Jason Everman, the guitarist who played with Nirvana and Soundgarden, says punk rock was his soundtrack growing up.
“It was this loud, fast, aggressive music that was essentially the sonic middle finger,” he says, standing before a picture of his teenage self wearing a Black Flags T-shirt. “And as I was this kind of 15-year-old gawky walking middle finger, we complemented each other.”
In his Got Your 6 Storytellers talk, Everman focuses on his unlikely life trajectory, the path that took him from playing in rock bands to becoming a U.S. Army Ranger and later on, an elite member of Special Forces.
“It was the year of sex, drugs, and rock and roll, absolutely,” he says of a turning point between tours when he realized that punk rock no longer brought him the joy it did as a kid. “I had no structure in my life other than touring commitments.”
But under this surface of “living the dream,” Everman continues, “I was profoundly dissatisfied.”
A friend who was a former Navy SEAL told Everman he might consider joining the military, saying his own experience challenged him in ways he had never experienced before.
“Challenge leads to achievement, and achievement leads to joy,” Everman says of one of his biggest takeaways from his service in Iraq and Afghanistan.
This veteran bears tattoos on his forearms as he talks about ridding himself of the “shackles of cool.” Watch the video to discover his story and how rock music and military service continue to shape his path.