing him in the right direction musically.
“My little brother, David, is a student at Virginia Tech. He is a big contributor to my taste in music. He is a indie/alt. rock music fanatic. In fact, he was the person that introduced me to Kings of Leon in 2007. He has helped managed a couple bands in Virginia and now manages Honor by August. He and I went to Lollapalooza in 2010 and that was one of the highlights of both our lives.”
He could play in this band if he just had the talent!
“We actually took a picture of all of us on the court in San Antonio and when I showed my wife she said, ‘Wow, you look like you could fit right in.’ Facial hair, earth-toned Henley, slim pants, weathered-brown boots. I fit right in.”