Aaron Rodgers, Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon sit down at Lambeau to talk tattoos, therapy, music and fame – Green Bay Press Gazette

Posted in Tattoo Shop on Dec 05, 2019

Aaron Rodgers and Justin Vernon of Bon Iver sat down together at Lambeau Field for a new episode of GQ Sports' "One On One" series.(Photo: Courtesy of GQ Sports)

GQ Sports got two of Wisconsins biggest names to sit down together at the states most iconic destination: Aaron Rodgers and Justin Vernon at Lambeau Field.

The Green Bay Packers quarterback and the leader of Grammy-winningEau Claire band Bon Iver talked for a 42-minute episode of "One on One" that covered football, music, therapy, tattoos, travel and fame.

The two first met in 2012 when Rodgers invited Vernon to watch the Tennessee Titans-Packers game from his box at Lambeau. Vernon gave him a 1974 Walnut 335TD guitar that Rodgers said is so badass and that he jams on every now and then.

For Vernon, music is his religion. Its his way of thinking, feeling and understanding himself and the world around him, he told Rodgers.

For Rodgers, music is something he always has on. What hes listening to depends on the day. It could be meditative, instrumental, Amos Lee, Counting Crows or 1990s rap. On game days, Bon Iver is on his pregame song list, which is typically slower music that allows him to work on his breathing and heart rate before a game.

Vernons preconcert ritual is a little different. Maybe a Miller Lite or a ginger whiskey and a lot of walking.

Vernon asked Rodgers about dealing with fame and if he ever has moments where he wishes he wasnt in the public eye.

Totally, I think by nature Im a private person and when that privacy is infringed upon, kind of attacks what you think is your structural boundaries or whatever.I think the freedom comes when you kind of get rid of those boundaries and you find comfort in not being locked away or being a hermit or introvert, Rodgers said.

... I would like to be an extrovert. I would like to be out and about. I enjoy my alone time, but I think some of that fame and notoriety just kind of made me withdraw a little more, and thats where I didnt want to be. I think once I embraced it all and put it in the place that it was, because I think our society glorifies fame and notoriety. Theres a lot of stuff that comes with it. I didnt grow up thinking I want to be rich and famous. I said, I just want to be a great quarterback.

Rodgers talked about coping with adversity that comes with a tough loss and the new energy and new vibe of this years Packers team. Hed like to play until hes at least 40. Vernon wondered if hes ever thought about what he might say one day to the person who is the next Packers quarterback.

How do you not? Rodgers said. I think thats part of it. You have to be a realist and realize (Brett) Favre was here and they traded him away. Jordy Nelson got cut. John Kuhn got cut. Charles Woodson got cut. Its a reality I think that could happen. Hopefully I can play four, five, six more years and ride off into the sunset, but that type of finish to your carer hasnt happened a whole lot.

He mentioned Tom Brady, Derek Jeter and Kobe Bryant as athletes iconic with a franchise for long careers.

I think the biggest thing that Ive learned along the way is you just have to do it your own way, Rodgers said. You cant try to be that other person. You have to understand guys are going to respond to authentic personality and authentic leadership. The only thing that matters is who you are, who do your teammates think you are and will they follow you? Because all that other stuff is just bsfor news stations to talk about ...

RELATED:Bon Iver gets Grammy nominations for Record of Year, Album of Year

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Rodgers is a fan of musicians who also write their own music and asked Vernon what the songwriting process is like for him. Growing up, Vernon said he was in a creative place where the songs came naturally and seemed to fly out of him. He wentthrough a time later in his career in which he had to sit in the studio for years to get enough material to turn into songs.

Bon Iver, up for Record of the Year and Album of the Year for the 2020 Grammy Awards for its fourth album i,i, feels like the band is in a really good place these days.

Its because Ive been able to relent and get rid of a lot of my decision-making and needing to be too hands-on of a leader or any of these things. I just sort of feel like Im one of the cogs in the machine, Vernon said. Now when I go home, the silence is not deafening. Theres actually something Im hearing in my head. Theres something there that I can kind of pull at and see what comes out of it, and that hasnt happened since before all this (success) happened to me.

Justin Vernon has issued four Bon Iver albums on Jagjaguwar, a label based in Bloomington, Indiana.(Photo: Getty Images)

Vernon doesnt ever want to quit playing music. I want to do it forever, he said. That made Rodgers joke that the life expectancy for his career is a little longer than his is in football. He rattled off some of his interests beyond football music, movies, documentaries and travel.

Rodgers plays a little six-string guitar and took a few lessons. The first song he learned to play was Ben Harpers Forever and has played Wagon Wheel for select audiences. Hes even tried to write a few songs, none that he would ever share with anybody.

Well, you can share with me and I can always help you finish off a tune or something, Vernon offered.

I dont want to finish any of those off, Rodgers said. That was back when I was in my early 20s writing about silly stuff.

ContactKendra Meinertat 920-431-8347 or kmeinert@greenbay.gannett.com. Follow her on Twitter @KendraMeinert.

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Aaron Rodgers, Bon Iver's Justin Vernon sit down at Lambeau to talk tattoos, therapy, music and fame - Green Bay Press Gazette

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