ESPN Music: Cover Acts

James Stewart talks Rick James shoot

February, 14, 2013
2/14/13
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For ESPN The Magazine's Feb. 18 Music Issue, we persuaded 14 athletes to re-create some of the most memorable album covers. As part of our supplemental coverage on Playbook Sounds, we will be running behind-the-scenes interviews with each athlete, as well as their own personal playlists.

• Athlete: James Stewart, motocross racer
• As: Rick James on "Street Songs" (1981)

Moto X'er James Stewart has an alias, called “Rick” James Stewart. He has been known to make videos of himself and post them online, including this one, from 2008, which took off. Today he had the opportunity to take "Rick James Stewart" to a new level.

How did the nickname “Rick” James Stewart come about?

About four years ago, I came up with “Rick” James Stewart. It was me and my friend just messing around one night and we decided to bust out "Give It To Me Baby." We busted out wigs and the camera and just did a video. We put it online and people just loved it. It blew up and and people started calling me “Rick” James Stewart.

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Jimmie Johnson talks Dylan shoot, playlist

February, 13, 2013
2/13/13
8:45
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video For ESPN The Magazine's Feb. 18 Music Issue, we persuaded 14 athletes to re-create some of the most memorable album covers. As part of our supplemental coverage on Playbook Sounds, we will be running behind-the-scenes interviews with each athlete, as well as their own personal playlists.

• Athlete: Jimmie Johnson, NASCAR driver
• As: Bob Dylan on "The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan" (1963)

What was the selection process like?

Jimmie: I said to my wife, Chani, give me five iconic covers that you think I could re-create. Chani and I kicked around some ideas. From there we tried to see who I looked the most like and where we could go with that. We saw the "The Freewheelin'" cover and there was a woman in the photo, and I thought, that would be something fun we could do together.

What were some of your ideas?

Chani: There was another Bob Dylan cover. I thought about [The Beatles'] "Abbey Road" with the four Hendrick drivers. That would've been cool.

Jimmie: We saw "Freewheelin' " early on, and it just seemed to trump the others. I thought I could look close to Dylan, and I had a tie to New York and the West Village, so it just pulled us into this one.

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MLB stars talk Devo shoot, playlists

February, 12, 2013
2/12/13
7:00
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videoFor ESPN The Magazine's Feb. 18 Music Issue, we persuaded 14 athletes to recreate some of the most memorable album covers. As part of our supplemental coverage on Playbook Sounds, we will be running behind-the-scenes interviews with each athlete, as well as their own personal playlists.

• Athletes: Justin Upton, Atlanta Braves LF; Evan Longoria, Tampa Rays 3B; Brandon Phillips, Cincinnati Reds 2B; Giancarlo Stanton, Florida Marlins RF; Shane Victorino, Boston Red Sox RF
• As: Devo on "Freedom of Choice" (1980)

What do you know about Devo?

Evan Longoria: Nothing.

Giancarlo Stanton: I knew “Whip It” but I didn't know Devo sang it. I didn't know anything about them but with the hats and the outfits I just thought it would be funny.

Brandon Phillips: We acted a fool at the shoot, I was very excited, but I was very surprised they asked me to do it because when I looked at the album cover I didn't see no brothers in Devo [laughs]. And I always play against these guys so I thought it would be fun to be a part of it and act a fool.

Longoria: I thought it was going to be fun, the covers of ESPN are pretty iconic, and it's just something fun to be a part of.

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Ryan Lochte talks Nirvana, music playlist

February, 11, 2013
2/11/13
7:00
AM ET
videoFor ESPN The Magazine's Feb. 18 Music Issue, we persuaded 14 athletes to re-create some of the most memorable album covers. As part of our supplemental coverage on Playbook Sounds, we will be running behind-the-scenes interviews with each athlete, as well as their own personal playlists.

• Athlete: Ryan Lochte, Olympic gold-medal swimmer
• As: The baby on Nirvana’s "Nevermind" (1991)

What was your reaction upon hearing about this shoot?

I was excited because they wanted to shoot me in my element and in water. I was thrilled they wanted me. When I'm in the water, I couldn't be more happy.

What do you know about Nirvana?

I know of Nirvana, and I've listened to a couple of their songs, but it's not on my normal playlist that I would listen to to go to a swim meet.

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NFL trio talk Run-DMC, music playlists

February, 8, 2013
2/08/13
7:00
AM ET
For ESPN The Magazine's Feb. 18 Music Issue, we persuaded 14 athletes to re-create some of the most memorable album covers. As part of our supplemental coverage on Playbook Sounds, we will be running behind-the-scenes interviews with each athlete, as well as their own personal playlists.

• Athletes: Trent Richardson, Cleveland Browns RB; LaMarr Woodley, Pittsburgh Steelers LB; and Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks RB
• As: Run-DMC on "Ultimate Run-DMC" (2003)

What do you know about Run-DMC?

Woodley: Run-DMC, they're the greatest. They started hip-hop, for real.

What's your favorite Run-DMC song?

Lynch: I don't think I'm allowed to say what my favorite song is. I don't think any of us are allowed to say it. We're restricted from saying it. We have a deal with Nike. Nah, man: “My Adidas.”

Woodley: “Walk This Way,” they did it with Aerosmith. I like that.

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Allyson Felix talks Beyonce, playlist

February, 7, 2013
2/07/13
7:00
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Allyson FelixMatthias ClamerThe gold-medal-winning track star plays Beyonce to get in the zone for competition.
For ESPN The Magazine's Feb. 18 Music Issue, we persuaded 14 athletes to re-create some of the most memorable album covers. As part of our supplemental coverage on Playbook Sounds, we will be running behind-the-scenes interviews with each athlete, as well as their personal playlists.

• Athlete: Allyson Felix, Olympic gold-medal sprinter
• As: Beyonce on "Dangerously in Love" (2003)

Why Beyonce?

Well it's actually funny -- everyone says I am a really laid-back and quiet person. I always feel like when I'm on the track I have to get into this alter ego before I run, so I listen to her song "Diva." The song kind of takes me to the other place, to be this other more aggressive person.

I don't consider myself a diva at all, but the song has a bit of an attitude and I inherit that when I step on the track. I think about winning and not really caring about anyone else's feelings and just caring about myself in that moment.

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Josh Freeman talks MJ 'Thriller' shoot

February, 6, 2013
2/06/13
10:12
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videoFor ESPN The Magazine's Feb. 18 Music Issue, we persuaded 14 athletes to re-create some of the most memorable album covers. As part of our supplemental coverage on Playbook Sounds, we will be running behind-the-scenes interviews with each athlete, as well as their own personal playlists.

• Athlete: Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB
• As: Michael Jackson on "Thriller" (1982)

How did this come about?

I have always been a huge fan of Michael Jackson. Loved him since I was little. Our fullback, Erik Lorig, his older sister Analeis and I were hanging out in California, and she said that I need to be doing more things. She always says to me: "Why don't you ever do anything fun?" I'm telling her, "I don't really get out that much." Lo and behold, she knows somebody who was connected to this project and said, "Why not Josh for this?" At the time I had a big ’fro, which looked like the MJ ’fro. It's a little different today, but it just kinda fit and here I am.

Do you realize how much you looked like him?

I hadn't realized. How people view and perceive you is always different than how you view yourself. You're like, I don't look like him, because you look at yourself every day -- but after seeing some of those pictures, it's pretty crazy. I've gotten "Little Michael" and I've gotten "Tito" quite a bit.

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Alex Morgan talks Katy Perry, music playlist

February, 5, 2013
2/05/13
11:37
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For ESPN The Magazine's Feb. 18 Music Issue, we persuaded 14 athletes to recreate some of the most memorable album covers ever. As part of our supplemental coverage on Playbook Sounds, we will be running behind-the-scenes interviews with each athlete, as well as their own personal playlists.

• Athlete: Alex Morgan, U.S. women's national soccer team
• As: Katy Perry on "One of the Boys" (2008)

What was your initial thought on remaking this cover?

When I was brought the idea to recreate an album cover, I was excited about it right away. I've heard some of what the other covers are and it's really cool. It's such a a great idea. And look what I am dressed as -- it's a little ridiculous.

Take me through the selection process.

There were quite a few album covers but not too many female iconic covers -- but I love Katy Perry. There were a couple of other choices but I just gravitated toward this one. The cover is cute and fun. It's a great shoot -- such a fun background and I never get to wear an outfit like this.

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