You used to play the guitar in your father's gospel band. When did you start playing and are you any good?
That was actually my dad's job. It was the only job he ever had. He was a musician for 33 years. He traveled around the world playing professional gospel music. I actually started (playing) at about 4. I just kind of started learning my way. I actually started as a drummer, but once I tore up my drum set, my mom and dad decided I needed something a little quieter. So I moved to the guitar.
So were you good at it?
Definitely. I got to meet and play with a lot of people just because of my father's job. I got to meet a lot of really good people. My dad's lead singer and Patti LaBelle's manager were best friends, so we got to travel a lot with them and see the road and be around people like The Drifters and The Isley Brothers. That's a big thing for a kid. Most kids don't get the opportunity like I did.
Obviously, football turned out pretty good. But was music ever an aspiration?
I didn't really start taking music seriously until I was about 13, 14. I was playing football, but there was this local group in my hometown of Bamberg (S.C.) that asked my father if I could play with them locally. He wouldn't let me play because he said I wasn't good enough yet. So about a year and a half passed, and he finally let me go and play outside the house. Some people from a church heard me play, and I kind of started to go to this church and play. That's how I made my money as a high school kid. I played in church on Sunday and with the group on the weekends. It wasn't big money. Maybe $25 or $35 a show. In high school, though, that's plenty of money.
You play football in front of thousands of people. Did you get more nervous playing music for an audience or before football games?
Probably before my first performance. It's a lot different when you're in front of 85,000 people at Clemson with a helmet on than being in front of 6,000 or 7,000 people at a concert and they can see your facial expressions. That was my first stage fright.
Here are my weekly questions. What's playing the most on your iPod right now?
Probably Jay-Z's and Kanye West's (collaboration) album, Watch the Throne.
Who had the better raps?
Jay-Z, by far.
What website do you visit the most?
But you don't tweet very much.
Yeah, I'm just scrolling.
Who is the most interesting person you follow?
(Bucs linebacker) Geno Hayes. Geno tweets every two seconds. I've never seen anything like it. I've never seen anyone get locked out (of their Twitter account) as much as Geno. I hear if you tweet 100 times in an hour, you get locked out. He gets locked out probably two, three times per day.
(Linebacker) Mason Foster said the same thing last week.
Yeah, well, I don't know how (Hayes) does it. It's crazy.
Last weekly question: What reality TV show do you never miss?
I used to watch The Real World. My girl watches Basketball Wives and Single Ladies and all those shows. The Kardashians.
There's so many, aren't there?
Yeah. And I hate Sundays. They all come on back to back to back. I'll be in the front room playing (video) games or something, and she'll be in the other room watching that stuff.
Your father passed away last year. What is the memory of him that sticks with you the most?
Probably that last night I spent with him (in the hospital). That was probably one of the most serious talks me and my father ever had. There was a lot of emotion in it, but I'll tell you this: He got his point across. He prepped me for what happened, and I'm grateful I had that experience.
What's the funniest thing he ever said or did?
My dad was a clown. He would always pop up at my apartment at Clemson asking me where all the women were. I just thought it was crazy. He'd say, "Where are those girls at? I know you got some up in here!" I'd say, "Come on, man." But that was my father. He was always joking around. He wouldn't usually get real serious, but when he was serious, I really knew he was serious.
Stephen F. Holder can be reached at [email protected]