Catching Up With Nick Barnett


On the field he's known as Nick Barnett,

It's the opposing running back you'll see him get.

But off the field he'll give your ears some treats,

Transforming into producer/DJ Nick Beats.

He's got his own studio and his own turntable,

Maybe one day he'll have his own record label.

He has over 1,000 records that he holds dear,

Not bad for a guy who made 112 tackles last year.

Add three picks and you've got Packer rookie lore,

Who knows what he'll do for an encore?

For the time being, Nick's chillin' in Green Bay,

But we caught up with him for this Q&A. Where are you spending your time this offseason?

Barnett: Green Bay. It's my first offseason here, so I'm staying. I'll go back to California to see my parents and family.

You've been able to experience the Bears-Packers rivalry. Going into your second season, can you explain what it's like?

It's just exciting. The fans get real excited about it, the players get excited about it, the coaches get excited about it. It's one of those things you cannot match in the NFL. I don't know if there's anything that's more exciting than that rivalry ... except for the Super Bowl.

Packers fans aren't quite like other fans around the league. What's the most unique story you can share about a run-in you've had with a Packer-Backer?

I haven't seen too much crazy stuff, but I run into fans a lot that ask me to sign crazy stuff. I've signed cars to a band aid. The woman couldn't find anything in her purse except for a band aid! They're just so excited about our team. And you know how in training camp the kids line up with their bikes offering to give us rides to the field. It's a sight to see.

I've heard quite a bit about your alter ego, Nick Beats. You DJ and make your own mixes?

Well, what I do right now is produce songs, but my focus now is to make beats. My turntables are still in Oregon but I have a little studio here with keyboards and a drum machine.

And you have over 1,000 vinyl albums? Which ones in your collection are you most proud of?

Yeah, 1,000-plus vinyls. I got B.B. King, Johnny "Guitar" Watson, Ella Fitzgerald, Parliament Funkadelic, Roger & Zapp ... all that type of stuff.

What advice can you give to people who want to get into being a DJ?

Know the counts of the beats. It's really not as easy as people think when you're trying to be a good DJ. You have to make every beat match when you're mixing. You really have to have a good notion of tempo and rhythm.

Do you have anything to say to people who don't consider rap music "real" music because they don't use any instruments?

What is a real instrument? The turntable is an instrument. There are so many different instruments that aren't necessarily needed to make up a band, but they make music anyway. I use everyday sounds like my door closing -- I can sample that and loop that. Anything can be an instrument.

Changing gears completely, what's your favorite type of cheese?

Man, I guess I'd say cheddar.

Is the whole "cheesehead" thing overdone in Green Bay, or is there a lot of cheese up there?

There is a lot of cheese here, and cheese curds are a delicacy. But I think out-of-town people blow it just a little bit out of proportion.

Are you a cat person or a dog person?

Dog person. I just got a new dog named Kane, cause he's all white like sugar cane, but I spelled it with a "K." He's a pitbull.

What's your favorite movie?

Ocean's Eleven.

The old version or the new version?

I like them both.

What did they do wrong in the new one compared to the old version? Maybe something they missed on?

Hmm. They didn't have Sammy Davis Jr. in the new one. (laughs)

Who was the toughest running back you went up against last year?

LaDainian Tomlinson. He's just so versatile and can do so many things at that position. He's a great player and a great guy.

The Packers wrapped up minicamp a few weeks back. How does the team look?

I thought we looked good. Ahmad Carroll, our first-round pick, did well. There's a lot of potential there. I also thought Joey Thomas did very well. He looks promising to me.

I hear Carroll is pretty fast.

Yeah, he is. I haven't raced him yet, but I plan on doing it.

Other than a Super Bowl, what are your goals for the 2004 season?

To help my team out as much as possible, be a leader, and the Pro Bowl is always a goal.

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