May 22, 2015
By: Mike Phillips
On June 13th Warminster, PA will be partying at the Country Music Concert in the Park with special guests Joe Bachman and the Tailgaters. This is not just any party, but one that capstones the Annual Wounded Hero 5K, an event that benefits our nation’s wounded Heroes through Operation Ward 57’s Honor & Courage Program. This is not just any country concert, but one with a nationally touring artist who grew up less than an hour away in Philadelphia, PA.
Currently on tour and enjoying a rare day off, Operation Ward 57 volunteer Mike Phillips took the time to catch up with Joe Bachman for a little Q&A.
How long have you been performing live music and what has your journey been like?
I’ve been playing for 15 years. I grew up in Philadelphia playing everything; loved everything from the Beatles to Metallica. No one in my family played music; it was just something I fell into. At three years old I was asking for KISS dolls as my first Christmas present. While friends played sports I was asking for a microphone. In Catholic school I was in all of the choirs and musicals.
I was on the road from 99’ until about 2006 when my buddy Pat Croce, former owner of the Philadelphia 76ers, offered me a residency to play in Key West as a house band for a year. From there I met a lot of country friends who influenced my playing and led me to move to Nashville. I fell in love with the whole country vibe.
Philadelphia, Key West, Nashville: How has each city influenced your playing?
I’m from Philly, where I was raised by my military father, who only listened to Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash, so that is what I grew up listening to. I love melodies and love stories. It felt like I was raised as southern gentleman, with the military life, where you go to church every Sunday, and when a girl walks into a room you get up and give her your chair.
Key West is where I met a lot of my country friends. A lot of big country guys play down there; Kenny Chesney, Zac Brown, and Big & Rich to name a few. I got to hang out with, play with, and learn from these guys. I went out on a boat with Big Kenny from Big & Rich and talked a lot about my music and moving to Nashville.
Nashville is crazy. It’s where I’m currently based out of. There are session musicians working 24/7, some of the best there is. These guys don’t make mistakes. They listen to your songs, give ideas, and record it in one take. It’s all pretty mind blowing.
Who are some musicians you admire and influence your playing?
I already mentioned growing up on Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash. Lee Brice has been a huge influence and mentor. I met him seven or eight years ago in Key West. Brice, Kenny Chesney, Garth Brooks, and Sister Hazel. They all know how to party, sit on a stool, sing, and have stage presence. Country has grown a lot and I love seeing some of these guys selling out stadiums.
Being a Philly guy, how has sports played a role in your life?
I’m not a huge sports guy, but I have always been a huge 76ers fan. I also have a few NFL buddies I’ve adopted through my music and play shows for; a few from the Buffalo Bills. Bills center, Eric Wood likes to sing with us on stage. Some of the guys in the band are more die hard sports fans than me.
You are a big fan and supporter of our nation’s veterans. Why is that, and how did you end up partnering with Operation Ward 57?
As mentioned, my father was in the military. The biggest driver to help the military is that so many friends and family are tied to the military. It goes well beyond that now with the fan connection. We always do a salute to the military at our concerts. This past March we got to play a show on the USS Theodore Roosevelt. We hope to do as much as we can for the military.
We came to partner with Operation Ward 57 for the Wounded Hero 5K through my good Marine buddy, Corporal Tyler Southern, a wounded veteran. He lost both of his legs and right arm from an IED explosion in Afghanistan. He is one of the guys in our music video for our song, “A Soldier’s Memoir”, a song about having PTSD. We had already done a lot of work with IAVA [Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America], and Tyler reached out to Heather Sliwinski of Operation Ward 57, and sent our video to her, and got us connected with their organization. It was a natural fit. We are getting a lot of response, the event is heavily promoted, and it should be a great day.
Be sure to register for The Annual Wounded Hero 5K and attend the County Concert in the Park with Joe Bachman and the Tailgaters. For more information on the event check out: www.woundedherorun.com or www.operationward57.org
To learn more about Joe Bachman and his upcoming tour schedule check out http://www.joebachman.com/