The walkout song is a time-honored tradition in MMA. It's also a delicate balancing act. The perfect song has to pump a fighter up while settling his/her nerves, appeal to the crowd without appearing to pander. "My Walkout Song" is where we ask MMA fans who also happen to be famous musicians what makes for great pre-fight music and what song they would choose to accompany their walk to the cage.
As one half of the candy-sweet indie surf-pop band Best Coast, Bobb Bruno might not be the first person you'd expect to be into the decidely un-sweet world of mixed martial arts. But Bobb was searching for hard-to-find MMA tapes in his native Los Angleles back when many of the UFC's biggest names were still toiling away in Japan as part of the now-defunct but forever-legendary Pride Fighting Championship. And though Bobb has been pretty hard to nail down since Rolling Stone put Best Coast's second full-length, The Only Place, on its list of the best albums of last year, we were able to get him on the phone in between the band's recent tour of Australia and their upcoming tour in support of fellow California melodists Green Day.
Fightland: Why did you choose "Battery"?
Bobb Bruno: It has that cool acoustic intro that is so calming, and then when the heavy, thrash part comes in I get completely pumped up. It's the perfect balance of the two. I'm actually surprised no fighter uses "Battery." They always use "Enter Sandman."
It's funny, I wouldn't generally associate Best Coast and Metallica, though I have noticed pictures of your bandmate, Bethany Cosentino, in a Metallica T-shirt.
I know, but It's two different worlds, but they were one of my favorite bands growing up, and it just mentally prepares me. (Also, Best Coast played the Metallica-curated Orion Music + More festival last February.)
Do you think the song that would get you mentally prepared to play music, say, or run 10 miles could be the same song to get you mentally prepared to cause pain and have pain caused upon you?
Well, I haven’t been in a real fight since I was in elementary school, so it’s hard to say. But that song definitely goes back to when I was a teenager and I would feel that way, just ready to fight anybody.
So, do you still listen to "Battery," or did you choose it because you associate it with a time in your life when you were more ready to fight?
Nope, I still listen and it still gets me. They're actually one of the most-played bands in the van when we're on tour.
How did you get into MMA?
I started watching in the early 2000s. There’s a comic book/swap meet that happens in LA and this guy was selling these Best in Japan tapes that were mainly pro wrestling. I was really into pro wrestling back then. But on one of the tapes there was footage of the old Pride shows. It was the fight where Mirko Cro Cop broke Bob Sapp's orbital bone with, like, one punch. And me and my friend were watching that and were like, “Holy shit! We have to start watching this stuff!” Once I got into it, I never looked back. I would go to Japanese video stores and find Pride VHS tapes to rent. When they finally brought Pride to American pay-per-view, I used to get all of them. Then eventually I got into the UFC, too.I used to buy all the wrestling pay-per-views but pretty soon I was gettting MMA pay-per-views instead. I still like wrestling but MMA took over for me.
Do you train?
No. I’ve thought about it a lot because I’m so into MMA and really fascinated with grappling and jiu-jitsu. But in the back of my mind, I always imagined myself going the first day and breaking my arm and not being able to tour. That’s always stopped me because I would go nuts if I couldn’t play music.
Check out these other installments of our "My Walkout Song" series:
The Mixed Martial Arts of Victorian London
Before BJJ, there was Bartitsu.
Jonathan Maicelo: The Last Inca
Peru's up-and-coming boxing star.
Kron Gracie on Jiu-Jitsu, Skateboarding, Older Brothers, and Famous Fathers
The ties that bind are strong.
Joel Tudor on the Art of Surfing, Fighting, and Style
A surf icon helps MMA keep its sense of tradition.
Japan's Karate Kid: Kyoji Horiguchi
Japan's brightest MMA prospect.