After perusing the greater world wide web, and surfing some other war blogs, I’ve come to understand that a blatant contribution to this community that Kaboom lacks is a music playlist that the Gravediggers use to get pumped up for missions. Straight auditory stimulation, Homz. So, in an attempt to rectify this glorious misstep, and to better depict the atmosphere of my platoon before, during, and after mission execution, I bring to you this: Gravediggers Mix Tape, Volume I. Be advised, this is no normal Army sampling of straight death metal rock – my guys are an eclectic mix of killers, clowns, lovers, and good ole’ boys. Hemingway wrote that war brought out the bare spirit of all men, and if their musical tastes are any clue, such a statement resonates with validity, even today, through us.
This is what booms through the walls of the combat outpost in the minutes leading up to all-out Cavalry scout awesomeness in Anu al-Verona. At least until First Sergeant stalks over and regulates on the frat castle vibe. Just push play.
Gravediggers Mix Tape, Volume I
“Pour Some Sugar On Me,” by Def Leppard, played by PV2 Van Wilder. Everyone’s favorite stripper anthem reverberates with glam glut and synthesizer abuse.
“Dancing for Rain,” by Rise Against, played by SSG Boondock. Straight rock crescendo that bursts with killer impulse and primal rage.
“I’m So Hood,” by DJ Khaled, played by SPC Haitian Sensation. Pop rap has never been so catchy. Or repetitive.
“Du Hast,” by Rammstein, played by PVT Das Boot. Loud, proud, and so clearly German.
“Hound Dog,” by Elvis Presley, played by SPC Big Ern. This mellow tune is usually utilized when we roll back after mission, and the Joes are smoking out on the Crow’s Nest – our combat rec room - swapping tales and exaggerations. It definitely has its’ ‘Nam-era reverse-psychological destroyer appeal, though.
“The Taliban Song,” by Toby Keith, played by PV2 Boomhauer. I don’t know if it was beer or the military that finally made country music tolerable to my ears, but it has happened.
“Calm Like a Bomb,” by Rage Against the Machine, played by SGT Chico. A very fitting song for this personality. I don’t think a modern-day combat playlist exists that doesn’t have at least one Rage song on it.
“Untitled,” by O.A.R., played by LT G. Mesopotamia clearly needs more jam band serenity.
“Da Funk,” by Daft Punk, played by SPC Flashback. Bust out them glowsticks, it’s a techno rave. Memories of the nineties are optional.
“Here Without You,” by 3 Doors Down, played by PFC Cold-Nuts. Hopelessly banal, yet something the rest of us do identify with. We just don’t admit it in public.
“Free Fallin,” by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, played by SGT Cheech. Nothing says “Yeah, I know Iraq sucks. Try doing it three times” quite like Petty.
“Mama Said Knock You Out,” by LL Cool J, played by SSG Bulldog. As he asked me many months ago during a training exercise, “What you know ‘bout LL Cool J, LT?” I coolly replied, “Don’t call it a comeback, I’ve been here for years …”
“Numb/Encore,” by Linkin Park and Jay-Z, played by PV2 Romeo. Seamless mix of rockrap, or raprock, depending on which part of the country you come from and whether you’re willing to admit that you used to own a Limp Bizkit album.
“Good Life,” by Kanye West, played by SPC Doc. Like we always do at this time … except for right now, of course. Iraq is hardly the good life, except for maybe the business contractors making a fortune over here. War profiteering – the world’s second oldest profession.
“Smash,” by The Offspring, played by CPL Spot. A sniper’s anthem, rhythmically pacing the beats of a heart as crystal blue eyes narrow through the sight lining up crosshairs onto the head shot steady the breathing now and don’t think about anything except for a devoid void where nothing but you and this shot exist time to inhale squeeze slight recoil exhale watermelon explosion. Target.
“Truckin’,” by Grateful Dead, played by SPC Prime. Seriously, name a highway or an area anywhere in the greater continental United States, and SPC Prime has 1) traveled through it and 2) remembers the highway regulations of said area. It’s actually slightly unsettling when you realize he knows more about your hometown than you do.
“Fuck Authority,” by Pennywise, played by SGT Axel. Never has one man been so sure about cutting his losses and getting out of the Army when this deployment ends. Given the long-established American tradition of disenchanted vets, this is certainly saying something.
“Burning Bridges,” by the Mike Curb Congregation, played by SFC Big Country. If you’ve never seen Kelly’s Heroes, you wouldn’t understand. It’s where the Gravediggers found their name, and our collective aura certainly can trace its’ lineage back to the combat rascality chronicled in this film and through this song.