Music — July 24, 2019 12:32 — 0 Comments

Sonics Great Detlef Schrempf On Music, Money And Matrimony

It’s been 20 years since Seattle SuperSonics legend, Detlef Schrempf, suited up in the green and gold, but that hasn’t stopped the former All-NBA player from making a home in the Emerald City area (Bellevue, technically), where the German-born sharp-shooter lives, plays golf and works at an investment firm, Coldstream Capital. I caught up with Schrempf at Third Culture Coffee in Old Bellevue to ask him about the music he listened to when he hooped, his favorite Seattle bands in college and who decides on the soundtrack in an NBA locker room.

Did you ever make mixes when you were a young player?

I made them all the time in the old days when you had to listen to music on the radio, when the cassette recorders first came out. Or you played them on the turntable and recorded it that way. But there were no links, there were no cables. That was back in Germany. When I came over here [to Seattle], I did make cassettes and it was pretty much all of the good old Motown stuff. Then it moved up to the Luther Vandross, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson era.

Would you give them to people or were they for you?

I listed to them in the car or on the road. I played in Europe every summer, so I made tapes to take with me. I had a little boombox and I traveled with it. Different tapes, one was more for upbeat, one was more for mellow. I would send my wife tapes when she was in Germany. So, it was all different combinations of it. I listened to different kinds of music but there was more of a focus on R&B in college, for sure. That’s what we all listened to. We played pick-up ball everywhere and there was always R&B playing.

Were there bands in Seattle that you learned to love in your high school and college years playing here?

Oh yeah: Pearl Jam, Nirvana. I listened to all of them. I wouldn’t say I was the crazy fan like a lot of Seattle people were in the Grunge era. Because I was on the sports side so, again, we listened to R&B. But you couldn’t not follow them because they were right here. Over the years my tastes changed. I listen to a variety of stuff. I listen to a lot of Country Music now. But I still do a lot of R&B, hip-hop, Motown is always good to go back to. I listen to a lot of stuff.

Do you make online playlists now for your wife and kids?

No, but my oldest does. He has a Spotify account that he posts. He likes a lot of stuff, so it’s very diverse. But I’ve gotten too lazy. I just pick a playlist on Spotify or Amazon Prime, like, here’s a Latino mix. I listen to a lot of that when I workout, the upbeat dance music stuff. I go to Cabo, so I listen to a lot of Latino stuff. Or, if I go play golf, I put Country on. Or, if I’m sitting by a pool and smoking a cigar, we typically listen to anything.

You’ve done a lot of cycling in your life. What do you put on to bike long distance?

When I cycled, I don’t do it anymore, but I used to have a playlist. Mostly, if I did a time trial for 45 minutes, it would be really upbeat, up-tempo music. Other than that it would mostly be R&B stuff.

You played for a few teams in your career – Portland, Indiana, Seattle, Dallas. Was the music different in those arenas?

Well, when I started in Dallas there was no real music; they didn’t pump the arena full of music back then. It’s changed a lot over the years. As teams, we played music in the locker rooms but it was all across the board, though mostly R&B, hip-hop, rap.

What is the etiquette for music in the locker rooms, who gets to decide?

Majority wins, typically. [Laughs]

Are there songs you listen to when you feel homesick for Germany?

Homesick? No. It’s been, like, 30 years.

What was your wedding song?

That’s a good question! I should know that! Our anniversary is next week. I wonder if my wife remembers?

You work to help athletes invest and secure their finances. What advice would you give a musician who wants to do the same?

The concept is the same for anybody. It doesn’t matter how much money you have. It’s trying to figure out how to save to prepare for the next phase of life and manage your spending. It’s pretty easy, when you look at the math it’s pretty easy. But the more complex your life is, the more complicated it can be. If you have kids, if you have to take care of siblings or parents or if you travel a lot, if you have businesses in different states. Life can get very complex, typically for entertainers and athletes, life is complex because they’re on the road, they have to deal with passport issues, taxation issues and a lot of them have family stuff going on. So, there’s a lot of planning involved. For all of us, the earlier you can start with a plan and where things are and where you want to go, the better it is. So, it’s all across the board.

Is there a band or style of music that you discovered recently?

We used to go to a lot of concerts but I don’t go to that many anymore. I still go to some country small venue concerts with friends, so I go and stand by the stage. But I love entertainers. Say what you want to say about Michael Jackson but he was awesome in concert. Bruno Mars is awesome. He’s an awesome performer. I love watching people perform. Even if you’re not the greatest fan of the music, you can get really excited about the show.

Do you think you like performance because you were also a physical performer for much of your life?

I just appreciate when people really have a passion for what they do and they show that and get the people involved. Even [the rapper] Pitbull. I went to a concert where – I love the music, but I kind of go, “It’s 20 people half-dressed in the back.” There’s a lot of folks on stage! But you’re dancing to it. You can’t help yourself. I used to love going to Luther Vandross concerts. He acted out every song on stage it was just incredible.


Jake Uitti is a founding editor of The Monarch Review.

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