Today our lockdown tracks are picked by Sunderland legend and son of Pele, Martin Smith. Watch out for a unique way to find out if Martin is in the pub…
What sort of music did you listen to as a child?
Well, my Dad was a big Kenny Rodgers fan so there was a lot of country music played in the house but then I’ve two older sisters, so they had their own music going too. Like most girls at that time it was mainly disco stuff. Late 70s and early 80s American stuff mainly.
So country downstairs and disco upstairs. Where did you fall in that?
I was somewhere in the middle I suppose. I’ve always liked a really wide range of music so don’t mind listening to anything. The first single I bought was Our House by Madness. I remember going into Sunderland town centre to buy it, even now but, looking back I liked all sorts, Human League, Duran Duran, whatever was on Top of the Pops really.
Do you still like all sorts?
Yes, except really heavy stuff. I don’t like heavy metal or dance music. My son is into gangster rap and I can’t stand it. I wind him up by asking how he’s going to dance to that at his wedding or how he’d dance at a family party with his Nana!
Being a good father figure then! Who was in charge of the music you listened to when you first got into football?
I was at Sunderland when I was 14 but no one really talked about music, it wasn’t until the first team that music got played a lot before games. At first when you’re young you just let others do it but it wasn’t long before Mickey Gray took over. By then it was all about Oasis. Those Manchester Indie sounds got played a lot. But then Mickey had been a big Bros fan I remember. He loved George Michael too. I think he fancied himself as looking a bit like him!
But you never got to pick?
Not before games no. I was more involved afterwards. I had MTV at home so I used to tape stuff and put the videos on on the coach from away games. We’d have a few beers and watch and listen to the tunes. Actually, we had some great nights on those buses on long trips. They’re really great memories.
When you went in at 14 it must have been weird seeing your heroes around the place. Did you ever get star struck?
Not with the Sunderland players no. I don’t think I ever got star struck on the pitch. There was once off it, I must have been 14, I’d just started, and I was on tea duty as an apprentice. You had to take the tea to the away dressing room and I knocked on the door, we were playing Swindon, and Glenn Hoddle opened the door. That was mad. It’s amazing I didn’t drop the tea pot on his foot I was so shocked. That was probably the only time though.
Did you need building up for a game?
Not really, I was sometimes quite nervous, but you just go through your preparations and then get your head in the right place for playing. Again, it’d be indie music just to keep you relaxed. The Stone Roses or something like that.
You say your preparations, did you have pre-match routines and superstitions?
Definitely not. I realised that loads of players who had them were really freaked out if anything wasn’t exactly what they wanted so I decided to steer clear of them all. I had no routine or pre-match things I did, just let it happen.
And when it comes to walking out for a game, what was the best walk out music?
For me it’s got to be Dance of the Knights and Republica. It was incredible, that plus the noise of the fans was the best. I’d bring that back if we could. I liked Z cars at Roker but, the Stadium of Light was just incredible. And then there’s Rochdale. They always play indie classic after indie classic. I remember warming up once and thinking they should keep the music on for the match. They even come out to This is the One by The Stone Roses. That’s a tremendous pre-match track list!
What about a track list for a night out? What gets you on the dancefloor?
Mr Brightside, I think, by The Killers. That’s a great track. Though it takes me a couple more beers to get me on the dancefloor than it used to.
What would it have been back in your dancing years?
Well, I used to go out with a girl who said that, if she wanted to know if I was in a club or a bar without walking all the way round it to find me, she could ask the DJ to play Wham, either Club Tropicana or I’m Your Man, and I’d be on the dancefloor in five seconds so I’m going to have to say that!
And if we could let you out from lockdown for one day, where would you go?
I think I’d go to the Riverside and watch Durham play a One Day game. It’s that time of year now where you get the sun on your back, couple of beers, that’d be perfect. I am missing going to the cricket.
And what about football?
I’m missing playing it definitely, I play 5 a side on a Wednesday night and I miss that but I’m not really missing watching football as much as I thought I would. I’ve avoided all the replays and things on TV where I know some people have been watching Sky Sports day after day, old seasons. I think out of sight, out of mind for me.
And how about concerts? Any good memories?
It’s got to be Bruce Springsteen at the Stadium of Light. I’ve always loved his music and then he was playing in my ground. That was fantastic. Thunder Road I remember really clearly. That night was so amazing I went up to Hamden four nights later and watched him again!
It’ll be nice to be able to do something as simple as drive like that to a live event again. Thanks for chatting and keep well.