5.21.14: The Veterans Writing Project, Music Rivalries, And Making "Exile On Main Street"

May 21, 2014

Credit By London Records. (Billboard page 25 1 May 1965) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

As a soldier, an army officer, and then a Foreign Service officer Ron Capps experienced five wars in ten years, and came home with severe PTSD. Today on Word of Mouth, he discusses founding the Veterans Writing Project, and the power of the written word in coping with the psychic wounds of war. Then, from Scottish bag pipes in the mid-18th century to Metallica in the mid-2000s, we’ll take a brief tour through the history of music as a weapon of war. Plus, a diehard Oasis fan is forced to admit that the band’s rivalry with Blur has unfairly colored his perception for the past 20 years.

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The Veterans Writing Program

In 25 years of service, Ron Capps saw plenty of action. As a soldier, an army officer, and then a Foreign Service officer documenting war crimes, he’s worked in some of the world’s deadliest places. From the grave horrors of genocide to almost daily deprivations in Kosovo, central Africa, Afghanistan, Iraq and Darfur, he experienced five wars in ten years. He was haunted by his inability to stop the killing of civilians and plunged into depression. His marriage, career and mental health unraveled, and Capps found himself with a loaded pistol in the back of a pickup truck in a Sudanese desert, ready to end it all. But he didn’t. He got help and has helped countless others as founder of the Veteran’s Writing Project. Ron Capps' new memoir about that time is called “Seriously Not All Right: Five Wars in Ten Years”.

Music As A Weapon

Since trumpets brought down the walls of Jericho, music has been part of the war narrative, and the playlist has gone far beyond the fife and drum corps of the American Revolution. From Scottish bagpipes to Metallica, Aaron Henkin takes us on a short tour through the history of music as a weapon.

What Ever Happened to Music Rivalries?

In the mid-90’s British tabloids proclaimed Oasis versus Blur: the battle of Britpop, and fans were more than willing to play along. But the music world hasn’t had one of those petty, bitter, record-selling, public dust-ups for a while.  Our guest Steven Hyden, staff writer at Grantland asked why in his article, "Whatever Happened to Music Rivalries?"

The Rolling Stones on the Road to Exile

When The Rolling Stones embarked on a farewell tour of Britain in March of 1971, there were no laminates, no backstage passes, and no sound checks. Just a rock and roll band playing new songs like “Brown Sugar” and “Wild Horses” with a longtime creative partnership teetering on the brink. All that and a young journalist named Robert Greenfield. He was the only reporter to accompany The Stones tour before their self-imposed tax refuge on France’s Mediterranean coast. He then joined them at Nellcôte, Keith Richard’s rented villa during the making of “Exile on Main Street,” one of the band’s most critically-acclaimed albums.  “Ain’t It Time We Said Goodbye: The Rolling Stones on the Road to Exile” is Greenfield’s third book on The Stones.