NASCAR SPRINT Cup series driver Brian Vickers reveals why he makes careful choices in choosing his pre-race soundtrack, picks a band that has graced the hood of his car and tells us why he could never live in LA. The North Carolina native also selects a tribute to his adopted town New York City. At age 20, Vickers became the youngest champion in any of NASCAR'S three top tier series and currently drives the Red Bull #83 Toyota Camry.
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1.) The Rolling Stones - Beast of Burden
2.) Lynyrd Skynyrd - A Simple Man
3.) OAR - About Mr. Brown
4.) Frank Sinatra - New York, New York
5.) Otis Redding - Dock of the Bay
Raul Campos: Hey, this is Raul Campos from KCRW and I'm here with NASCAR SPRINT cup series driver Brian Vickers. Vickers became the youngest champion in any of NASCAR'S three top tier series at age 20 and currently drives the Red Bull #83 Toyota Camry for the Red Bull racing team. Today, we are going to be talking about some of the music that has inspired him over the years as part of KCRW's Guest DJ Project. Brian how are you doing, man? Thanks for coming in.
Brian Vickers: Thanks for having me in.
Raul Campos: What's this first one you're going to pick?
Brian Vickers: "Beast of Burden" by the Rolling Stones.
Raul Campos: Classic.
Brian Vickers: I grew up racing and I was always the youngest one. I was very, very young for the people I was racing with. You know, a lot of my friends and peers that I raced with were always 10, 15 years older than I was and when I was riding in trucks and cars to the go cart races on weekends, these guys were in their mid to late twenties, early thirties. I just really kind of fell in love with the music they fell in love with. It just reminds me of just good times, good days, you know traveling to races with my family and all my buddies and that was the music that was playing.
Song: "Beast of Burden" by the Rolling Stones
Raul Campos: Brian Vickers is our guest DJ right here on KCRW.com. Classic Stones. I guess we should get into the next one. A little Skynyrd, huh?
Brian Vickers: Lynyrd Skynyrd; one of the best. Everybody assumes, of course, I'm going to choose "Sweet Home Alabama" but although that is another one of my favorites, I went with "Simple Man" on this one. It reminds me of a dear friend of mine who is no longer with us and "Simple Man, “I think it just encompasses who he was and who I want to be. I just love this song, the tune, what it says - just the idea of the simple man.
Song "Simple Man" by Lynyrd Skynyrd
Brian Vickers: It's a great song. I mean it's one of those songs- I mean every song on this list is something that I can put on and listen to over and over again.
Raul Campos: When did you first hear "Simple Man"
Brian Vickers: I mean I was young. It was a song that my father would put on and I liked it and I could listen to "Sweet Home Alabama" just as easily. I mean, that's like a song you put on when you're ready to rock out. This is just a song I could listen to all day every day.
Raul Campos: A beautiful tune from Lynyrd Skynyrd. "Simple Man" right here on KCRW.com. Part of our Guest DJ Project, Brian Vickers. Man, that's just gorgeous. Timeless.
Brian Vickers: It is. It's timeless.
Raul Campos: O.A.R. That is the next artist. What's the song you're picking?
Brian Vickers: O.A.R. It stands for Of a Revolution. You know they're probably more popularly known for O.A.R. "About Mr. Brown" is the particular song. I mentioned a friend of mine passed away. This was his favorite band. That's really what got me into liking the band and I really fell in love with music.
Song: "About Mr. Brown" by O.A.R
Brian Vickers: For the Chevy Rock ‘n’ Roll 400 race in Richmond, they asked me to pick a band to be on the hood of the car, to do a wrap on the car, and I picked O.A.R. And they agreed to it and they came. Come to find out they were race fans. They loved it. I mean, they were just as excited to be there as we were excited to have them. And you know I got to meet the band. Such amazing guys. So down to earth. We actually became friends and I'm still friends with all the guys in the band and they actually came and played a birthday concert for me one year.
Raul Campos: Nice.
Brian Vickers: So that was kind of fun, but "About Mr. Brown" is a special song for me. I don't want to get into all the details, but this is a special song for me for personal reasons and it's just a great tune.
Raul Campos: So, what is the next song.
Brian Vickers: Frank Sinatra. This particular song "New York, New York" I like this one because it's one of his better songs, in my opinion, and I'm in love with New York.
Raul Campos: But you're not from New York, right?
Brian Vickers: No, I'm not from New York. I'm from North Carolina. But I fell in love with New York City probably four, five years ago and I've spent enough time there that I really fell in love with the city. I started going there so much that a hotel didn't make sense so I got an apartment and then I ended up buying a condo and I still love it every chance I get to go to New York.
Raul Campos: I love New York. I just could never live there. I'm a wuss when it comes to the cold weather.
Brian Vickers: I say the same thing about L.A. I love L.A. I'm a wuss when it comes to the traffic.
Raul Campos: Yeah you like to drive pretty fast so I can imagine why traffic might be a no-no for you.
Song "New York, New York" by Frank Sinatra
Raul Campos: What kind of car do you drive?
Brian Vickers: I drive a Lexus GS 450 Hybrid.
Raul Campos: I figured you'd be more into a muscle car.
Brian Vickers: My father and I have a Sting Ray c16 Corvette in victory blue. It's a muscle car. You know it is beautiful, just an old classic car. I get it out every once in a while, but he doesn't like it when I drive it because when I drive it, I drive it! Why have a car if you can’t… I'm doing burnouts and he's like sweating.
Raul Campos: Frank Sinatra on KCRW.com Guest DJ Project. Brian Vickers is in the house. So this next one: Otis Redding.
Brian Vickers: The song "Dock of the Bay." Some of the earliest memories I have of music and just riding in the car and then this song came on. When I hear it, it kind of puts me back in a good place and I just smile.
Raul Campos: Are there any other songs that get you ready for either a race or a practice.
Brian Vickers: You know our sport is …you really don't want to be hyped up. Maybe for qualifying you want to be hyped up, where you just want to get out there and get after it. You're doing two hundred miles per hour, you know you need some energy you just want to push the car to the limit.
Even if you're a fan of NASCAR, until you've actually come to a race you don't understand how far we push these cars. I mean we're sideways. We're out of control at two hundred miles per hour. We go as hard as we can through the corner until either the front tires or the rear tires slide -- or both. You try to save the car and just keep going. And maybe in the qualifying instance you want to do that.
But in a race instance, it's 500 miles. You don't want use up all your energy on lap five. You gotta save it for the end. So, I don't really listen to any music that kind of gets me fired up before a race, but one song I have always found fascinating that does get me kind of pumped up, that gets me excited is by Eminem "8 Mile." When he's like, you know, ‘one shot, one chance’ -- when I hear that, it kind of inspires you really. You know, if I was going to pick a song before qualifying that would be it. If I was going to pick a song before a 500 mile race that would not be it.
Raul Campos: Maybe Otis Redding.
Brian Vickers: Yeah, exactly.
Song "Dock of the Bay" Otis Redding
Raul Campos: "Dock of the Bay" by Otis Redding right here at KCRW.com, our guest DJ Brian Vickers. You ever try and whistle along?
Brian Vickers: Yes. I think it's like… it's almost hard not to right?
Raul Campos: Man, just a fantastic list of songs.
Brian Vickers: Oh thank you. No…
Raul Campos: Thank you for coming in.
Brian Vickers: … I can't take all of the credit. I just picked them. Thanks for having me on.
[PLAYLIST GOES HERE]