While Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is one of the NFL’s most popular quarterbacks, he is also a passionate fan of rock music. Rodgers met Eddie Vedder at Pearl Jam’s show in Milwaukee last week, and is also a big fan of Anberlin, Foo Fighters, and many other bands. In this exclusive AlternativeNation.net interview, Rodgers discusses bands he listens to, his favorite Pearl Jam songs, meeting pro wrestlers, playing in the Super Bowl, and his day to day life in the NFL. You can listen to audio of the interview at the bottom of the article.
I know a few of your favorite bands are Counting Crows, Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters, Anberlin, and Acceptance. Is that some of the stuff you listen to to pump you up before a game?
Some of those bands can pump you up a little bit, but I’ve always been more on the mellow side as far as my pregame music. There’s definitely songs from those bands that can get you pumped. But I tend to pick maybe the quieter, more ballad type songs, less hardcore songs, for pregame. I always need to be pretty even keeled. Some of the guys can thrive off of passion and energy, where I feel like I thrive when I’m able to find a place of relaxation on the field, so I like to listen to some quieter stuff before the game.
What type of music did you listen to growing up?
Well I grew up in the 90’s, so I love all 90’s alternative. Then also 90’s rap, so I definitely listen to both of those. I got into country in high school a little bit, then I had some friends who were in alternative rock bands. Anberlin is actually on their farewell tour as we speak, and we’ve gotten to know them over the years, and I have always enjoyed their music. Actually, one of the guitarists that is now in Anberlin played in Acceptance, I loved that one CD they put out.
Got to see Pearl Jam last Monday, and meet Eddie, that was a big highlight. I got to meet Taylor Hawkins and a couple other guys from Foo Fighters at the Superbowl, which was an absolute highlight. Then Adam Duritz from Counting Crows used to sing in our locker room after wins at Cal, so it’s been great to get to know some of those guys, who I just have the utmost amount of respect for, what they do. It is true in a lot of cases, that athletes often dream about being rock stars, and I know meeting some of these guys, how much they love sports, and it really does cross over.
What are some of your favorite Pearl Jam songs?
Well Eddie played “Just Breathe” the other night, which has always been one of my favorites. Playing the guitar, any song that involves finger-picking has always been really interesting to me, because it takes talent to move your fingers that quickly, so I have a big appreciation for the musicians especially. I really enjoyed the Into the Wild soundtrack that Eddie put together, “Society” is a track on that record that I really love. Obviously “Better Man,” “Alive,” and “Daughter” are some of my favorites, the classics that people like. He was unbelievable the other night, I mean [the fact that] him and his band could play 36 songs, there’s no other place I’d rather be than a live music concert. It was a special moment.
Did you talk to Eddie about the Steve Gleason story?
Yeah I did actually, that was one of the first things I talked to him about. I told him what an impression it left on me watching it. I don’t know how you can watch that clip and not get choked up, because that was very powerful. What Steve’s going through, and Eddie and his stuff through that whole piece, that was unbelievable. Eddie does a lot with charity, and I shared some of my passions, with pediatric cancer, and some of the foundations we work with out here, so that was actually the first thing I said after we got through the pleasantries, was just how much that meant to me.
A few months back it was Hulk Hogan’s birthday celebration, and you were on Monday Night Raw, are you a big wrestling fan?
I was as a kid yeah. I remember a big PPV match, I think 9 of us put together like 5 bucks each and rented the PPV. Hulk Hogan and the nWo, with Dennis Rodman, had a tag team match against DDP and Karl Malone. At the time I was a big Chicago Bulls fan, loved the Jordan Bulls. I was a big Pippen, MJ, and Dennis Rodman fan. We really liked the WWF as well, Hogan was always one of our favorites, so we pulled hard for Hogan and Rodman, and they came out on top. So to get the opportunity to get to wish Hogan a happy birthday, that was something we really looked forward to.
Now when you win the Super Bowl this year, do you want Hulk Hogan to present you with that new WWE belt they have?
Just maybe a message from him or Ric Flair maybe. I got to meet Ric Flair 3 or 4 years ago, I was a big fan, but Graham Harrell, who was my backup quarterback at the time, is the biggest wrestling fan, and he was freaking out. He is a big talker, but he went dead silent when we met Ric, so that was a good moment for him. I’ve always followed wrestling, not as closely the last few years, but we’ve got some people who enjoy it, so I stay up to date on John Cena, and who is dominating.
Can you describe what it was like winning the Super Bowl?
It’s hard to, it’s such a high. It’s almost a blur as I look back on it, that’s why I want to get back, because the second time I would guess, you can really enjoy it even more. But the first time you’re just so focused, and excited about the opportunity, you probably miss out on some of the festivities during the week, and really embracing how big the moment is, which probably actually helped us. We had a lot of guys who hadn’t had a ton of success up until that point, a lot of young guys who were hungry, and we just didn’t know how good we were. Now the path to success, I think that’s what the greatest challenge is, is to build a path to success, and continue to do it. I like where our team’s at right now, but there’s nothing that can take the place of that feeling of being on the field in the Super Bowl.
There’s been the Bart Starr era, there’s been the Brett Favre era, and now the Aaron Rodgers era. Is there a lot of pressure on you to succeed?
I think so, when you play in a town like Green Bay, the expectations are so high every year, that you’re going to win, and achieve greatness in a similar fashion that this history has been built on. Guys like Curly Lambeau, Vince Lombardi, Bart Starr, and Brett Favre. It’s been a lot of big names who have coached and played here over the years, and they expect greatness every time you take the field.
How does it feel to be the starting quarterback at Lambeau Field, and how much did you dream about being an NFL player growing up?
It’s a dream come true. I’ve dreamt of being a quarterback since I was a kid watching Joe Montana and Steve Young on TV on Sundays after church, watching the 49’ers, and then going to the backyard and playing catch with my Dad and brothers. We’d take turns being quarterback, or John Taylor, Jerry Rice, Roger Craig, Tom Rathman, or Brett Jones. I just dreamed about being a pro athlete, and more specifically a pro quarterback. Every day I get to do the job, you’ve got to be thankful for fulfilling dreams.
Can you take me through a typical week during the NFL season? What do you typically have to do before your game?
Every Wednesday and Thursday we have a long practice, Friday has turned into kind of a body maintenance day, where we have more of a half day, and a lot of meetings and walk throughs. Saturday is much of the same, with a short one hour practice. Then we travel if we’re on the road, or if we’re off, we’re home. Then we have to stay at the hotel Saturday night, home or away. Sunday is game day, usually. Then Monday is film review and workout, Tuesday is the NFL off day for most teams. The quarterback doesn’t really have any off days. You still go in there, and do any body maintenance you need to do, the ability to watch film on your own, have conversations with the coaches and the players you need to, and you get ready for Wednesday to do it all over again.
Does anything change during a bi-week? I know you have a bi-week coming up next week.
It does yeah, we’re off, which is great. We’re in Monday, and hopefully we’re 6-2 at that point, halfway through our season, then we’re off, and everybody is off to their own desires, and you just make sure you’re back by Sunday, because we start back up on Monday with practice, meetings, and film review.
What do you do during your down time?
I love to play golf when the weather’s nice, mostly off season. I enjoy some TV programs, Jeopardy is usually on most nights. It’s not the mindless TV that sometimes I need after a long day, it’s actually very stimulating, and I enjoy it. But I enjoy Jeopardy, I’ve always been a big Game of Thrones fan, I got into South Park years ago, and if I need a good laugh, I enjoy that. Key and Peele is a newer show I enjoy watching. Not a lot of free time, get to play the guitar every now and then. But it’s a lot of watching film, studying it during the week, then when I don’t have to, find the time for mindless activities, and your body and mind can just rest.
I just saw that State Farm commercial with Kevin Nealon and Dana Carvey as Hans and Frans, do you think you’ll ever transition into acting in the future?
No, not really, I’ll leave that to the professionals (laughs). I enjoy being around football, football is what I know best, it’s what I’ve enjoyed doing for the last 10 years. I’d love to still be involved in some capacity with it, and look at some other options in business and what not. Maybe kind of disappear for awhile.
Interview conducted by Mike Nagel