As Matt Lashoff strolled into practice one morning, he heard a familiar voice coming from over the locker room radio -- his teammates had gotten a hold of a song the young defenseman had just recorded and gave the aspiring musician a pleasant surprise.
“I think they like it," said Lashoff with a grin. "If they didn’t like it at least a little, I don’t think they would have been playing it."
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Some might be tempted to say that Matt Lashoff was born to play -- music.
His father, a guitar player, has always been passionate about song and Matt’s older cousins played instruments as well. So as a young boy, Matt started to play too.
At first Matt wanted to be like his cousins, who played drums, and began to bang away on a set that had found their way into the Lashoff residence. He even began to take lessons.
That didn't last long.
“The drums were my cousins,” he smirked. “He ended up taking them away from me.”
Which probably made his mother happy, but the relative silence in the Lashoff household was, like his stint with percussion, short lived.
Matt went right for the next available instrument – the guitar.
“I picked it up at 10 or 11 (years-old) and took right to it," he said. "I started playing right then and just never stopped.”
By that age “Lash” was not as willing to want to take instructions anymore, and began to teach himself how to play the six-string. And though his dad played guitar and his younger brother picked it up a little after he did, Matt says he went at mostly by himself.
All that changed when he left his home in East Greenbush, New York to play prep school hockey at Avon Old Farms School in Connecticut.
“There were a couple of guys at Avon Old Farms that loved playing together and we had a couple of bands,” Matt explains. “That is were I really learned a lot of what I know.”
Lashoff continued to hone his licks as he moved on from Avon Old Farms to Michigan, where he played for the US National Development Team before spending three years in the Ontario Hockey League with the Kitchener Rangers.
Ironically, it wasn’t until he arrived in Providence last year, ready to take his next step on ice, that he really began to get serious about taking the next level with his music. And, along with a friend in Rhode Island, Matt spent most of his spare time last season working on his own CD.
Matt Lashoff #49 of the Boston Bruins skates with the puck against the Ottawa Senators on November 11, 2006 at TD Banknorth Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Besides a "major" interruption -- a 12 game call-up to the big club in Boston -- Lash could be found in the studio writing and recording his tracks. Just like his hockey career, things moved pretty quickly. He even had a couple of songs finished and up on the Internet (which is probably how his teammates got a hold of it), until he suffered a neck injury in the very last game of Providence's regular season.
After the injury, Matt took some time off from music to focus on his hockey recovery and when the dust settled, he was away from Providence, away from the recording studio, and his musical partner had moved away to Seattle.
Lashoff admits that while it will now take longer than he originally hoped, he still plans on finishing his project.
But the young D-man has another big project in mind for the time being.
“Making the Bruins is the main thing for me right now, so music’s kind of on hold,” said Lashoff during this summer's Development Camp. “It’s slowed down for sure, but I’m still trying to find time to work on it whenever I can.
“It is going to be tough, but every chance I get I am writing songs.
"So if I can get some more studio time that would be awesome," he said.
Injury aside, it’s amazing he finds anytime to even write songs in the first place. Besides being a professional athlete, Lash is also an avid outdoorsman and can often be found heading to the woods and water to fish, hike, surf, and water ski.
But, next to hockey, Lashoff explained that music trumps all.
“I grew up outdoors, but there is still always a guitar next to me,” said Matt. “There are always guitars hanging around everywhere, because me, my dad, and my brother play, so we have about eight. So whenever you are thinking of something there is usually one nearby.”
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Whenever it arrives, the CD will most likely feature just Matt on vocals and the guitar, adding some drum and bass here and there himself as well.
Sure, he would love to have a full band backing him, but it is hard to get a steady group of guys together when you are in and out of the area as much as he is.
And the songs will be in the style of his all-time favorite musicians, The Allman Brothers Band, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and Kenny Wayne Shepard -- tastes that were passed down from his dad.
“I love that stuff,” he said. “My dad grew up on the old blues kind of thing, and I just fell in love with it too.
“I’m kind of the black sheep with it though, my brother likes it, but not really any of my other friends,” he added.
“Once people here it though they tend to like it. They just don’t know it’s out there. So I try and open doors for people to it.”
Lashoff will also try and open doors to record shops when the CD is finally ready to hit the shelves.
“I would love to kind of circulate it around," he mused. "I suspect that the fans that support me on the ice will be the first to get it.
"So as soon as we can get it out, maybe we can sell it in some rinks first.”
In the meantime, Lashoff will continue to chip away at the album whenever he can find time between his off-season workouts and his trips to the Great Outdoors.
Whether the CD makes any noise in the industry or not (he has been getting positive feedback from fans visiting his Myspace page), Matt would still be happy just having music in his life.
“I am lucky to have my dad and brother to practice with at home,” said Lash. “We have a lot of long jams, like the old Allmans (Allman Brothers Band).
“We moved our amps and stuff upstairs (a now vacant apartment attached to their house) so we don’t disrupt my mother too much,” he added with a laugh.
No matter how well work on the CD goes, chances are good that Lashoff will be disrupting opposing forwards in an arena near you -- and maybe someday he'll be bouncing music off walls in those same arenas in the distant future.