Los Angeles Kings defenseman Davis Drewiske chooses songs that veer between the raw rock he uses to get pumped for a game to sentimental picks that reflect his Midwestern upbringing. He also makes a connection between the skill sets of athletes and musicians in his insightful Guest DJ set.
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1. Hound Dog - Elvis Presley
2. Shape Shifter - Local Natives
3. The Promised Land - Bruce Springsteen
4. Joy To The World - Three Dog Night
5. I Got Mine - The Black Keys
Anne Litt: Hi I'm Anne Litt and I'm here with Los Angeles Kings Defensemen Davis Drewiske. Today, we will be playing excerpts of songs that he selected that have inspired him over the years as part of KCRW’s Guest DJ Project. So Davis what did you bring for us today? I see you have an amazing list that includes some serious classics on it.
Davis Drewiske: We’re going to get started with Elvis Presley, “Hound Dog”. Growing up in Wisconsin, my mom grew up on a dairy farm and her dad was pretty rough and tough, straight-laced guy. I think, on the radio, it was either Polka music, crop prices or the weather and when he was in a good mood, it was Elvis.
I can just imagine him 56 years ago, in the kitchen, with the whole family listening to some Elvis songs. You know, even a straight-laced guy like that could appreciate how talented he was. Especially with this song, he created so much controversy and stir when it first came out, he really paved the way for a lot of performers.
Song: Elvis Presley – “Hound Dog”
AL: So that was “Hound Dog” by Elvis Presley. The next song is by a local band from here in Los Angeles. Talk to me about this song “Shape Shifter” by Local Natives.
DD: This was my favorite concert that I've been to, when they played the Walt Disney Concert Hall last spring. They come out with a whole orchestra and they just rocked it. It was so cool.
Song: Local Natives – Shape Shifter
AL: When you're listening to a song, what grabs you?
DD: A lot of times for me it’s the vocals, but I think what makes a great band is a combination of the vocals and the music and the instrumentals.
Its kind of like sports in some ways, you can break it down and study it as much as you want and I think that the best people are still the ones who practice the most but, at the same time, there's not an outline to follow to success always. It's an art, a feel, and that’s what's cool about sports, and especially cool about music.
AL: I like how you compare art to sports. I think that’s a really interesting connection you just made.
DD: Yeah I think so, there are so many similarities. There are no short cuts in either profession, both professions have to work extremely hard. It's not like there's somebody that can tell you all the right things to do at all the right times, some of it’s a feel and a lot of it is where your preparation meets opportunity and, if your ready for it, good things happen.
AL: It's Local Native's “Shape Shifter” on KCRW’s Guest DJ Project, with my guest Davis Drewiske from the Los Angeles Kings. The next song is near and dear to my heart as well. It’s The Boss, Bruce Springsteen, “The Promised Land”, Talk to me about what this means to you.
DD: I was so excited. I don’t know if you’ve seen the documentary they had on HBO, Darkness on the Edge of Town, but I was so excited when I heard him talking about this song because you can interpret a lot of different ways, and people have. He talked about it as honoring where he came from. That’s always how I interpreted, from the first time I heard it, and my hometown is a beautiful place with lots of great friends and lots of great people there. And it's just The Boss.
Song: Bruce Springsteen – The Promised Land
AL: Is there something about Bruce’s ‘working man ethic’ that appeals to you greatly? It seems that it does.
DD: Yeah, absolutely. His generation and my generation are a little different, but I still feel connected whether its farmer or factory worker -- just so much respect for that generation and the things they went through. Then going back to talking about whether it’s the vocals or the instrumentals. With The Boss, he's a storyteller too so it’s a trifecta, they have it all.
AL: We heard “The Promised Land” by Bruce Springsteen. It’s one of the picks from Davis Drewiske of the LA Kings who we have here today with us as a guest DJ. I notice your next song is by Three Dog Night, “Joy to the World”, talk about this one.
DD: First of all this song is just fun -- you can't listen to that and not sing along a little bit and just enjoy it. It’s just so passionate. We're lucky enough one of our team mates is actually related to Danny Hutton.
AL: Danny Hutton from Three Dog Night?
DD: Yeah, and we spent the last two Christmas Eves at the Hutton house for a big Christmas party and this year I lost one of my shoes at the party.
AL: Sounds like it was a good Christmas eve party. (laugh)
DD: And I just got it back a couple days ago from Danny. He was nice enough to return it. He was also nice enough to sign it. I’m wearing those shoes today and I think maybe he thought I wouldn’t wear the shoe anymore, but I think its going to make me wear it more because he signed it.
Song: Three Dog Night -- “Joy to the World”
AL: Do you listen to music before you go out on the ice?
DD: Yeah. Normally in the locker room before the game there's one guy who will control the iPod and it’s a whole variety of stuff.
AL: Is it a problem, the guy who controls the iPod? Or are you okay with the guy who controls the iPod?
DD: It’s a thankless job, I think. You can never make everyone happy so you have to have thick skin to do that. It’s the DJ for the locker room, except you have 20-25 guys that are all letting you know about it (laugh) if they're not happy.
AL: You might have to steal the iPod back.
DD: Yeah, that would be a good idea. I've played a few years now so maybe in a couple more years I’ll be veteran enough to take control.
AL: That was “Joy to the World” by Three Dog Night. It is one of Davis Drewiske picks, he's our guest DJ today, and he's here from the LA Kings.
Now I've noticed you dug back a couple records for your next song from the Black Keys. It’s a song called “I Got Mine”. And off the air we were talking about how you could have picked any number of Black Keys songs. But why the Black Keys, why do you love them?
DD: It's just so raw and edgy. Anytime we go into a place and there's a jukebox, it’s a matter of minutes before we have Black Keys playing and probably 4 or 5 of their songs at least. This song has probably set some sort of world record for air guitar solos, especially the beginning just gets me going.
This is one of my favorites before a game, anything Black Keys, whatever you have to get up for it. I think the Black Keys are a good way to get you started.
Song: Black Keys – I Got Mine
AL: It’s really interesting for me to talk to an athlete because I have this mental picture of a competitor and what a competitor needs to hear before going out to basically fight your battle. And it sounds like everyone on the team needs something. Right?
DD: Yeah absolutely and I think everyone has a different rhythm that they play the game with. I think music, depending on what you're listening to, can help you get that rhythm and start tricking your brain to tell your body its time to go and its time play and do this a certain way. Everyone has a different feel, a different pace for how they play the game, but I've found that music is good way to trick yourself into getting ready to go. Even if your body doesn't feel great, your brain has to convince it that it does and its time to play.
AL: That was Black Keys “I Got Mine” and its one of Davis Drewiske’s songs picks for the Guest DJ Project. Davis thanks you so much for joining us on KCRW.
DD: Thanks again for having me Anne, this was a blast.
AL: For a complete track listing and to find these songs online go to KCRW.com/GuestDJProject and subscribe to the podcast through iTunes.