When you are a kid, two things that get your juices going are music and sports. Face it, being good at either was the ticket to Chick-town, and since I was 14 with enough testosterone surging through my veins to kill a man in his 50’s, I got involved in both because I was taking any ticket I could.
Fast forward to that age where you start realizing that to remain visible to the 23-year-old residents of Chick-town will require investment in a sports car, and you start flashing back to the salad days. If you are as deranged as I am, you start noticing that the two have more parallels which have only become visible through the prism of age.
Dunk that prism in a Sea World sized-tank of bourbon and impending mid-life doom, and I came to realize in between the bouts of pre-suicidal sobbing that the bass players and drummers that influenced me shared characteristics with the sports figures I idolized.
1) Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker: Cream
Don’t be fooled by Jack Bruce’s skull pelt and the skeletal remains of Ginger Baker, together they formed the backbone of the greatest jam band of all time. Forget that its 1966, forget the heroin stupor, and remember that every garage band MUST pay homage to these guys.
Sports Figure Comparison: The Bambino
Sure, lots of guys had a breakfast of a quart of bourbon, five ball-park hot dogs, and two hookers, then slugged three homers, but Babe Ruth was the first. Just like all the bands that bands snorted God-knows-what up through a cymbal stand, then just flat-out rocked it for two hours, Cream not only did it before you, but did it better.
2) Roger Glover and Ian Paice: Deep Purple
Keeping the rhythm behind The Purp’s keyboard-and-axe assault was no easy task, but Glover’s ability to seamless bridge that assault and Paice’s monstrously-underrated drum chops more than got it done, it laid the groundwork for the rock riff so classic it made some serious cultural leaps.
Sports Figure Comparison: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Despite the fact that Glover and Paice define what a rock rhythm section should be, they played behind such a wall of “showtime” that their classic status often went unnoticed. Jabbar was also overshadowed by the “Showtime Lakers,” even though he was the classic old-school NBA center and is still that league’s all-time leading scorer. Besides, the soccer scene in this video is a reminiscent morsel of the cheesy hilarity of Jabbar’s fighting Bruce Lee.
3) Geddy Lee and Neil Peart: Rush
Let’s face it – Canada is simply an odd combination of Europe and North America. The recipe for a Mountie is equal parts British Redcoat, horse, and Smokey the Bear hat. But when it comes to music, they got the combination right. Rush found a way to take the musicianship of the Europeans and mix it with a dose of good ol’ North American power-trio. But, it still isn’t cool to like them because being Canadian automatically costs them 20 style points. Well, here’s my 20 points and you can freakin’ eat me…RUSH RULES!
Sports Figure Comparison: Youppi
The 1994 Montreal Expos were massively talented, on a roll toward the playoffs, and God screwed them by placing a baseball strike squarely in the path of Canada’s third straight World Series title. Why? Because they are Canadians. See, even though the Expos fielded some very good teams, they consistently drew about nine fans. This explains Youppi, the best mascot that never got his props.
4) John Entwhistle and Keith Moon: The Who
No two musicians in rock history had such diverse styles, yet blended so seamlessly. Entwhistle was a student of music, and his bass work was melodic and richly architected. Moon was a rock stars’s rock star, and his drum lines were savage. But the differences came together in a surprisingly rhythmic fashion.
Sports Figure Comparison: Bert Blyleven
The pure smooth that only Bert’s knee-buckling curveball brought, yet with zing brought by a guy whose off-day past-times are rumored to have included setting Tom Kelly’s shoelaces on fire. It’s the same odd combo that can sell you a house while dropping the F-bomb. If Keith Moon were a pitcher, you just know he’d do stuff like this on the road, and if Bert were a drummer, he’d be rocking the goldfish.
5) Geezer Butler and Bill Ward: Black Sabbath
When they first hit ears across the world in 1969, Black Sabbath had a sound like no other heard before; they were musical, yet raw. There was something beautiful, but at the same time frightening about them. Sabbath was the music for the “bad kids,” and even though you might not have been a badass, you couldn’t get enough.
America’s bicentennial year may have been the high-water mark for the Oakland Raiders and its bad boy mystique. John Madden played the hulking maniacal leader of this bunch of escapees from a southern chain gang. Ken Stabler fulfilled the role of gun-slinger quarterback, but it was the overlooked defense that set the tempo and supplied the power for this team, with such scary figures as Jack Tatum, Otis Sistrunk, and Ted Hendricks raining destruction on offenses across the NFL.
6) Tom Petersson and Bun E. Carlos: Cheap Trick
If you are my age, there was a solid five-year span where Cheap Trick may have been the perfect band to play the soundtrack of your life. If you aren’t my age, catch a re-run of “That 70’s Show” and you’ll get the idea. Cheap Trick is the quintessential American Rock N’ Roll band; good times just seem to break out wherever their music is played.
Sports Figure Comparison: Kyle Orton
It is well-established that we here at Dubsism believe Kyle Orton is the greatest athlete is in the history of ever, because he is living the life you would kill to live. If you couldn’t be Kyle Orton, you’d be Cheap Trick. They both kick ass where it matters; Orton wins football games and Cheap Trick flat-out rocks. They are both famous enough to live the “rock star” lifestyle, but not so famous their fame becomes an all-consuming black hole of douchebaggery (see Tom Brady).