Jump to content
Washington Football Team Logo

NYT: The Rock n' Roll Casualty Who Became a War Hero


Recommended Posts

One heck of a story.  Really compelling article.


I asked if he ever talked about it. Jason shook his head no. Did they find out anyway? “Always.”

The first time was at Fort Benning in 1994, in the middle of the hell of
basic training. The ex-cop recruits in boot camp with him said that
prisoners had more freedom than they did. There were guys who faked
suicide attempts to get out of basic. But Everman never had any doubts.
“I was 100 percent,” he told me. “If I wasn’t, there was no way I’d get
through it.”

He had three drill sergeants, two of whom were sadists. Thank God it was
the easygoing one who saw it. He was reading a magazine, when he slowly
looked up and stared at Everman. Then the sergeant walked over,
pointing to a page in the magazine. “Is this you?” It was a photo of the
biggest band in the world, Nirvana. Kurt Cobain had just killed
himself, and this was a story about his suicide. Next to Cobain was the
band’s onetime second guitarist. A guy with long, strawberry blond
curls. “Is this you?”

Everman exhaled. “Yes, Drill Sergeant.”

And that was only half of it. Jason Everman has the unique distinction of being the guy who was kicked out of Nirvana and
Soundgarden, two rock bands that would sell roughly 100 million records
combined. At 26, he wasn’t just Pete Best, the guy the Beatles left
behind. He was Pete Best twice.

Then again, he wasn’t remotely. What Everman did afterward put him far
outside the category of rock’n’roll footnote. He became an elite member
of the U.S. Army Special Forces, one of those bearded guys riding around
on horseback in Afghanistan fighting the Taliban.

I’ve known Jason Everman since we played rock shows
together nearly 25 years ago. What happened to him was almost
inexplicable, a cruel combination of good luck, bad luck and the kind of
disappointment that would have overwhelmed me even at my most brashly
defiant. After having not seen him since the early ’90s, I ended up
hanging out with him in his apartment in Brooklyn last summer. We had
drinks, retraced steps. We once were in the same place in our lives. But
mine had since quietly transitioned from rock to parenthood. My changes
were glacial. His were violent.

None of it is easy for him to talk about. Jason is one of the most
guarded people I have ever met. But when I pulled up to his remote
A-frame cabin near Puget Sound last winter, there he was, a sturdy, tall
figure in a Black Flag sweatshirt holding a glass of red wine. This was
his private place, and he was letting me into it.

Books and action figures covered one wall. Guitars and drums were
scattered on the floor. But the far wall almost looked like a memorial:
medals, artifacts, war photos. I took it all in, asking about a
hand-decorated gun on the fireplace. “That’s how the Taliban trick out
their weapons,” he said. Then I picked up his Army helmet. It seemed
heavy to me. “Dude, that’s light,” he said. “That’s state of the art.”
It had his blood type still written on the side: O positive.

The first time I met Everman was also
the first time I ever stepped foot on a tour bus. It was 1989, which was
a confusing time to be in a rock band. My band, Bullet LaVolta, had
been on tour with the Seattle group we admired most, Mudhoney. They were
role models to us. They didn’t just have a sense of the punk-rock rules
of the day; they pretty much set them. Just as it does now, the
grown-up economy seemed to have little use for 20-somethings like us.
The mainstream music business didn’t, either. Our kind of punk rock was
all about creating your own place, doing music for its own sake, usually
the opposite of what was popular. If you wanted to “make it,” you
played pandering cheese-metal like Warrant or Slaughter, the bands on
MTV. They were bad. We were good. It was all so cut and dried.

The next-to-last show of our Mudhoney tour was in Chicago, where both
bands were to open for Soundgarden at the Cabaret Metro, the biggest
venue of the trip. Soundgarden was a much bigger deal in music circles
than Nirvana at the time. As crazy as this may sound, Nirvana was a joke
to all of us — a generic grunge band with a terrible name. Soundgarden
had signed a big contract with A&M Records. People in the music
business believed it was the one band that would break through. We
didn’t know what to think. We were threatened, jealous, judgmental. As
Dan Peters, Mudhoney’s drummer, remembered: “We were both showing up in
vans, and they had a big old bus. It was weird.”

Soundgarden was the most professional rock operation I’d ever seen. They
had a full crew, the full major-label push and 16 different T-shirts
for sale. They also happened to be exceedingly nice, inviting us onto
their bus. When the doors hissed open, we dropped silent in awe. It had a
minifridge. A card table with a faux marble base. It had a bathroom.

We made it past the bunks to the lounge. And there he was: Soundgarden’s
bassist, Jason Everman. You couldn’t look more “rock dude” than he did:
all that hair, the dour expression. It was an imposing energy to
encounter in tubular mood lighting. And he was the first person I ever
met with a nose ring. At the time, I read it as a flashing sign that
said, “I will have unbearable attitude.” But he didn’t at all. In fact,
he was smart and had a dry wit. He offered me Funyuns.


The rest of that night was just as confusing. We went on so early that
people were still arriving as we finished. Mudhoney was great but
sounded strange in a cavernous room. And Soundgarden left us mystified.
They seemed to have their eyes on a bigger prize, one we couldn’t see
yet. As I watched Jason onstage — his rock hair pounding — it dawned on
me: “My God, these guys are going to be rock stars.”


more at the link.  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/02/magazine/evermans-war.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0


and pics from the article:





Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...