A Q&A With MSU Football DJ Jay Bradley

Cowbells Sports Grill restaurant co-owner and Mississippi State sports fan Jay Bradley talks about being the Mississippi State football gameday music disc jockey, a job he took over at the start of the 2008 season.

This is your second year to be the Davis Wade Stadium gameday deejay for Mississippi State football. How did you wind up with that job?
"It came about in a round about way. (MSU athletic department marketing employee) Chad Thomas had talked to Jeff Jones, a big buddy of ours, and I guess they had talked about trying (to find) a new DJ for last year. Chad either asked him about me or asked Jeff if he knew somebody, so Jeff kind of hooked me up with Chad. Chad visited me, then I came to his office and we had a really nice conversation for about an hour. We talked about what I thought was the direction that (MSU) needed to go and he gave his thoughts about what the new administration wanted to lean toward.

"Just by talking to folks I had a decent idea what they wanted as far as songs and atmosphere. I think when (Mississippi State athletic director) Greg (Byrne) came in I think he wanted more unbeat songs.

"One of my first tasks as a DJ was that I had to make a spreadsheet of the songs that I would play at the stadium. There were a lot of older hip-hop songs and a lot of rocking songs, a lot of AC/DC, Van Halen, stuff like that.

"They really didn't want to play some of the older stuff last year, songs like Welcome To The Jungle, and I didn't really play it much last year, although I think Chad is going to let me play more of it this year. They wanted to play the new stuff, which made a lot of sense but when you are 18-years-old you expect to hear Welcome To The Jungle at a stadium because there are certain songs that you expect to hear at a stadium. And later in the year we got back to playing some of the older 80s stuff, some of the more upbeat stuff."

Does the athletic department have to approve the songs that you play?
"They don't necessarily approve them but I give them a spreadsheet at the beginning of the year. I actually started that spreadsheet in mid-summer this year. I got sick and couldn't come to work, but even when I'm sick my mind is still going 90 to nothing so I have to do something. I decided to make out the song list for the football games. I had a lot of the songs from last year and I had a lot of great suggestions but I thought to myself that I would get on (the) Gene's Page (message boards) and ask for help."

Did you receive the help you were looking for?
"I think there were a whole lot of great suggestions that I hadn't even thought about. I'm not saying I'm going to be able to play them all since that post was more or less a request but there were a lot of great suggestions.

"One that I thought was great was Hey Baby by Bruce Channel. It's not a fast, upbeat song but it's a great song to play periodically just to get people up and moving around."

I've interviewed Chad Thomas before and we talked about songs being played before, just prior to and during the game, and he said it would be different style songs for each segment. What will each segment be like as far as the songs that you will play?
"At the beginning of the game, before anybody is in the stadium, when the players are going through their reps I'm completely focusing on the football team. I want to get those players as hyped as they can get. I know my part is small but I want to help where I can."

How did you know what songs to play for the players last year?
"I received requests from (football player) D.J. Looney and some other guys as to what they like to hear. D.J. was a great help last year. Last year, he got me a big list of songs that the players wanted to hear."

Once the games has started how does the music you play change over the course of the game?
"In the first quarter I try to focus in on the alumni and bring everybody together. In the fourth quarter all I'm doing is hitting the student section. I'm trying to get them as pumped up as I possibly can. That's why it changes during the game. I'm trying to pump up different groups at different times.

"Some of the posts in the (Gene's Page) thread said that we should play only what the kids want to hear but I don't agree with that. The alumni bring in a lot of money and they should be able to sit in the stands and enjoy a few of my songs."

Are there any restrictions as to when you can and can't play music?
"I can play music during the timeouts, in between quarters, change of possessions, times like that."

You can't play in between plays?
"The SEC has a rule that doesn't allow you play music in between plays. The (Mississippi State) band is the only one who can do that."

Going back to what you will play during the game, will there be any specific changes in the music that you will play compared to last year's music?
"After seeing the requests and going to Chad (Thomas) and telling him that the fans want to hear Van Halen, AC/DC, the 80s rock, there may be a little more of that implemented this year.

"A lot of people wrote that they wanted to hear a song called Let The Bodies Hit The Floor, a hardcore rock song. I'm curious as to what it will sound like on the big speakers. We only had the big speakers for one game last year so it's still fairly new. The way everything is set up and aimed is great but you still have to know your system before you play certain songs. We are going to test the system a couple of times before the season starts."

What song will you play when the team enters the stadium prior to the start of the game?
"I don't really know exactly what they are going to do. I think (MSU head) Coach (Dan) Mullen, Chad (Thomas) and a few other people on the administration side are going to choose what the entrance video is going to be. I'm sure they will make a great decision."

A lot of folks have asked about Mississippi State doing the SNL cowbells skit during the game. Is there any chance that will happen?
"I really have nothing to do with the video. I've always wondered why we haven't done anything about it. It may have something to do with copyright laws or something like that.

"I actually tried to contact the manager for Will Ferrell to see how much it would cost to get him for the Jackson State game but he wasn't available. Cowbells (Sports Grill) was going to split the cost with the school if we could work it out with Taylor Harris. We just couldn't get the dates worked out. I guess he was working on a movie overseas."

Speaking of Cowbells Sports Grill, you are co-owner of it aren't you?
"Yes sir, I'm one of the owners of it. It's me, my fiancee and my best friend. My fiancee's name is Kim Moss. The other two owners are Blake Williamson and Rick Welch."

Tell me a little about the Cowbells Sports Grill restaurant, which is located in the Highlands Plantation community on the east side of Starkville.
"We've been opened since August 11, 2008. We open at five for dinner, Wednesday through Sunday, and our kitchen is open from 5 to 10. Late night, we serve pizza and wings. That's from 10 until we close. I can't stress enough that we are a restaurant. If you are here, 7, 8, 9 o'clock and you are in your 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s you aren't going to feel uncomfortable.

"We are known as the best place to get wings in Starkville. We have 18 varieties of wings, and they are very, very good. But we have started taking a turn toward being a steak house. We only sell rib eyes at this point, and we may only do rib eyes. We do hand cut rib eyes. Only Saturdays they are $15.99 each. That includes a 12 to 15 ounce rib eye, a salad and a side order. I think that Saturday deal is what has caused us to be considered kind of like a steak house.

"And we are changing the menu and hope to have it up and running October 31st. We took suggestions from folks and are changing it based on some of the requests. We are trying to dial into the food right now to see where our niche is.

"Just because we are such a large place - we can seat 300 and we have over 200 parking spots - we can cater to any group. We've had groups such as church groups, and we just had the (Mississippi State) folks from a weather conference, there were 60 to 80 of them. We had a big buffet for them. Mr. Byrne brought some of his staff - 30 or 40 - here for lunch one day. And away football games here are unbelievable. Every seat in the house was reserved for each away football game so you definitely want to call for a reservation if you want to come here for an away game."

And I noticed you have a large number of televisions even some located at your booths.
"We have 24 televisions, including six 17-inch at the six booths. And we have two large 12-foot televisions. Mississippi State away games will be played on all of the tvs so you can watch Mississippi State play. And bring your cowbells with you. We definitely encourage that. During one away game last year I counted the number of cowbells in here and there were 60. Anytime we did anything good it sounded like you were at a game."

On Saturday and Sunday you have bands play don't you?
"On Saturday the band starts playing at 11 and on Sundays we have acoustic acts that start at nine. The acoustic acts are acts like Jeff and Jeff.

"And on Sunday we have a big shrimp boil that starts at 5 o'clock. We have a guy who drives to the (Mississippi gulf) coast every Sunday morning and picks up about 100 pounds of shrimp. It's really good."

Click here to learn more about the Cowbells Sports Grill.

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.

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