SLUDGEAHOLIC OF THE MONTH
This very deserving Sludgeaholic Of The Month comes to us all the way from Iraq! That’s right, Anthony has been stationed over there and that photo of him up above is from Balad, Iraq! Safe to say he’s the first person in the entire world it wear a Metal Sludge shirt in Iraq! Now if he could only get a Sludge Capture with Saddam!
Anthony emailed us back in December 2003 and we featured his email in our Year End Mailbag. Now he’s a Sludgeaholic Of The Month and rightly so.
Anyway, enough of our babble. We’ll let Anthony tell you his story.
Congratulations to Anthony for not having his ass shot off and for being our March 2004 Sludgeaholic Of The Month!
1. Where are you from and how old are you?
I’ve been in Balad, Iraq (about 40 miles north of Baghdad) for the last year, but back in the States I live in Fargo, North Dakota. I grew up in Leonard, ND, which is the epitome of small town America. I had a graduating class of 10 for cryin’ out loud. No complaints, though. I am 31 years old.
2. Ambitions: To get out of Iraq alive? That’s my first goal. I like to take it one step at a time.
3. Turn-ons: As far as looks go, I’ve always had a thing for girls with short hair. And a cute smile, that’s important. Personality is the big thing. I like a girl who can get wild and crazy and rock out, but at the same time will stop and help a little kid that she’s never even met before.
4. Turn-offs: People who don’t care about the feelings of others. Oh yeah, and Nikki Sixx. He seems like a real dick.
5. How long have you been coming to Metal Sludge?
Since the first Stevie Rachelle 20 Questions. I found the link on his website and have been coming back ever since.
6. Favorite bands: There are so many… Poison, Cinderella, Warrant (Jamie St. James?), Skid Row, KISS, and so on. As far as bands that weren’t that popular from that era that I think are great: HANOI ROCKS, D.A.D., Rhino Bucket, Tuff, Lillian Axe, Every Mother’s Nightmare, McQueen Street. There are many more. Some new(er) bands I like are Blink 182, the Ataris, All American Rejects, Jet, Eve 6 and Tonic. I also have a strange fascination with John Denver. I find the stuff I listen to now is more acoustic based (though I still rock out quite often). Some people call it country rock or Y’allternative. Bands like Son Volt, the Billys (out of Minneapolis), and the Gear Daddies (maybe my favorite band of all time, also out of Minneapolis). When I was younger I used to love loud music that was about rocking, girls, and drinking too much. Now I find that I like a lot of mellow music that is about not knowing where your going with your life, messed up relationships… and drinking too
much. I guess you go with what you know.
7. Least favorite bands: I don’t like to put down musicians who are out there giving it their best shot, but I could really care less for most rap-rock. I think Fred Durst is pretty much a putz. I also held a deep hatred grunge. It wasn’t that I didn’t like the music, hell, when Nirvana first started getting played I thought they were pretty good. I just hated the fact that they killed off a lot of bands I loved. I never understood why, if you liked grunge, that meant you had to hate glam-rock. And it was such a sham that those guys (not all of them) were bitching about being famous. If those fuckers hated being famous so much they should have quit recording for those major labels and gone back to the coffee houses in Seattle. Hypocrites. I hated the fact that the glam bands got such a rap for not writing about "real" stuff. Poison wrote about partying and having a good time, with the occasional ballad about a great (or fucked up) relationship… I mean, shit, no one can relate to that, right?
8. How long have you been in Iraq and what is a typical day for you like? Walk us through it.
I’ve been in Iraq since April. When we’re at camp our days are pretty tame. Get up at 7, shave, get dressed, go eat breakfast. I’m a medic, so then we come back and run sick call. We treat what we can, and take people to the base hospital if it’s something that we’re not equipped to handle. A lot of our day is spent "being available" to handle any incident that may come up. Our day ends at around 5, and then I go running or hit the gym. After I shower it’s usually back to the tent and watch a movie (we have one of those mini-DVD players) or read and write letters.
The real excitement comes when we go out on convoys. We have two convoy teams, and I am the medic on one of them, so I go out on 1-2 convoys a week. It’s out in the general population that the reality of the situation really sets in, because you never know if that is your day…
9. What are you most looking forward to doing when you return to the States?
Seeing my daughter, Madison, and my girlfriend, Trish. I worry about Madison a lot. She’s 7, and has been doing fine this whole deployment, but we’ve been told that sometimes kids will resent the fact that you’re gone for so long. I don’t think this will happen with her, but I would hate to think that me being in Iraq was somehow damaging to my daughter.
Besides family, one of the first things I need to do when I get home is to be by myself for a little while. I’ve been with people this whole year, and I’ve lived in a small tent with two other guys. I love people, but when I get home I need at least an hour to myself just to get my head straight.
And then I’m going to the bar.
10. Have you ever been shot at or had a missile almost take your ass out?
I’ve been on convoys all over this country, as have a lot of people in my battalion, which has around 700 people. And what is fucking amazing is that we’ve never had a person injured by the enemy. We’re almost done here, so I hope I’m not jinxing us, but if you look at what has been happening in Iraq, for us to be here for a year and have no one come under enemy fire is un-fucking-believable. I’ve heard shots fired quite often while on convoy, but our people have never been hit.
On base we have mortar rounds coming in all the time, but we’ve also been lucky to have never had an injury as a result of that. When it first started happening you would see people running for their weapons and taking cover like crazy… now it doesn’t even interrupt the flow while I piss.
11. When you have downtime, what do you guys do over there to pass the time? Don’t take it they have any strip clubs in Baghdad, so what is it you guys do?
We built a boxing ring, so we had a few fight nights. I’m kind of the "public speaker" of the crew here, so I did the MCing for the fights and also for the dances we had a couple of times a month. The fight nights were a blast, and the dances were pretty fun as well, but, really, how much fun can you have with loud music and NA beer?
12. What’s more frightening, being in a war or realizing you have two Warrant tattoos?
Here’s the story with the "I Saw Red" and "Stronger Now" tattoos, and it’s about a relationship I was in. First, let me say that this girl NEVER cheated on me, as the story goes in "I Saw Red". But, just like the song, I was in what I thought was going to be the last relationship of my life, I was with THE ONE. But it ended suddenly and I never even saw it coming, and when I heard "I Saw Red" for the first time I new exactly what kind of pain Jani Lane was singing about. That relationship fucked me up for a long time, and I got the tattoo to remind myself to be careful when it came to relationships. A few years later Warrant released Ultraphobic with the ballad, "Stronger Now", which was about getting over a relationship that has ended, and I knew exactly what he was saying, because I had been down that road before. That’s why I got the tattoos.
But let me also add this. Loyalty means a lot to me, and anyone who has ever done something for me will always have a friend. Well, Jani Lane and Warrant did something to help me out by writing those songs. And even if I think they should’ve stayed together, and even if I didn’t think Jani’s solo album was the best thing he’s ever released, and even if I go to a show and Jani’s throwing up on the bar… I will continue to be there for them. After what they did for me, how could I not?
That goes for most of the bands I grew up listening to. If they affected me somehow, I will most likely purchase everything they put out.
13. When the WWE came over and did Smackdown, where you there for that and what other celebrities have come over to visit you guys that you thought was cool?
Actually, the WWE came over to our battalion area when they were here in Balad, but I didn’t really care to go see them, because, personally, I could give a shit about guys who pretend to beat the crap out of each other. That being said, I do appreciate them coming over.
I saw Kid Rock in Baghdad, and he was pretty cool. You know who seemed like the coolest guy? Gary Sinise (Lieutenant Dan). He came over here and talked and seemed like the most sincere person when it came to talking about how much he believed in what we were doing. I thought that was awesome. I also had lunch with some of the Washington Redsking cheerleaders (along with a guy who played bass with Cheap Trick in the 80s) and that was pretty cool. They were hot and all, but it was kind of like going to a strip bar. Except when you go to a strip bar you can go home and masturbate in your bedroom, and here you had to go do it in a porta-potty.
14. When you look back at your time in Iraq, what’s 3 memories that stick with you the most?
1: Well, I told you that no one in our battalion has been killed, and that was true. But there was another unit here from North Dakota, and they were under our command for a while until they moved from Balad to another part of Iraq. I was out on a convoy one day and we were in Baghdad when we got a call that we had to go meet this other unit near Ramadi because they had been hit. We weren’t really sure what that meant, but when we got there we found out that one of their soldier’s had been killed. His name was Jon Fettig, and he died July 22, 2003. We had to escort the rest of the group back to their base, and everyone there just looked like zombies. It was very… eery.
2: The first convoy from Kuwait through Iraq. The damage all over the country was amazing, I had never seen anything like it. It was still smoking…
3: I don’t really know how to talk about the moment I met this little girl on the road, but I wrote a poem about it, and I hope you don’t mind if I share it with you guys.
My Thanks To Someone I May Never Meet Again
(I Hope You Have a Nice Life)
I finally made my peace
with the war here in Iraq
I think it’s the middle of July
or did I just lose track?
Anyway, I’m fine now
I know exactly why I’m here
It’s for a girl I met on the side of the road
who made it all so clear
Her dress was way too big
her face was full of sand
and, actually, it kind of shocked me
when she reached up for my hand
And all she said was "Thank you"
but thank you said it all
how could something so big
come out of someone so small?
So this is the message to home
that I’d really like to send…
I wish that I could be there…
But I have to help a friend.
Now, here’s a message to everyone who is against this war. There is no fucking way I was going to tell that girl that we shouldn’t have been here.
15. When was the last time you got laid?
Sometime in April, 2003? I’d rather not talk about it.
16. Other than getting laid, after you come home, what’s next for you?
I honestly have no fucking clue. Before we left for Iraq I was bartending in Fargo, and I have nothing against doing that. It’s a fun job, and people need to drink, right? But I hope that there is something more out there for me. I’m about a year away from a double education major in Physical Education, and English, and a part of me really wants to teach. But, I just bought a house, and I’m not sure that financially I’m really prepared for school right now.
Do you want to know what I’d really like to do? I’d love to work in music somehow, but I’m not naive enough to think that something like that is going to fall into my lap. I guess I’ll just hang loose for a while and hope that something better comes up, until then I’ll do whatever I have to do to survive and take care of my family. What else can I ask for? Anybody need a writer or a security guard or something?
17. How do you feel being our March 2003 Sludgeaholic Of The Month?
Great. I’ve been coming to Sludge for a long time, it’ll be cool to know that I’ll always be on here.
18. Personal Motto: There are two things (I don’t know if they are mottos) I try to live by. 1: Let go of the things you can’t control. 2: Don’t be afraid to help someone who needs it. It’ll make you feel good.
I just wanted to say thanks to Tom Mathers at Perris, Ralph at the Tourbus, and Rob Gill from Spitfire Records. Around Christmas time I emailed some record companies and other folks to ask if they would be interested in donating CDs or whatever to be given out at a dance I was DJing. Tom sent out some CDs, Ralph sent out a very cool package with CDs, DVDs, and shirts. And Rob Gill, that guy is amazing. He sent us over 100 CDs, and about 30 DVDs. Rob, you fucking rock. To those 3 guys, I can’t thank you enough. I also emailed Paul Gargano, but he never wrote back.
Hey Sludge, thanks a lot. I am almost out of Iraq, and it has honestly been one of the most amazing experiences of my life. These people needed help, and I am glad that I could play a small part in this whole thing. I appreciate you guys keeping in touch with me. If any other sludgeaholics want to chat, or whatever, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org it’d be cool to hear from you. Sorry this is so long.
Don’t worry about Paul Gargano not writing you back. He doesn’t write us back anymore either. When you’re managing Beautiful Creatures, you don’t have time for small people like ourselves!
Regardless, congratulations on being our March 2004 Sludgeaholic Of The Year and having the balls to fight for our country!