Music an Off-Ice Diversion for Several Stars
Sunday, 01.01.2012 / 4:26 PM / News
By Steve Hunt
The current roster of the Dallas Stars is quite a diverse group, not only in terms of what country they hail from, but also in terms of their respective hockey backgrounds. But the current group is also quite divergent when it comes to what activities they choose to partake in during their time off the ice and away from the club.
That’s because a good number of them play a musical instrument and their ranks are sizeable enough that they could even form a Stars band, much like several Dallas Cowboys offensive linemen did several years back.
Nicklas Grossman and Tom Wandell not only have locker stalls near one another and also both come from Sweden, but they also share another similarity-playing the guitar.
In fact, Wandell has been getting pointers from his more veteran teammate over the past few seasons. “I still like to play the guitar once in a while. I’m not as good as Grossie but he is really good. I try to learn from him,” he said. “It’s fun.”
Like many of his teammates who share his affinity for music, for this big Dallas defenseman, that love dates back to his childhood. “I’ve always loved music since I grew up. My sisters played a little piano and dad did a little of everything,” Grossman said. “We just always had music in the family. I played piano as a kid and it got boring, so I just wanted to pick up the guitar playing and self learn off the Internet and all that, playing with friends.”
And even though he doesn’t consider himself too proficient on the guitar, he feels like he knows enough to get by.
“I’m not a real skilled guitar player but I know a few songs that get me through the night. It’s always fun to get home at night, have some time to kill and learn a few new songs or jam on old ones, it’s some nice getaway time with you and the guitar and even better if you’re with friends,” Grossman said.
One teammate he has jammed with on several occasions is winger Adam Burish, who also owns a guitar among other musical instruments.
“Me and [Burish] have been playing a little bit together. It’s always fun,” Grossman said. “He knows new songs that you try to pick up. We play together and it sounds even better. We might have some people and have a sing along in the background. It’s just fun. Music is always good for you in some ways. It’s always fun to do.”
Not all that long ago, Burish and Jake Dowell were teammates at the University of Wisconsin and it was early on during his time as a Badger that he also got his first guitar.
“When I was a freshman, I got my first guitar,” Burish recalls. “My mom bought me a guitar. Now I play every day. That was a pretty cool gift, a guitar. This year was my second best- I got myself a gift, an electronic drum set. I can put headphones on at home and play it, so nobody can hear it.”
That love of music is something that dates back to his childhood in Wisconsin.
“My mom made me play the piano in grade school and I hated it. So I started playing the drums out of spite,” Burish said. “I played drums in the band in high school and during football and basketball games I would sit with the band and was a nerd with the band. My buddies would make fun of me. When I got to college, I learned the guitar by teaching myself. The last seven or eight years, I’ve played every day. I think if I did all this over again, I might be in a country music band.”
And speaking of his drum playing, it’s something his teammates got to see firsthand at a team event earlier this year. “[Burish], I saw him play the drums at the Halloween party. We had it at one of those dueling piano places and he got out the drum set and any song they played, it was amazing,” forward Eric Nystrom said. “I guess he’s even better at guitar. I haven’t seen that. It’s a gift. It’s amazing.”
While Burish might dabble on the skins when he’s not fine tuning his guitar playing, there is another member of the roster who grew up playing the drums. He doesn’t get to play them as much these days as he’s busy trying to make sweet music between the pipes for the Stars as a rookie goaltender, but the drums remain a passion of Richard Bachman’s.
“I grew up playing the drums. I haven’t played so much in the last four, five years, but I still like to get out there, mess around on the set and stuff. I guess that would be the extent of my musical talents,” Bachman said.
During his time with the AHL’s Texas Stars, he had a teammate, himself a former Star, who also shared his passion for music.
“When I was down in Austin, Brad Lukowich plays guitar. He pretty much plays everything,” Bachman said. “He’s got an awesome setup in his house, this room that is like a band room with PA, guitars everywhere. So we’d go over there every once in a while and just jam. No one really sings but we’d go over there, mess around, play some songs and stuff. It’s a good little hobby to get away from the rink and have a little fun.”
Speaking of former teammates, one of the current musically-inclined Stars remembers one former player who was quite talented on the guitar. “The year before last, we had Fabian Brunnstrom. He was in school [for music]. When we went to hockey school, he went to music school,” Wandell said. “He was unreal on the guitar. It was pretty fun to listen to him play.”
With several guitar players and a drummer, the only thing an aspiring Stars band would need is a front man. Two members agree that one of their current teammates has one of the better voices in the room and would be perfect in that role but he’s not so sure.
“Maybe you should ask my girlfriend,” Nystrom joked. “She doesn’t think the pipes are so good. I always say to these guys, if you need somebody to sing, I’ll sing. I love doing karaoke but that doesn’t mean I’m necessarily good at it.”