More than 10 years ago, my life was completely turned upside down by a tragic event in a mission overseas. I lost a good friend and co-worker in an ambush during a VIP job. Frank died on the spot in my arms and wasn’ t taken with us by the security forces later. After four days in jail we came home.
Later on, I had heard from another colleague that the company we were working for had called my friend’s parents and just told them, “Your son had a fatal accident and we transferred the money.”
By that time, I was pretty much down and started drinking. But this call shook me awake. I packed my stuff and drove to my friend’s parents. I blamed myself for his death and wondered why he died and not me? What could I’ve done differently?
I stood in front of the door for a long time and didn’t know what to say to them. Finally, I gathered my courage and rang the bell. It was so hard for me to tell them everything, just waiting for them to throw me out of the house. But they hugged me and said that I shouldn’t blame myself. It was the first time I could let go.
After the visit, I grabbed some stuff and headed to the USA, where I wanted to find peace and myself in the wild.
But I didn’t handle this traumatic experience properly. I pushed it away, repressed it, and tried to lead a normal life again. That went quite well until I had a burnout in 2011 due to many other personal low blows and nearly put an end to my life.
But just then, I received a CD from a Texan musician. Cody Jink’s songs, his lyrics changed my life and brought me back to the music after a long break. It was also this step that made me want do gigs, in the same way as my colleagues in the US, for the soldiers in action. And so fate took its course. I met a music corps major at the Musikmesse in Frankfurt in 2016 and asked for his help. He gave me his business card asking me to email him with my request and social media links, which I did right after arriving home.
Three weeks later, the “Einsatzführungskommando of the Bundeswehr” and “OASE Einsatzbetreuung” to give me an appearance in Iraq, which I had in Erbil on October 3rd.
Since I slept there on site in the camp, I quickly got into conversation with many soldiers. I listened to their concerns, wishes and goals. I realized very quickly that the soldiers in Germany were not treated and received with the respect as in all other countries (Great Britain, USA and other nations). And so I wrote the song “No welcome band” in Erbil.
At that time I got to know a musician there, who also wrote songs. He played his songs to me with the request to record them in my own way and sing them on stage. And so the idea came up to produce a CD that includes songs by soldiers for soldiers. One CD in the original, and then another CD with the song interpreted in my own way. Artists from the USA were also enthusiastic and asked me to make the song in German.
Through the conversations with the pastor on site, I made the decision to support something positive with this CD. For a long time I had worked as a survival and wildlife guide with children and so it was inevitable that I wanted to do something for children. For the children who lose their parents during a mission or at home due to traumatic events are the hardest hit and need intensive care.
Upon my return from Iraq I immediately contacted the Einsatzführungskommando and the Federal Ministry for “Hinterbliebene“ with the request for support. The Operations Command was the only one who personally listened to my song and request and pledged to support this project as much as possible.
However, nothing came from the government.
In the meantime, I have been in Iraq repeatedly and also in Afghanistan. I thank each soldier for the personal talks. These help me to deal with my past. And so I also hope that maybe my songs will also give hope or strength to one or the other of the post-traumatic experiences, or to show a way out of the low to get something up.
Above all, I try on this way with my music to make people rethink in Germany, and gain our soldiers the respect that they deserve.
On this page you will find additional links to projects that should be supported.
Are you also songwriters and musicians who wrote songs about these topics and would like to participate in this project? Please email me with the subject “No welcome band”, your text and a demo of your song. All rights etc. stay with you and I treat your music as I expect others to do it with my own.
Or you would like to financially support this project?
Then you can do this here:
And make the subject “No Welcome Band”,
or you can write me an email: jc[at]jessecolesongwriter.com
My last request: Please watch this video and leave comments, like it and share it. Tell others about it.