Memorial Day Rockers, Part 4: The Marines

Semper Fi: The author as a young jarhead, 2003.
Semper Fi: The author as a young jarhead, 2003.

Marines have about a million different monikers. Call them leathernecks, jarheads, devil-dogs, drunks, psychos, the list goes on. The Marine Corps is both the most revered and reviled branch of the U.S. military. This side of Rocks Off did some time in the Marine Corps, and it shaped who he is today. It wasn't too terribly long, but his time served was eventful and full of shenanigans too numerous and ridiculous to mention. Let's just say that San Diego has plenty of pretty girls who dig the uniform. And that if you drink enough Listerine, you will get smashed and suffer a hangover that rivals any that tequila could ever throw at you. The gaggle of Marines littering the rock and country worlds is astounding. True, the branch bred some weirdoes like Lee Harvey Oswald and Drew Carey. But the folks that made it out alive have made music all the more better. Maybe it was all the midnight beatings, saltpeter and stolen beer from the Officer's Club that made them all so rebellious. Uncle Sam's misguided children indeed.

The Everly Brothers:

The poppy twosome actually joined up halfway through their career, a move that ended up throwing off its trajectory. Don and Phil were immensely influential, touching everyone from the Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel and even Neil Young. After their stint in the Corps, the duo began drinking and fighting, which led to a nearly ten-year breakup.

George Jones:

One of the last of the old-school country badasses, Hardin County native Jones enlisted in the Corps soon after he and his first wife separated. That's what you get for settling in Jasper, we guess. His military service probably also explains the bitchin' high n' tight haircut he sports in this video.

Freddy Fender:

San Benito native Fender escaped small-town life at age 16 to join the Corps. He served a three-year hitch, coming back home to Texas to revolutionize Hispanic rock and roll, and made the world safe for Los Lobos. Fender passed away in 2006 in Corpus Christi, and his house off Ocean Drive in Corpus reportedly has an underground boat ramp - which is, decidedly, the shit.

Other musical Marines of note:

Scott Shriner (Weezer), Shaggy, Nate Dogg, Josh Gracin (

American Idol

), Buddy Rich, John Phillip Sousa and Michael Graves (Misfits).

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