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Puck Rock: John Buccigross

A quick aside about Puck Rock —I’ve got some cool things lined up for this, some obvious and some not. There’s no real timetable for when I’ll have these posts but I’ll try to make it fairly regular. If you have any suggestions for players or personalities that would be good for Puck Rock, leave it in the comments.

I think it’s appropriate that we kick off the initial Puck Rock Q&A with one of the most popular hockey personalities in the US: ESPN’s John Buccigross. Not only is Buccigross one of the most dedicated hockey supporters in the national spotlight, he’s also a huge music buff. If you’ve seen him on SportsCenter or the now-defunct NHL 2Night, you’ll know that he drops in as many music references as possible during highlights. He’ll also talk about his favorite songs and bands in his weekly ESPN column almost as much as he discusses his love for Chris Drury.

Want to get on his good side? Ask him about Cam Neely being in the Hall of Fame or why Red Hill Mining Town is the greatest U2 song of all time.

A quick personal note about Buccigross—during the late 1990s, I’d emailed now-Tampa coach Barry Melrose that they should plug Bad Religion in one of their “What (musician) is to (band), (player) is to (team)” since Greg Graffin is a hockey fan. During NHL 2Night a few days later, Buccigross said, “What Greg Graffin is to Bad Religion, (player) is to (team)” (I can’t remember the particular highlight).

Then Melrose chimed in: “I hear they’re big hockey fans, those guys.” I always thought that was pretty cool of them, and it’s one of the reasons why I’m silently rooting for Melrose to be successful in Tampa.

On to the Q&A:

-You’re known for making as many music references as hockey references on your broadcast. Do musicians ever contact you about this?

I’ve had a few contact me over the year and have enjoyed some nice backstage moments and see a couple of shows from right on the stage. Counting Crows, Guster, The Zamboni’s, Disturbed, and Jimmy Eat World are some that come to mind off the top of my head.  Oh, yes and John Ondrasik from Five for Fighting. He is a huge hockey fan. And, I’ve sat next to Mickey Melchiondo at a couple of Flyers games. He’s in the band Ween and is a gigantic sports and hockey fan. He played goalie as a kid but a kid named Mike Richter was in front of him.  Mike Myers, of Austin Powers fame, once sent me a nice handwritten note that read, “As Paul McCartney is to the Beatles, you are to NHL 2Night. I watch religioulsy. You are my God. Your servant, Mike Myers.” The remains the most sweetest and awe inspiring response I got from the NHL 2Night era.

-What are the best musical hidden gems you’ve discovered from reader recommendations?

Readers will send me mix CD’s on occasion. About five years ago I got one that had a Guster song on it. I quickly became the biggest Guster fan there is. That’s just one example of many.

-On your deathbed, a genie allows to either play Game 7 and win the Stanley Cup or play a show at Madison Square Garden as a member of your favorite band. Which do you pick?

I love music, but hockey will always win that one in a rout.

-Best concert you ever went to and why?

That’s an impossible question to answer because we all have so many stages in our lives where we are literally different people in different circumstances. When I was in college I saw Genesis outside Cleveland in the old Richfield Coliseum. I remember getting there with my roommate and running through the concourse as “Abacab” was playing. What a rush. I saw the Rolling Stones at Madison Square Garden and was blown away by how good they sounded live. Same thing with an REM concert from about the 12th row. Great craftsmen with great energy.  I love Guster shows for the youth and energy.  Watching Disturbed on stage in Columbus, Ohio was mindblowing.  Ben Folds crashing his hands on a piano is a rush.  Seein U2 just offstage in Hartford and seeing the 100% they gave was very impressive. Bono and that band has a great presence. No band right now can touch their gravitas.  Bruce Springsteen, under the moonlight at Fenway Park was a religious experience.  I remember a great Counting Crows/Live show in Hartford as well. I asked Adam Duritz to please sing “Daylight Fading” in the show because I had been listeing to it like 14 times a day at that time (I get addicted to songs. They changed their set list and got it in. That was cool.

-Hit shuffle on your iPod. What’s the song that comes up?

Everytime I do that it goes to a New Order song first and I’m not sure why.
(Mike’s note: I’m totally ok with that. New Order’s Ceremony was in our wedding ceremony.)

-What are your five desert island discs (best-of compilations and live albums acceptable)?

REM- Life’s Rich Pageant, U2- The Joshua Tree, Peter Gabriel- So, Blink 182- Enema of the State, Ben Folds Live

-What song should they never play again at hockey arenas?

Bob Seger’s Old Time Rock and Roll

-What song would you love to see a team skate out to at the start of a game?

Vicarious by Tool

-All of us have artists or songs that we feel more people should know about. Name one of yours.

Sufjan Stevens or Nada Surf

-You’ve just won the Stanley Cup. What song do you want put on the cheesy montage at the end of the TV broadcast? (and it can’t be One Shining Moment)

Swan Song by Bruce Hornsby
(Sorry about the football video but just pretend it’s hockey)

-Indie Rock faces off against Classic Rock (with Hair Metal refereeing) in Game 7 of a series. Who wins?

Molly Hatchet over Dashboard Confessional 6-2


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