Walk into just about any high school football team’s locker room in 1997 and you might have heard any number of AC/DC’s hits blaring from a CD player.
Some things never change.
Despite forming in 1973, the rockers, who hail from Australia, remain a staple for young athletes preparing for gridiron battles.
“I catch some of the guys listening to the same stuff we did, and I absolutely love it,” said Nick Wold, who played quarterback and defensive back at Mariner High School in the late 1990s.
Wold now teaches at Monroe High School, where he was an assistant coach with the football team from 2003-08, and the Bearcats’ head basketball coach from 2008 through the 2012 season.
While bands such as AC/DC, Metallica and Guns and Roses have found timeless niches among many football teams, it doesn’t mean the popular music of today is being ignored.
“Some of (the music) is the same, and some of it’s different,” Jackson head football coach Joel Vincent said. “Eighteen years ago it might be AC/DC’s ‘Back in Black,’ or it might have been something more grunge. Grunge was the thing back in the 90s. Now, AC/DC might be a common thread and it’s played in the pregame, but it’s followed by a more modern artist.
“As the kids would say, ‘Coach, some of it’s old school, and some of it’s new school.”
Vincent’s son Tynan, who will be a senior at Marysville Getchell, said it isn’t uncommon for rapper 2 Chainz to be played in the Chargers’ locker room.
The elder Vincent said some of the newer music his son and his players listen to is lost on him.
“I would guarantee that it would not be music that me, or probably any of my assistant coaches, would listen to on the way home,” he said with a laugh.
If 2 Chainz represents “new school” in the rap genre, some of its “old school” artists could be heard at Mariner when Wold was a player, or at Monroe while he was a coach.
“There wasn’t a lot of country (music) being played in our locker room (at Mariner),” Wold said. “There was a lot of Biggie (Nortorious B.I.G.), 2Pac (Tupac Shakur), (Dr.) Dre — West Coast rap, stuff like that. It was kind of cool seeing kids out in Monroe enjoying those types of (artists). It definitely made me feel not as old. I was pleasantly surprised that they still listen to some of those guys.”
Just as today’s athletes listen to a mix of older and new artists, so did the athletes of the late 90s. Some pregame songs stood the test of time, others did not.
“The late 90s had some bad music, man,” former Cascade head football coach and Everett player Joe Cronin said. “Korn was huge. The Backstreet Boys. It was a weird time. You had the Backstreet Boys and Limp Bizkit. We had AC/DC and Metallica, which is still tolerable now.”
It remains to be seen which artists will be tolerable in another 17 years.
Aaron Lommers covers prep sports for The Herald. Follow him on Twitter at @aaronlommers and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.