Kevin Wilson’s playlist, 8-tracks, gas weedeaters and more from the radio show

My first introduction to Kevin Wilson’s taste in music came in late July at Joe’s Bar in Chicago. We were there for a Tailgate Tour event after the first portion of Big Ten Media Days, when four of us hopped in a cab and cruised halfway across the city to mingle around.

We were told soon after arriving that the music we were hearing was picked by Wilson himself, the world’s only playlist featuring Toby Keith, the Fugees, Nickelback and 38 Special.

There were others, of course — songs by Led Zeppelin and John Mellencamp — and we were able to leave with our hearts full, knowing exactly what the Indiana football coach has on his stereo for those long recruiting trips across middle America.

Wilson revisited his musical taste on his weekly radio show Wednesday night, sharing with the audience at the Bloomington Holiday Inn some of his pregame musical routines.

“Lot of time playing music during practice, in the locker room, and in this day and age, because everything is so public, you gotta get your G-rated version because you never know who’s walking by the locker room,” Wilson said. “I go back, I’m old enough that my original pregame jam was Boston on the 8-track. Really good song, halfway through the song, you click over from track two to track three. Always have some old school, whether is be some (Bob) Seger, or some Boston. I don’t know some of the names — there’s a couple of new ones that guys like — it’s got a bounce and a bob that gets my head swaggin’ a little. I don’t know the names. It’s kind of the ‘G’ version.

“I remember at Northwestern we had a great win over Michigan one year, scored a lot of points. As we’re driving to the game, ‘Cat Scratch Fever’ came on the radio, so sometimes I’ll go to the radio and it’s like I’m playing odds. If I hear a song that I think that’s one of mine, hey, it’s my day, we’re ready to roll. My favorite channel — my wife will tell you — my favorite channel is “scan” because if I don’t like it, I’m going to the next. I can go from rap to country. I get some Toby Keith, I get some good country, Clayton Anderson. I’m all over the place, but I love good music.”

Wilson also discussed how much music has become a part of today’s football world. Besides the locker room and the gym, it’s a staple of practices, where it serves as a noise simulator and a reward for players who’ve had a good week.

Back when Wilson was a walk-on offensive lineman at North Carolina, that wasn’t the case.

“I remember as a player at North Carolina, they brought the four guys on what we called the ‘F Troop’ — the groundscrew — and they stood behind us with gas weedeaters and the whole time it was like *makes sound mimicking a weedeater* and the carbon monoxide, it wasn’t real good. Then it got into the crowd deal, then it got into songs.

“Sometimes we use music as motivation. Hey, if you’re player of the week, or you got great workouts, you get to pick the songs for the next workout. Little things like that are good motivation deals. Kids are into it. It’s an audio world. When we play our games, sometimes it’s just you gotta learn to communicate when it’s chaos. You’ve gotta learn to hear, you’ve gotta learn to listen, you’ve gotta learn to be loud when it’s a non-sterile environment because when we play it’s not very sterile. … We try to present as much chaos because our game is not sterile and you have to play in a chaotic environment.”

Kevin Wilson’s spotify playlist, courtesy of IU Athletics: