When worlds collide…
Clearly, there are parallels between the disparate worlds of football and music. A sense of identity, of appreciating those more talented than ourselves. Witnessing said talents perform in front of large crowds. Sharing experiences with others who have the same passion.
Sometimes, however, the lines can become blurred. You see, top-level footballers typically have two precious things in abundance – time and money. Lots of it. And once the Lamborghinis have been bought, shampoo ads have been filmed and Nandos has been eaten, there’s still plenty of time for these rich, young millionaires to indulge in their chosen pastimes.
Some find joy in more esoteric activities. Take Xavi, for example. The Barcelona captain has won everything in the game, and is praised as one of the finest players of his generation. How does he fill his time? Mushroom picking. No, really. Sounds like a fun guy.
Former Arsenal goalkeeper and World War II nerd Manuel Almunia apparently takes pleasure in visiting famous battlegrounds of the 20th Century. Not for Manuel the beaches of Dubai, Miami or St Lucia, oh no. Andrei Arshavin, meanwhile, has a degree in fashion design, and spends his time away from the game designing women’s clothes.
But this is a music blog, so Andrei’s fashionable forays and Manuel’s wartime wanderings are of little concern to us. Everyone knows Alexi Lalas played guitar with Hootie and the Blowfish. Nobody needs reminding of Hoddle & Waddle. So, with that in mind, here are 10 other footballer musicians.
England’s number one left-back is also a keen guitarist, and even brings his axe (believed to be a Gibson J-200) with him on England duty. He is respected outside of football for having a sound knowledge of music beyond the usual footballer staples, and counts Arctic Monkeys and Miles Kane among his friends.
With the hopes of a nation on young Daniel’s shoulders, he can be excused for seeking some respite away from the game. Solace comes in the form of his home studio, in which he self-produces hip hop music before adding his own lyrical stylings. A look at the England forward’s Instagram account shows off a well-stocked studio, containing loads of tasty rackmount gear. Let’s hope his mind is fully on Brazil, and not wondering how best to extend the reverb tail of a particularly troublesome snare hit.
First in a number of entries from the old Eastern Bloc, this chain-smoking former Everton defender famously played guitar in Rawbau, a band from his native Croatia. The author of this blog recalls a time working in a record shop in Formby, serving the man himself as he stocked up on the latest new rock and metal releases. Bilic took 80’s rock cliche to new heights in a video with Rawbau, where he is seen rocking out on top of a roof with his trusty Gibson Explorer. Classic stuff, Slaven.
Ok, a disclaimer. While not a musician per se, the former Reading and Everton goalkeeper is well-known in football circles for his love of the heavier end of the musical spectrum. He has gone on record citing his passion for Slipknot, Mastodon and Tool, so when the opportunity to collaborate with Brit metallers Malefice came up, Marcus was only too keen to start work.
As you can see from the video, years of shouting at creaky defences have given the big man a bit of a head start in the death metal growl stakes…
When not fighting it out as one of approximately 4,372 diminutive playmakers on Arsenal’s books, Tomas can be found enjoying the many virtues of the electric guitar. The veteran midfielder has been spotted playing various iconic axes, including SGs, Telecasters and 335s, and performed on stage with Tri Sestry, a punk band from his native Czech Republic. His nickname, the ‘Little Mozart’, is probably justification enough to be on this list though.
The Chelsea goalkeeper has demonstrated real rock credibility through his friendship with none other than Queen’s Roger Taylor. The legendary sticksman struck up his unlikely friendship (see also Kevin Gallen and Morrissey) with Cech on a flight to Lisbon on account of a shared passion for tub-thumping, and the pair have remained pals ever since.
There’s been uproar back in Argentina recently. One of the country’s favourite sons, Carlos Tevez, has been left out of the World Cup squad, and the people are not happy. Tevez though, while understandably gutted, will at least be able to pick up on his ‘other’ life fronting his band Piola Vago, along with his brother Diego. Rumours of the band rocking up in the East End of London as part of a shady third-party agreement are entirely unfounded.
Special credit to the former Aston Villa, Manchester United and Coventry City forward Dion Dublin, who not only plays a musical instrument, he actually invented one. Dion’s ‘Dube’ may look to the naked eye like a balsa wood box, but it is in fact a cunningly disguised, and entirely new, percussive instrument. The sales pitch video, which sees our hero demonstrating the capabilities of the Dube, is a sight to behold. (In fairness, once you get past the initial ‘what on earth is going on here’, it is actually pretty good…)
One for the brass players now. Former Newcastle and Aston Villa midfielder Nolberto Solano plays trumpet in his band The Geordie Latinos, and tells a story of how he’d anonymously call the late Bobby Robson on his mobile and play down the line for him. Solano used to gig semi-regularly while in his beloved North East, raising money for various charities along the way.
Former Republic of International midfielder Andy Reid completes the list, by virtue of his skills on an acoustic guitar. Reid famously gained, and then lost, a lot of weight while playing for Sunderland, but always came across as one of the classier players you’d see on Match of the Day. Who knows, if his guitar playing is as cultured as his left foot, maybe a new career as a travelling troubadour awaits.
What about looking at it the other way though? Over the years there have been plenty of examples of musicians with links to football. Look out for another blog in the coming weeks listing some high profile examples, but in the mean time sit back and admire some quality technique from Serge Pizzorno, of Kasabian. Credit where it’s due.