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'It's kind of surreal': A Q&A with Carnell 'Silver Pipes' Johnson

For one night, at least, under the hot lights of primetime, Carnell Johnson was "Silver Pipes." sat down with Johnson to discuss what the moment meant to him. As a Las Vegas native, what does it mean to have an NFL team in your hometown?

It was something that until we started getting the NHL and the WNBA, we never thought it would happen. There's been talks about [getting an NFL] team for decades, but now that it's finally here and present, it's kind of surreal.

What did it mean to sing on Monday Night Football?

Until a couple years ago, it's something that I never thought was possible, even if there was a team here. I was only going to sing for the Knights once, and I never thought that I would become their National Anthem singer — I can't call it a dream come true because it's something I never even considered or even dreamt of, but now that it's happening I can't think of doing much else right now.

What do you think of the Silver Pipes name?

They already said that when I'm singing at [Allegiant Stadium] 'Silver Pipes' is what I'm going to go by and I'm totally okay with that (laughter).

How did you meet Raiders owner Mark Davis?

It was pretty short, but a couple fans just offered me their glass seats for one period, which you know, I had never sat down there before. The seats happened to be right next to him, so I kind of took the opportunity to say, 'Hey, once the Raiders get here, if you need an anthem singer I'd love to do it.' I just planted that bug in his ear knowing it was going to be a while. Once the time came for that first game to be here, hopefully it would be something that he thought about and I guess it worked.

Is it strange singing in an empty stadium?

Since that's the only way I've done it, it's the only way I know of. It's not different yet, but I'm hoping that once fans are back, I'll be able to go and sing in front of the 65,000 people that get to go there. Right now, it's normal until it's not.

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