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.
Scott Kelly is the co-founder of Neurosis, the (at this point) age-old owners of a music so severe and uncompromising that to talk about it in terms of “heavy metal” almost misses the point of their two-decade existence: that we’re all facing a date with non-existence. And dealing with mortality and its many-splendored manifestations can safely include all of the measures that Neurosis has taken, both collectively and individually, to insure a continued existence (as long as the lord and good luck allows). From moving as far off the grid as they can go and hunting and raising their own food to maintaining a touring schedule that would make Nietzsche proud, Kelly and the other four members of Neurosis make good on any promise to “keep it real.” Which, fortunately for us, includes Kelly’s deep-seated obsession with another type of survival mechanics: MMA.
Song: "It Took the Night to Believe"
Artist: Sunn O)))
Fightland: Why that song?
Scott Kelly: It instantly drops into the place I need to be. And imagine it over the PA in an arena? It would destroy. The crowd would be paralyzed.
What do you think makes a great walkout song in general?
I think it has to set the tone.
That tone being destroying and paralyzing.
How/when did you first get into MMA?
UFC 1. I couldn’t get to a TV quick enough to see what it was all about.
Are you training now?
No. I have in the past a bit. I did boxing when I was a kid. My dad was a boxer. I trained some BJJ a little in the past but I don’t have time to train right now. I would like to again. I think it’s completely fascinating.
Do you think it would actually add to the experience to have music playing during the fight?
I think that would horrible unless it was classical music, in which case it would be amazing.
What's the best walkout song you've ever heard?
Matt Hughes had the best one I’ve ever heard ("A Country Boy Can Survive," by Hank Williams Jr.). It fit him like a glove. You knew it was on as soon as you heard it.
Are there any fighters whose walkout songs have actually made you hate them?
Well, not for eternity, but the first one that comes to mind is Chuck Liddell coming out to Vanilla Ice’s metal version of "Ice Ice Baby." That was so fucking lame. And he got his ass handed to him by Randy [Couture] that night so in the end it worked in my favor, as I have always been a Randy Couture supporter.
Check out these other installments of our "My Walkout Song" series:
UFC Origins: 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.