Military redemption for grunge rocker: An American hero

Reuters

Rare memorabilia including iconic clothing, posters and destroyed musical instruments of the late Kurt Cobain of the legendary grunge band Nirvana, are on display at the "Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses" exhibition of the Experience Music Project (EMP) in Seattle on April 15, 2011.

Article Highlights

  • Jason Everman is at the least a counter-example and a pillar of the true strength that undergirds our country.

    Tweet This

  • Everman trods a path that seems made for a Lifetime movie: redemption, peace of mind, and perseverance.

    Tweet This

  • Everman was strong enough, and lucky enough, to find his place in the world.

    Tweet This

The New York Times Magazine had a fascinating story yesterday about Jason Everman, erstwhile guitarist for two of the biggest rock bands of the past two decades, Nirvana and Soundgarden. Author Clay Tarver, himself a former rock musician, traces Everman’s story, one of the more unusual I’ve read in a while. From moody, angry young musician to U.S. Army Special Forces combat veteran, Everman trod a path that seems made for a Lifetime movie: redemption, peace of mind, and perseverance. What makes the story so intriguing is that Everman wasn’t just a member of any band; had he stayed with either group (he was fired by both), he would have become one of the biggest names in youth entertainment, and a multi-millionaire many times over. As Tarver points out, Everman was Pete Best (original drummer for the Beatles) doubled. How many would not have craved the fame and riches that he was on the cusp of attaining, and how many would have spent their lives bitterly resentful of what they had missed? Of course, as even a casual music listener knows, the lead singer of Nirvana, Kurt Cobain, who did achieve all that, killed himself in 1994, obviously not sating his demons with success.

Everman, on the other hand, found his way to the Army in 1994, then the Rangers, then, finally, Special Forces, fighting in both Afghanistan and Iraq before retiring in 2006. He notes that he never doubted he would stick with the military, unlike his dissatisfaction with the rock life. Everman excelled enough in his military career to become well-known to General Stanley McChrystal, former commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, who wrote a letter of recommendation for Everman for admission to Columbia. Not for an MBA or law school, but for undergraduate studies. Everman had never gone to college, and in yet another phase of his life just finished his bachelor’s degree, at the age of 45, having lived at least two full lives already.

Maybe it’s the novelty of the story, but I found it one of the more uplifting things I’ve run across lately. Everman was strong enough, and lucky enough, to find his place in the world. He did so in the most honorable and most dangerous way a man can, and there seems no hint in his words that he would ever have traded what he did for the fantasy life that he almost had. In a culture that continues to celebrate crassness, ignorance, animus, and gluttony, Jason Everman is at the least a counter-example and a pillar of the true strength that undergirds our country. Happy Fourth of July.

Also Visit
AEIdeas Blog The American Magazine
About the Author

 

Michael
Auslin

What's new on AEI

Making Ryan's tax plan smarter
image The teacher evaluation confronts the future
image How to reform the US immigration system
image Inversion hysteria
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 01
    MON
  • 02
    TUE
  • 03
    WED
  • 04
    THU
  • 05
    FRI
Wednesday, September 03, 2014 | 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
From anarchy to Augustus: Lessons on dealing with disorder, from Rome’s first emperor

We invite you to join us for two panel discussions on how Augustus created order from chaos 2,000 years ago, and what makes for durable domestic and international political systems in the 21st century.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014 | 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Multiple choice: Expanding opportunity through innovation in K–12 education

Please join us for a book launch event and panel discussion about how a marketplace of education options can help today's students succeed in tomorrow's economy. Attendees will receive a complimentary copy of the featured book.

Thursday, September 04, 2014 | 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
How conservatives can save the safety net

Please join us for a luncheon event in which our panel will discuss what conservatives can learn from how liberals talk and think about the safety net and where free-market economics, federalism, and social responsibility intersect to lift people out of poverty.

No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled today.
No events scheduled this day.