Tony Armstrong, AFL, Sydney Swans. SWANS fans looking for music tips have their very own Molly Meldrum: backman Armstrong dishes out his hit picks on the club website.And a warning to supposedly cool international rock bands: do not get on the wrong side of this critic.
How did you get so knowledgeable about music?
It started in boarding school. The bloke in the room next to me was an avid music listener and he got me right into it. I’ve always liked music but I take a vested interest now, I go out searching for stuff.
Was it footy or music posters on your wall as a kid?
It was more band stuff than footy. I only thought I was gonna get drafted about halfway through my last year at school, but I always loved music. It was (Red Hot) Chili Peppers, Kings of Leon back then … but they’ve been demoted.
Do you reckon Kings of Leon have become boring?
They play adult contemporary rock now as opposed to the almost hillbilly, rockabilly, rock ’n’ roll type stuff they used to play. I was lucky enough to get tickets to their last tour through the footy club but I left with a bitter taste in my mouth.
So who would still get a place on your poster wall?
The Fooeys (Foo Fighters) are up there. It’s all rock bands.
Got any skills?
I played the drums the whole way through high school. Mum always wanted me to play a musical instrument and I tried to pick the loudest, most annoying one I could! It just so happened that was the drums. I loved it but it’s been really hard to keep that going with footy and living in suburbia now – I don’t think the neighbours would be too appreciative of drums going on at all hours. The kit’s all packed up in boxes. I get it out every now and then but I try not to be a public nuisance.
Got any karaoke skills?
Absolutely none! I know the songs but I’m tone-deaf, I can’t hit a note to save myself.
What rock star do you wish you were? As you’re a drummer, let’s hazard a guess at Dave Grohl?
Well, I’d love to be a frontman actually. I saw The Temper Trap (above) when they played at Falls a couple of years ago and Dougie was unbelievable. I was lucky enough to see Foster the People last year at a little venue called the Governor Hindmarsh in Adelaide, it was just before they really blew up, and Mark Foster was unbelievable. He was playing everything – guitar, keyboards, synth. Seeing them got me up and about.
Last great gig you went to?
I went to Falls this year and I thought Pnau played a ripper set and so did John Butler Trio and The Crystal Castles. So are we able to squeeze three into that one answer?
That’s a wide-ranging three …
Yeah, I started off a little narrow-minded in my music but as I’ve started to put a more vested interest into it I’ve diversified a bit. Now I like all types.
Discovery of 2012?
Everyone’s on him, but Oliver Tank, out of Sydney. I can’t really claim it (as my discovery) – one of my mates posted me a link and I started listening to him. I really like that spaced-out … I don’t even know how to describe that. It relaxes me.
What do you pump up with before a game?
I love listening to anything off the first two Kings of Leon albums – that uptempo stuff. Anything by Pnau (above) or a couple of A-Trak remixes. A mixture between rock and dance. No hip-hop though.
Do all your teammates have headphones on in the rooms pre-game?
Every now and then we’ve got a little boombox and Rhys Shaw gets on that and plays a bit of Pendulum. But generally everyone’s got their own music on their headphones. It’s weird – if you’re the last guy to rock up, no one’s speaking, they’re just listening to their music. You’ve gotta run out and play with each other in a couple of hours and no one even talks to ya!
Ever had a song stuck in your head during a game?
That has happened to me before. I remember my first game I played over at Subiaco against Fremantle, before the game Sweet Disposition came on the PA system and then the whole game I had that opening riff in my head. It was doing my head in. I couldn’t get it out to save me.
Did the song at least help you win?
No, we got thumped. It was terrible ’cos we were getting thumped and I was pissed off at the music that was in my head. A dark combo!
Is there much music around the club?
Yeah, our strength and conditioning coach has got a monopoly on (the stereo) at the moment. It’s a lot of Top 40 stuff or old-school rock like Men at Work, AC/DC and Midnight Oil. It’s not really for me, to be honest, but you’ve gotta go with what everyone else wants.
What’s the alternative Swans team song?
It’d be tough, ’cos you get 46 blokes together, they’re not all going to agree on much, let alone music. But if I could choose a club song I’d like Do You Want it All by Two Door Cinema Club.
Which teammate has the worst taste?
It’s gotta be Nathan Gordon, No.45. Oh, it’s horrid, it’s the worst. I refuse to get in the car with him ’cos it’s just gonna be a boring trip listening to crappy music which he’s enjoying. So I try to steer clear of him whenever we’re car sharing.
Song that springs to mind when you think of your coach, John Longmire?
Well, “Horse” is a good country boy, so I’ll go Working Class Man. He’s honest, he always has a crack. That sums him up.
Coldplay (above). Some of their songs are crackers but they’re just, ohhh, I don’t know what the right word is. They’re not my cup of tea really, but their music’s good (laughs).
What can’t you stand?
That adult contemporary rock that seems to be sweeping the airwaves. They act like they’re such hard rock stars but they’re just playing the most boring music that’s not creative. It’s frustrating and it all sounds the same.
Favourite artist of all time?
It’s gotta be the Chili Peppers. The first album I bought was Californication. I was 10 or 11 when that album came out and ever since then I’ve loved them. They were my first big concert I went to as well.
Blood Sugar Sex Magic (by Red Hot Chili Peppers). It’s timeless, I reckon. So many tracks on there other bands would kill to have and they don’t even release them as singles.
Song you never get sick of?
Booka Shade – Mandarine Girl. I could listen to it 10 times in a row and enjoy it each time. It’s a cracker. It’s deep house and it’s awesome. It’s a strange song for me to like.
Most played on your iPod?
Either Mandarine Girl or (Red Hot Chili Peppers’) Otherside.
Met any of your musical heroes?
I got to shake hands with Chad Smith, the drummer from the Chili Peppers. He always does drum clinics in cities where he’s touring. So I’ve got a drum skin signed by Chad. Awesome. He was even better than I thought he’d be.
Leave us with a hit pick. Who do we need to listen to right now?
RUFUS. All in capitals. Awesome band.