TJ Connelly, a first-string DJ with the Red Sox since 2008, and organist Josh Kantor, who has been tickling the ivories for the team since 2003, are the duo responsible for supplying the soundtrack for America’s favorite pastime at Fenway Park. Here, they go to bat to give us their job highlights before a new season begins.
Best song to get the crowd going?
TJ: In 2013, we turned Drake’s “Started From The Bottom” into a playoff anthem—all fond memories with that track. More recently, I enjoyed the crowd’s response to Tom Petty’s “Won’t Back Down” at the end of last season. Anything that gets people up, singing or both.
Josh: Anything people can sing along to—basic melodies, easy-to-remember lyrics, up-tempo grooves, celebratory themes and cross-generational appeal are helpful. “Tequila” by the Champs is one that checks off a lot of those boxes.
Favorite walk-up song for a current Sox player?
TJ: I have no idea why he chose it, but Hanley Ramirez was walking up to A-Ha’s “Take on Me” at the end of last season and it was fantastic.
Josh: I’m usually too busy learning fans’ song requests to pay close enough attention to all the Red Sox walk-ups that TJ is playing.
If you had a walk-up song, what would it be and why?
TJ: Afrika Bambaata and the Soulsonic Force’s “Looking for the Perfect Beat,” the opening is a perfect walk-up—the subject matter being a perfect match is a happy coincidence.
Josh: Curtis Mayfield’s “Move on Up” and/or Aram Khachaturian’s “Sabre Dance.” I find it impossible not to feel happy and motivated when I hear either of those. And it would be really fun to work up good organ versions of them.
Favorite performance of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game?”
TJ: I can unequivocally say my favorite performer of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” is none other than our own Josh Kantor.
Josh: Of the 1,200-plus times I’ve played it, maybe the most memorable one was when I followed it with the Dead Boys’ “Sonic Reducer” and a punk rocker in the stands immediately sent me a marriage proposal via social media, which I politely declined.
Biggest blunder you’ve ever made during a game?
TJ: I learned how to be a stadium DJ on the job in my first 3-4 years, so I’m sure there’s a few I can’t recall. I do remember playing Warren Zevon’s “Lawyers, Guns and Money” in a pregame once without realizing the fourth verse contains something of a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Josh: Several years ago, a visiting infielder appeared to catch a pop-up for the final out of a Red Sox defeat. The ballpark’s AV producer told me to play something to mark the end of the game. Neither of us noticed that the infielder had bobbled the ball and dropped it and that the game was therefore not yet over. I think I was playing Lead Belly’s “Goodnight, Irene” when the umpire signaled for the next batter to come up.