110 percent: Daniel Presant (PAPA) talks Lakers, Magic and more Lakers


The fifth installment of 110 percent, a series in which I talk to musicians about sports, features Daniel Presant, bassist for PAPA, one of my favorite recent discoveries who put out a fantastic EP, A Good Woman is Hard to Find, in October. Presant is a co-founding member, along with Darren Weiss (Girls), of the Los Angeles-based group, which is scheduled to record new material in June.

Presant replied to an email request for an interview, eager to share his love of the Lakers.

So where did the Lakers fandom come from? Were you born in L.A.?
I was born in New York, lived in New Jersey for two years and moved to L.A. when I was four. Darren was born and raised in L.A. and we’re both both die-hard Lakers fans.

What’s your earliest memory of the Lakers?
Probably when I went to the Forum as kid with my pops. I remember the vibe. I don’t remember the game, though I’m sure I was in awe. It was when they had A.C. Green. That’s my dream — to play at the Forum.

Your dream is to play music or basketball at the Forum?
Music. Considering I’m only 5-9, I don’t think basketball is gonna happen.

Do you play basketball though?
Oh yeah. I’m in L.A. and when friends come out from New York, we get some good pickup games going.

So the Lakers’ season ended in the second round against the Thunder. What’s your takeaway from this season? Do they need to blow this team up?
Yes. Blow it up. They need change. They need to get rid of (coach) Mike Brown. Maybe they didn’t give him enough time to implement his style, but I don’t like him as a coach. I think he’s too positive. I don’t think that’s what the Lakers need. We need a Gregg Popovich type.

Andrew Bynum is getting a lot of criticism? Should they get rid of him?
If we can get, like, Dwight Howard, then we should get rid of Bynum. But I don’t see it happening. I say keep him, but I would keep (Pau) Gasol over Bynum.

What were your expectations of the season? Did they get as far as you thought they would?
I’m a romantic. I’m always gonna look and hope for the best. But with that, I also understand that that sometimes the best isn’t necessarily a championship or anything like that. Going into the playoffs I had really high hopes. But after first round (seven-game series vs. the Nuggets), it was done.

Who’s your favorite Laker, past or present?
magicMagic Johnson because of his versatility and flash. I will say that Kobe’s work ethic is the thing I look up to most of any player.

Do you follow the Dodgers?
I’m not much of a baseball guy. I used to love the Dodgers when I was a little kid – Eric Karros and Brett Butler and all of them. I’m actually looking at this autograph I have from Mike Piazza now.

Even if you’re not a huge baseball guy, it’s great that Magic is part of the new Dodgers’ ownership group. He’s such a big figure in L.A.
He brings a winning, carefree vibe. Now look at them — they’re killing it. Obviously it’s not Magic who’s doing that. But it feels like a different aura right now.

And let me just say: Go Kings.

L.A. seems like the center of the sports universe recently.
Yeah, sorry about that (ahem, cheap shot at Phoenix).

You told me at your recent show in Phoenix that you were a Buffalo Bills fan.
Yeah, when (quarterback) Doug Flutie was on the team. I’ve always loved the bills — I never felt anything for the Giants or Jets.

There’s usually talk about L.A. getting a football team again. Would that interest you?
I went to my first football game a few months ago — Chargers-Ravens. I drove to San Diego. In terms of general vibe, nothing beats a Lakers game, but a football game is so much more epic.

One last thing, going back to the Lakers. Are the Clippers a threat to the Lakers’ recent run of success and popularity in Los Angeles?
I don’t know what’s going to happen this summer, but the Clippers have them for next season in terms of youth and talent. We don’t have a shooter on our team. That’s the big issue.

Stream PAPA’s EP A Good Woman is Hard to Find below (I’m especially fond of “Collector”):

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