Airman punk

Running a band and writing music in Afghanistan
By SAM PFEIFLE  |  December 2, 2009

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MOUNTAIN MUSIC Peter Bourgeois in Afghanistan.

Perhaps the clearest sign that Afghanistan is not your father's war comes in the person of Airman First Class Peter Bourgeois, who, while deployed at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan, has been busy managing the career of his former band, Jodi Explodi.

It's out of the ordinary, let's say, to get a disc in the mail for review where the envelope is post-marked from a war zone.

My interest piqued, I proceeded to exchange more than a few e-mails with Pete and eventually asked him if he'd like to do a Q&A about his experiences there. The results are both strangely exotic and oddly mundane:

HOW DID YOU GO FROM BEING IN A HEAVY PUNK BAND LIKE JODI EXPLODI AND RELEASING AN ALBUM CALLED CREATURES OF THE TIGHT TO BEING IN THE AIR FORCE AND DEPLOYED IN AFGHANISTAN? SOME PEOPLE MIGHT FIND THAT INCONGRUOUS. Long story short: I was the idiot who raised his hand. I never ever wanted to leave Jodi Explodi or the Outsiders. I really wanted to make my life about music, but I was working shit jobs to make money and it would all go back into the bands. It wasn't just a pastime for me, it was life. Then there was the "girlfriend." We had been dating since we were 16, and then being 22, she was on her way to a college degree. I was on my way to wasting another year of her life, just wondering what we were going to do when she graduated. So I had to choose which one was more important. Since I couldn't achieve my own college degree quick enough in order to get a job to support us the way she could, I decided to take the quick route that would guarantee a job with decent pay, but more importantly security for us. So that's about it, and just in case you are wondering, yes, it did work out and we are now married living in South Dakota, and about to move to England for three years.

WHAT'S YOUR "NORMAL" DAY LIKE OVER THERE? My normal day is waking up (thankfully) and going to my work center for 12 hours. We manage and fix computer-network issues. The thing that really sucks about it is that I am a radio technician, so I had to learn how to do my job here. Most of my day is full of the same dumb questions about people's network accounts and something like: "Why isn't my shit working?" And me asking something like: "Is it plugged in?" And it usually isn't. Over all it's not too bad, just really boring. The food sucks, it smells horrible, and you breathe in about a gallon of dust and sand a day.

IS THERE A PLACE FOR MUSIC IN THE AIR FORCE? DO PEOPLE ROCK IPODS AND LISTEN TO MUSIC OVER BOOM BOXES? DO PEOPLE TALK ABOUT NEW MUSIC? People listen to their iPods and stuff, not so much boom boxes or anything like that. We have what is called a "Morale Drive" which is this thing on our network where we can listen to all kinds of music people put out there.

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