Whether kicking for the Jacksonville Jaguars or playing John Mayer with a Fender Strat in his lap, 28-year-old Jaguars kicker Josh Lambo has a technique — don’t overthink.
At 15, Lambo needed to take an elective class at school and didn’t think twice when his principal proposed learning to play an instrument. He chose guitar because he grew up to the melodies his dad would play on one.
Then Lambo bought his first guitar at a Sam Ash in Bradenton, the same year he practiced often with Everton F.C. in England as a trialist on the team with the likes of U.S. National Team goalkeeper Tim Howard and was considered one of the top goalkeeper prospects in the country.
After breaking Texas A&M football records as a kicker, a couple seasons with the Chargers and contributing to the Jaguars’ recent success in the AFC South, the music hasn’t stopped.
Shaquille O’Neal released 1993s Shaq Diesel, New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist has shred to Guns n’ Roses on guitar on “The Tonight Show” with Jimmy Fallon and it’s just a matter of time until Lambo gets his lucky break.
Void kicked it last month with Lambo to talk about his passion for music and his favored axe.
Sitting down to play guitar and going out on the field to kick are two very different things, but do you find any similarities between the two?
I’ve talked to my musician friends about this, in terms of playing live and being the kicker. You don’t really have a second chance. You hit the note or you miss it, and I either make the kick or I miss it. You kind of always have to be on it.
I definitely think in terms of being in the right mentality of not trying overly hard and just kind of being in a rhythm and the moment certainly helps you when playing any instrument, singing or performing in general. If you’re overthinking, that’s definitely going to hinder your performance I think.
Is there a secret network of professional athletes who play music?
I think you definitely start to figure out, once you’ve been in a locker room long enough, who does the same things you do.
I had a really good connection with Joe Barksdale with the Chargers. He just released his own album actually. He’s kind of been on the circuit in L.A. on local news channels promoting his music. I’ve played with him a couple of times.
I know Carson Tinker plays here. I haven’t had a chance to play with him yet, but he’s been super busy with a new child.
With you on guitar, who are three other Jaguar players you’d want in your band?
Gosh. I know Carson [Tinker] plays guitar, but I feel like he would be a killer drummer just because he’s freakin’ a lunatic. I’d love to see Calais [Campbell] on an upright bass. That would just sit well with him because he would probably be taller than the bass. And, shoot, guys don’t sing in this locker room. Tommy Bohanon is sitting right next to me. He sings, but not very good. I know Telvin [Smith] sings quite a bit, so maybe we’ll put him on vocals, just because he’s one of the few people I’ve actually heard belt out a tune or two.
Acoustic or electric?
I have both. My preference for a long time has been acoustic, but I find myself playing my electric a lot more. I just recently got a Fender Strat, because John Mayer plays it. His guitar style is just freakin’ incredible. You can say what you want about his personality, but that dude can freakin’ play a guitar.
What kind of Strat?
It’s got red sunburst.
Which other instruments are in your collection?
Megan [Lambo’s fiance] got me a harmonica last preseason. I had every intention of picking it up being stuck in traffic in L.A., but we all know that didn’t really work out very well.
I have two other acoustics. One is a Takamine acoustic and the other is custom Martin that has a retro top on it — I think there were only 100 made. I’m a sucker for limited issue anything. If you told me this banana was one of nine that came from this particular tree that doesn’t exist anymore, I’m going to want to buy them. I’m that way with watches, too. Watches are not very kind to my bank account.
Which song gets you pumped before a Jags game?
This season I kind of went back and forth. I listened to a lot of Kings of Leon. Toward the end of the season I listened to a lot of EDM just because it zones me out a little bit.
If I absolutely needed a song this season, it would be “Find Me” by Kings of Leon … sorry, I’ve got my fiancee here and it’s getting a little emotional. For one, it’s a great song, and two, it just reminds me of her. She’s supported me a whole lot through the process. I’m crying just looking at her.
It’s a huge success story, for me personally this year, and she’s such a massive part of that. It’s very unlikely how we met, started dating and now we’re getting married in this season. I’m really pumped about it, and the song just really gets me going. It kind of fires me up.
If you only had three albums to listen to for the rest of your life, what would they be?
Strange Trails by Lord Huron, Johnnyswim’s Christmas album because I freakin’ love it. Johnnyswim is actually from Jacksonville and I’ve become very good friends with him. One more album … I feel like I need to go through my Spotify here. Bon Iver. His second album titled Bon Iver.
Lord Huron will keep me going upbeat, Johnnyswim just because it’s Christmas music and there’s always a time for that. And then Bon Iver for when I’m contemplating the meaning of life, which happens not as often as it probably should.
I just recently got into Bon Iver. That album 22, A Million is great.
Yeah it’s interesting hearing his progression from all his albums. The first one, For Emma, Forever Ago, was very raw. You could tell his intentions and emotions in the album. Then Bon Iver came out, which was like very refined and very like, “holy crap, this dude is legit.” Then he comes out with 22, A Million, which is very odd and strange. But the more you listen to it, the more it grows on you for sure.
I was actually listening to that when we were on the way back from vacation. It was rainy, kind of somber and I was like “Okay, I could have some intense thoughts right now.”
What is your go-to cover song when you’re at a party with a guitar in your lap?
“Slow Dancing in a Burning Room.” The intro to that is just so freakin’ delicate and intimate, and the solo is just freakin’ killer.
I know you just moved here, but where is your favorite place to catch a show in Jacksonville?
The only one I’ve been to is at Daily’s Place at a Kings of Leon concert. It was awesome. It sounded great, there’s not a bad seat in the house. It was a really good show. I got some really good pictures at it and we’re definitely excited to go back there.
I’m also looking forward to being able to enjoy Jacksonville in the offseason. If there’s a show on a Wednesday night, I won’t have to worry about kickoff the next day and being in bed by 9:30 p.m. I’m looking forward to checking out all the venues.
If your music career takes off at some point in your life, where would you like to one day perform?
So I lived just up the street from Belly Up in Solana Beach my second year with the Chargers, so I went there quite a bit. That’s where I met Johnnyswim and Lord Huron. I’m actually quite familiar with the green room there. Just because of the relationships that have formed at that place, it would certainly mean a lot to me.