Tailgate Corner: Music Makes Cyclone Tailgating Second to None

By Madelynne Garrett:

Iowa State tailgating has always been a beloved tradition of Cyclones fans, and many Cyclones agree that nothing makes a good tailgate quite like playing the right music. Walking through the various parking lots around Jack Trice, fans will be sure to hear music ranging from country to pop to old school rock and roll.

“I try to keep it different than what everybody else has around here, so I have to do the Jake McDonough and Tech N9ne song,” said Michael Kemp, a Cyclone fan and tailgating regular. “Our tailgate usually always starts and ends with that song. I try to do stuff that people haven’t heard of but that is still vibin’ music for a tailgate. I lean more towards pop and blues, something that is grooving and makes people feel good.”

Cyclones not only know how to tailgate, but they also know how to create the perfect playlist that not only mixes things up, but also gets each other pumped up for game time and creates a sense of community amongst fellow Cyclones.

“As it gets closer to the start of the game, we like to play faster songs just to get people more pumped up and the music gets really loud as we get closer to game time,” said Clint Smallei, a 1993 Iowa State graduate. “We do have people who will sometimes come up for requests, and we also have some people who try to sneak some country in here when I have my back turned.”

Marching BandFans across Cyclone nation also look forward to the Iowa State marching band as it resembles true ISU pride and gets fans excited for the game. Although it may not be what most people have on their playlists, the songs played by the ISU marching band generate a sense of timeless tradition.

“70’s and 80’s rock pumps us up and gets us ready to watch Iowa State; however, the other thing that pumps us up is the Iowa State marching band,” Jeff Clark, another regular in the lots at home games. “They are the pride of ISU and they fire us up. We are definitely longtime fans of the ISU marching band. It’s fun to bring back 70’s and 80’s music to mix things up and we’ve found that some of the students here like the older music, but nothing beats the ISU marching band’s line up.”

Many fans have a tradition as to what they play at each game, whether it be what’s played first, certain songs that are a must, or in how they set up their equipment. Music creates a sense of nostalgia and can often times be associated with fond memories, therefore fans like to play certain songs that will get everyone excited and in the mood for game day.

“Before each game, my friend sends me requests that I then put on discs and play over our portable speakers. Then we also have certain songs that we have to play every game day – you have to have ‘Hold My Hand’ by Hootie, it’s the most important. And we always play some Pit Bull and 38 Special. I like mixing different songs. Everybody really gets into it,” said Ryan Zastrow, a 2007 ISU graduate.

Season ticket holder, Jeff Clark and his family have a tradition of playing the national JeffClark_AndFansanthem as the first song they play and the ISU fight song as the last song they play of the day. Clark explains, “When we get here, first thing in the morning, we raise the flag and we play the national anthem as the flag goes up. A lot people in the neighborhood here will come over and take their hats off and watch as we play the national anthem, it’s a tradition.”

Having the right equipment can make all of the difference. Many fans play their playlists over portable speakers, car stereo systems, and iPod speakers. Fans also use multiple different mediums of music, whether that be through iTunes, disc burning, YouTube videos, or even just playing their favorite radio station.

Clint Smallei“We have a 670-watt mixer, 1000-watt speakers, and we also have iTunes on our laptop,” Smallei said. “We like to play YouTube music videos through a TV that we have hooked up to the sound system.”

While many teams may argue that their fans have the best tailgating around, it is clear that the Iowa State Cyclones hold the key to creating the best experience by providing a little bit of everything for fellow fans to get amped up to. If you have not already, next time you are tailgating stop to hear the tunes – you may find something new to add to your playlist and you will definitely meet some of the greatest fans.

Ten Recommended Tailgate Songs by Iowa State Fans:

  1. Uptown Funk-Bruno Mars
  2. All I Do is Win-DJ Khaled
  3. Thunderstruck-AC/DC
  4. Pump it Up-Elvis Costello
  5. Moves Like Jagger-Adam Levine
  6. Watch Me-Silento
  7. Timber-Pitbull
  8. Hold My Hand-Hootie and The Blowfish
  9. All My Life-Foo Fighters
  10. Poker Face-Lady Gaga
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