Soundtrack Of My Life: Nick Offerman

Parks and Recreation's Ron Swanson. Good with wood

The first song I remember hearing

The Mills Brothers – ‘The Glow-Worm’

“My dad had a woodshop in the basement of our house and he used to play The Mills Brothers a lot. The song always fills me with nostalgia and takes me straight back to that woodshop as I fell asleep while he made furniture for my mum. The Mills Brothers got started in the ’30s – they made a mixture of jazz and swing.”

The first gig I went to


George Michael, 1985

“I love going to concerts but I haven’t had great luck with it. My older sister and our cousin drove me to see George Michael in 1985. I have to say, he put on a hell of a show. The man can sing.”

The song that reminds me of ‘Parks and Recreation’

Willie Nelson – ‘Buddy’

“There were a couple of poignant moments towards the end of the show that were scored by Willie Nelson songs. It’s quite moving because it created a very sentimental feeling, making that show. We got to work on something we loved with people that we loved. It was so satisfying. We hated leaving at the end of each day.”

The first album I bought


Queen – ‘The Game’

“We didn’t have a lot of money and were out in the country but I was a very big Queen fan. At the time it was pretty outré to have a Queen record when everyone else was listening to the Eagles.”

The first song I fell in love with

Air Supply – ‘Every Woman In The World’

“Fifth grade for me was the era of REO Speedwagon and Air Supply. I was just discovering the pangs of romance. I was a hopeless romantic at 12.”

The song that I can no longer listen to

Carrie Underwood – ‘Jesus Takes The Wheel’

“This song is so infuriating. It suggests to young mothers that they take their hands off the steering wheel when they hit a patch of ice on the road. That is such terrible advice.”

The song that makes me want to dance

The Gap Band – ‘Burn Rubber Burn’

“I like to dance a lot more than you might think to look at me. I was the right age to be swept away by breakdance. My cousin and I were in a breakdance duo, in fact. We grew up on a farm and we’d listen to late night radio to discover R&B songs we could dance to.”

The song I want played at my funeral

Tom Waits – ‘Come On Up To The House’

“I want my funeral to be celebratory. This is an old favourite of mine. It encourages the listener to forget their troubles and get a hug from their family.”

The song that reminds me of meeting my wife

Annie Fortescue Harrison – ‘In The Gloaming’

“My wife’s a hell of a singer [Offerman is married to actress Megan Mullally] and when she and I met doing a play, she sang this Victorian song into my ear. If I wasn’t guaranteed to marry her before then, that sealed the deal. I was bowled over.”

The artist I listen to while woodworking


“Listening to music is an essential part of woodshop life. Most of the time we’ve got something on. My favourite thing in the shop is the band Wilco. I’ve been known to put their whole catalogue on and just leave it playing. They have so many records that you can just leave it on for a week before you start hearing songs for a second time.”

This interview originally appeared in a September 2016 issue of NME