Outside the hockey rink, LA Kings defenseman Matt Greene’s main passion is music discovery. From family road trips to falling for the woman that is now his wife, he shares the songs that have marked important moments in his life in this Guest DJ set. The LA Kings regular season starts tomorrow, October 3rd.
1. Talking Heads - "This Must Be the Place"
2. Bruce Springsteen - "Backstreets"
3. Hall & Oates - "I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)"
4. Constantines - "On to You"
5. Queens of the Stone Age - "If I Had a Tail"
Eric J. Lawrence: I’m Eric J. Lawrence and I’m here with Los Angeles Kings defenseman Mat Greene. Today we’ll be talking about some songs that have inspired him over the years as part of KCRW’s Guest DJ Project. Matt, thank you so much for coming down.
Matt Greene: Thanks for having me.
Lawrence: So what’s the first song you’ve got for us?
Greene: “This Must Be the Place”, Talking Heads.
I’m the youngest of three kids. I have an older brother and an older sister. On road trips. the family cassette was “Stop Making Sense”. So we just listened to this over and over again. It’s a beautiful song. I mean, I think I liked it a little bit more due to just the way it sounded when I was younger. Now you get a chance to listen to it you kind of grow with it. It’s a great song.
Song: The Talking Heads -- “This Must Be the Place”
Greene: What was crazy though is it kind of came full circle. My mom’s a professor at Michigan State. She teaches an overseas studies class every summer. So I got to over when I was 14 and we went to a David Byrne art exhibit. He had all polaroids of the inside of bathrooms, you know, hotel bathrooms. I thought it was just hilarious. Growing up, being on the road, you realize there’s nothing to do at night -- no wonder he’s taking polaroids of all the bathrooms he’s stayed in.
Lawrence: That was Talking Heads with “This Must Be the Place.” Well, what’s the next song you got for us?
Greene: “Backstreets” by Bruce Springsteen. That started when I was a senior in high school. I moved away from a small town in Michigan to the greater Detroit area. My parents let me take our ‘94 Plymouth Voyager down there with me. I was used to just leaving the keys in the car at all times and never locking the doors. It was stolen within three days of being in high school. They had stolen my CD’s. That was the main thing. I got the car back and the keys but my CD case was gone. The only CD I had left was “Born To Run”. We got real close that year. I think “Back Streets” was probably the song that I take away most from that experience.
Lawrence: Somehow that seems like a good driving around kind of record too.
Greene: Oh unbelievable, yeah. Being 17 and cruising around to that, a lot of guys get in the car with you the first time and look at you a little sideways. But it was great.
Lawrence: What about the radio? Surely there was some things on the radio to be listening to.
Green: I don’t even think that car had an antenna. I was reduced to one CD, that was it.
Song: Bruce Springsteen – “Backstreets”
Lawrence: That was “Backstreets” by Bruce Springsteen. Selected by our guest Los Angeles Kings defenseman Matt Greene. What’s the next track you got for us?
Greene: Switching gears a little bit. “I Can’t Go For That” by Hall & Oates. When I went to college, I went up to North Dakota and we lived in a house that was just full of filth and decay. We had after parties. We had one CD player that was somehow working. The CD that was always on repeat was “Hall and Oates Greatest Hits”. That was one that was just played over and over again, nightly. It’s just etched into my head.
Lawrence: It’s got to have a little extra meaning to you cause I have to admit you’re wearing a Hall and Oates shirt today as well.
Lawrence: What is it that is so memorable, so intense, about the Hall and Oates experience?
Greene: It’s the ultimate pop song. It’s simple. It’s to the point. It’s awesome. You’re going to keep singing to it the whole time. I don’t know. I think if you can listen to Hall and Oates album and not like ‘em, I don’t know if I’ll believe you if you tell me that you don’t like it. I think you might be lying right to my face and that’s just inconsiderate.
Lawrence: I apologize.
Song: Hall and Oates -- “I Can’t Go For That”
Lawrence: That was Hall and Oates with “I Can’t Go For That.” What’s the next track you got for us?
Greene: When I came out of school, I was drafted to Edmonton. I went up there. I played three years up there and right away I met a girl and she played this song for me, “On To You” by The Constantines. We were just riding around in the car and fast forward eight years later and I married her. That was our first song and that reminds me of my time more than anything else at Edmonton. Just kind of a special deal between us. Kind of held on to it since.
Lawrence: So this is a song she introduced to you?
Greene: She did. She’s got a way better taste in music than I do. She gets onto new music a lot faster than I do and brings a lot of new stuff to me. This is one song she was definitely way ahead of me on.
Lawrence: Would you consider yourself a romantic?
Greene: No. No not at all. I try. The efforts there but I don't think the execution is.
Lawrence: But music is a great assistant with that.
Greene: Unbelievable. It’ll get you out a lot of jams. When the other part fails, you can count on music to pull you out the other side.
Song: The Constantines – “On To You”
Lawrence: When you hear something that you like, does that sort of immediately spur you on to kind of want to know what it is and know more about the band and do that kind of discovery?
Greene: Absolutely. I think that’s the best part of discovering new music. You just find bands and new sounds. You become kind of borderline obsessed with it. You might not believe it or not, we get a lot of down time.
You get in and out of the rink, especially when you’re not playing and during the summer, you have a lot of time on your hands and it’s fun to be able to have a kind of hobby in terms of discovering new music and having the time to do it. It’s amazing. I think that’s the best part. It opens up genres of music that you never thought you’d even pay attention to. Next thing you know you’re buying albums and figuring out where you’re going to be able to see these bands play. It’s a cool deal. Music is definitely a way to express yourself, but also its a way to get a lot out of you that you never knew was in there.
Lawrence: That was The Constantines with “On To You.” Well what’s the last track you got for us?
Greene: “If I Had A Tail” by Queens of the Stone Age. The whole album’s unbelievable. This song itself, I think it’s great. Just driving, it kind of just spurs you along. It’s the song that I can’t stop listening to right now. The whole album’s unbelievable but pretty much anything Josh Homme does, I can’t get enough of it. Whether it’s Eagles of Death Metal, Them Crooked Vultures, Queens of the Stone Age, I think he’s unreal. Even some of the things he did with an Unkle album a couple years ago..That was awesome. It’s probably the most significant change of music I’ve had since coming to LA was getting into him and his projects.
Lawrence: Have you had a chance to see Them, Queens or any other of the variants live before?
Greene: I have not. They were in LA and we were in the playoffs. We played that night. I was all set to see them at the Wiltern and try to sneak over there after the game. I realized we weren’t getting out till about 11pm, so it might have been tough to swing it but it would have been pretty cool.
Song: Queens of the Stone Age -- “If I Had A Tail”
Lawrence: Well Matt, I want to thank you so much for coming down and sharing some of your selections with us.
Greene: Thanks a lot for having me, it was a lot of fun.