Music Room at USO Camp Buehring Helps Deployed Musicians Keep the Beat

For musicians serving in the military, finding a way to keep their musical skills in tune during deployments isn’t easy.

But for troops at Camp Buehring, Kuwait, like drummer and guitarist Lance Cpl. Jonathan Thompson, finding a place to grab a guitar and relax with a jam session is as simple as heading to the USO.

“Every chance I get I try and go to the USO,” Thompson said. “I can’t really tote guitars around with me on deployment, so the USO is the only way I get a chance to keep up with my music.”

USO Camp Buehring’s music room— which is stocked with acoustic and electric instruments — is an oasis for deployed musicians looking for a place to practice their skills or rock out with their friends. According to Thompson, he and his friends regularly have impromptu jam sessions like the one above, which they recorded and posted to Facebook recently.

“I actually wasn’t playing a song,” Thompson said. “I told my buddy Willie to just play some chords and I was going to just run with it for a bit and that’s what happened. I was not expecting people to actually watch it or think anything of it, we were just messing around, and my buddy Thomas decided to record it.”

Thompson also noted that service members who can’t carry a tune can still use USO Camp Buehring’s other programs and services like computer stations and telephones that connect them back home.

“For a lot of us, the USO is the only way we can call and talk to or see (via Skype) wives, husbands or newborns,” Thompson said. “In my case, the USO was the only way I could talk to my father [who] was hospitalized the past few days. Its about more than music at the USO.”

Kathy Griffin to Host “VH1 Divas Salute the Troops”

Comedian Kathy Griffin, star of "My Life on the D List," talks with Army Cpl. Joseph McCauley on April 3, 2008. McCauley is at Walter Reed Army Medical Center recovering from a traumatic brain injury he suffered March 23, 2008, in Iraq. Griffin visited troops and their families in the Fisher Houses and at the hospital before performing a show for the troops in the evening. (Photo by Samantha L. Quigley)

Two-time Emmy award winning actress and comedian, New York Times bestselling author and Grammy nominated performer, Kathy Griffin will host VH1 Divas Salute The Troops from the Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar in San Diego, CA. Known for her candid wit, the USO tour veteran has been making audiences laugh for years discussing Hollywood gossip and celebrity blunders. Griffin is a multi-faceted performer who is sure to entertain the troops.

“After having had the honor of performing for our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, it gives me great pleasure to host an evening for them where
they can really blow off some steam. I will not hold back, but I can’t speak for Sugarland. It’s going to be a wild night of great music and a heartfelt
thank you,” said Kathy Griffin.

Joining the star-studded list of performers is VH1’s latest “You Oughta Know” artist – Grace Potter & The Nocturnals. Previously announced performers include Katy Perry, Sugarland, Keri Hilson, Nicki Minaj and Paramore. The USO Presents VH1 Divas Salute The Troops concert event will be televised on Sunday, December 5 at 9:00 PM ET/PT on VH1 and internationally courtesy of the Armed Forces Network. The event at MCAS Miramar will only be open to all hands (13 years of age or older) including active duty, reservist, retirees, DoD employees, their dependents and bona fide guests. This special concert event will not be open to the public.

Additionally, Divas.VH1.com has launched with show information and news, artist profiles and the Salute the Troops Photo Mosaic. Users are encouraged to add their photos to the mosaic as a way to show their support for the troops. For every photo shared, VH1 will donate $1 to the USO’s Operation Enduring Care, up to $10,000. Users can submit photos at Divas.VH1.com using Facebook Connect. For the latest news and details about the show, visit Divas.VH1.com and USO.org.

VH1 Divas Salute The Troops

(Clockwise from top left) Music stars Katy Perry, Sugarland, Keri Hilson, Paramore, and Nicky Minaj will all perform as part of The USO Presents "VH1 Divas Salute The Troops." (Image courtesy of blog.VH1.com)

We couldn’t WAIT to share this with you!  Get ready to join Katy Perry, Sugarland, Keri Hilson, Nicki Minaj, and Paramore for an amazing concert experience this December!  The USO Presents VH1 Divas Salute The Troops premieres on Sunday, December 5 at 9:00 PM ET/PT on VH1.

This year VH1 is giving the Divas franchise a military makeover by partnering with the USO to bring the iconic event to America’s troops and their families. Drawing from the tone of the original USO shows and using Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar in San Diego as home base, this year’s VH1 Divas Salute The Troops show will be a unique and uplifting version of VH1’s high profile signature event. Katy Perry, Sugarland, Keri Hilson and Nicki Minaj will perform in front of thousands of men and women in uniform at MCAS Miramar. Taking the effort overseas to thank troops serving in remote locations, Paramore will visit Marines, soldiers, airmen, sailors, coastguardsmen and reservists stationed at an undisclosed military base in the Middle East.

“I get to be among so many other influential women, groundbreaking women, strong, powerful, confident women, not only on that day, but just to be a part of the legacy of ‘VH1 Divas,’” Hilson told the Washington Post.  Hilson said she embraces the positive characteristics of being a diva.  “Strong woman, yes I am. Leader, yes I am. Innovative, creative, all those things, yes, I am that,” said Hilson.

Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland has a similar definition for the modern day diva.  “All of these women definitely have a larger than life persona, be it on stage or who they are or what they wear,” she said. “I think there’s something to be said for celebrating that.”

Hilson and Nettles love the idea of supporting the troops through the show. Hilson’s dad served in the Army before she was born, and Nettles has a brother in the Air Force.

The USO Presents VH1 Divas Salute The Troops will be an event unlike anything seen before featuring a night of unforgettable performances from various performers, presenters and special guests as well as commentary from troops stationed on the front lines and “exclusive” USO tour footage shot overseas. This year’s show is a female-fronted superstar spectacle that is fun, irreverent and will also include a “few good men.” Additional information about the show and the featured artists will be released in the upcoming weeks and can be found at Divas.VH1.com and USO.org.

A Special Shout Out from American Idol’s Kris Allen!

Kris Allen energized hundreds of fans Oct. 1 at Vogelweh’s Kazabra Club during his recent USO tour. (Photos by Rick Scavetta, U.S. Army Garrison, Kaiserslautern)

American Idol winner Kris Allen recently completed a weeklong USO tour through Europe, entertaining and signing autographs for hundreds of fans along the way.  One special stop was at the USO Warrior Center, where USO staff and volunteers hosted a lunch for Allen and 25 wounded warriors.

The wounded warriors enjoyed great food and a post-meal acoustic set of some of Allen’s most popular songs.  One wounded warrior commented, “I watch American Idol every season, so it was pretty cool meeting the winner.” Check out and share this special shout out he taped there:

The tour took on special meaning for Allen, whose wife shares a special connection with the Kaiserslautern area.   “My wife lived in Ramstein. When she was a kid, her dad was in the Air Force,” Allen said to reporter Rick Scavetta, U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern.

When the USO recently asked Allen and his band to take on an overseas tour to play for service members and their families in Europe, he said it was a “no-brainer.”

“We were like, absolutely, we’ll do it,” Allen said. “It’s just an honor for us to come over here and hopefully offer some entertainment. These guys give a lot for our country and this is the least we can do.”

“You’re away from family and I know that’s really hard. So, I’d like to thank you so much for what you do,” Allen said. “Just keeping working hard, it means a lot to people in America.”

AFN Europe also caught him on camera.  Enjoy this interview  by TSgt Colleen Jones, as she takes us to this Idol’s show to support the troops…

NONPOINT Releases the Official Video for “Frontlines”

Download the digital version of the new NONPOINT single “Frontlines," and a portion of the proceeds will go to benefit military charities. (Image courtesy nonpoint.com)

Ft Lauderdale hard rockers NONPOINT have unveiled the official video to their new single, “Frontlines.”  Inspired by the bravery of our military, lead vocalist Elias Soriano explains, “When I wrote the concept for Frontlines, I wanted to make sure the focus was on the commitment of what our soldiers do for us. The weight they carry, and the intensity they hold steadfast to protect people they don’t even know.”

“I say this with as much meaning as I could possibly have,” says Soriano. “God bless the men and women of our military, and thank you for allowing me to be what I am, and do what I do. Every single one of you are the reason I’m free to do so.”

NONPOINT will be donating proceeds of the digital single sales of “Frontlines” to the USO and Soldier’s Angels foundations.  Watch the video below and  then click here to purchase it today!

Kid Rock Doesn’t Want Praise For Touring With USO – Music, Celebrity, Artist News | MTV

Kid Rock signs autographs after the USO Holiday Tour stop in Kandahar, Afghanistan, Dec. 21, 2007. (DoD photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley - Released)

“It’s one of those things I used to do and try not to talk too much about, because it’s not something you go to promote something at, or do anything for any self-gain at all,” USO tour veteran Kid Rock recently told MTV News. “But what I’ve learned is that maybe if I do talk about it, the more I can encourage some other people in my position to go, because they’re really happy over there just to get a slice of America at any level, but to have someone in the entertainment industry who’s had a little slice of success is really a big boost for those guys.

“I would encourage anybody that hasn’t gone to really think about it,” he continued. “It’s really a rewarding, life-changing experience.”

Kid Rock talks more about that “rewarding, life-changing” experience of performing for troops with the USO in Iraq and Afghanistan in his recent MTV interview…Check it out!