Hey DJ! Why MLS goal king Jeff Cunningham listens to Yo Gabba Gabba

Jeff Cunningham | Hey DJ

Photo Credit: 
USA TODAY Sports

Ever wonder which new bands the stars of MLS listen to? Curious who they’d invite over for a fantasy dinner party? Then join Jon Langford, bass player for The Chevin, as he riffs with Major League Soccer’s biggest names.

The DJ today is Jeff Cunningham, whose status as the all-time MLS goal king is on the verge of being usurped by LA Galaxy forward Landon Donovan. The Jamaican-born ace talks about his piano-playing dreams, Yo Gabba Gabba! and the worst song ever. 


Growing up in Jamaica, what music did you listen to? 

It varied from reggae to dance hall to gospel, even a little bit of country because my mother was into it. I listen to all genres of music, but I prefer an uplifting, positive message.

You left Jamaica for the States at 14. Did you get to go to any shows before you left? 

Yes. We have a big show in Jamaica called Sumfest. It’s an annual event that lasts a week and everybody looks forward to it because artists come from all over. You go and you get a spot and you can listen to music and party all day from sunup to sundown for a week straight. As a young teenager I wasn’t allowed to stay out too late, but I snuck back out a couple of times.   

Who is your favorite band or artist of all time?

There’s an artist called Garnett Silk. He’s passed away now, but he was once talked about as the next Bob Marley. Bob Marley is a legend, but Garnett Silk was doing it around my time.

Do you play any instruments?

This is on my bucket list of things to do. I’ve always wanted to learn how to play piano. I never got around to it because of football, but piano is one of the things I hope to master before my time on this earth is up.  Well, maybe not master, but hopefully be able to play a little tune, you know?   

What was the last album or single you bought?

I buy a lot of reggae underground stuff and I just bought a reggae mixtape, but the last proper album I bought was The Blueprint by Jay-Z.

What’s the most embarrassing song on your iPod?

(Laughs.) My daughter has taken over my iPod so there’s a lot!  I’d say it’s probably “Shake Your Sillies Out.”

I have no idea what that is… 

“Shake Your Sillies Out” by Yo Gabba Gabba! It’s a kids’ show. I’ll be working out and all of a sudden Yo Gabba Gabba! comes on. 

Sounds frightening. Is there a certain track you listen to when you want to get pumped up before a big game?

“Let’s Go” by Calvin Harris. There’s a certain energy to it that gets me going. 

Which musicians, dead or alive, would you have over for a fantasy dinner party and why?

Well, my daughter would want me to invite Taylor Swift, so I’d be in trouble if she didn’t show up. (Laughs.)  But for me, I’m a big fan of Jay-Z and I like his story.  He came from nothing and I respect that. I like those types of story, when someone comes from nothing. I think he’s an inspiration. 

In your opinion, what’s the worst song of all time?

Ke$ha – “Die Young.” 

No hesitation. Why?

I tend not to like these songs with a rap in that’s just nonsense, you know, where the music has no content. I try to avoid listening to music like this because I believe it’s important to filter what I allow to enter my subconscious.

Finally, which song should be used in a montage of your game? In other words: What’s your Rocky theme tune?

“Dream” by Popcaan.