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The Rock ’n’ Roll Casualty Who Became a War Hero

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great article.  good american with a stranger than life story

Holy Smokes: "Jason Everman has the unique distinction of being the guy who was kicked out of Nirvana and Soundgarden, two rock bands that would sell roughly 100 million records combined. At 26, he wasn’t just Pete Best, the guy the Beatles left behind. He was Pete Best twice."

No way!

Everman also helped the band in another way. Nirvana owed money to the producer of their first album, “Bleach,” which they’d already recorded. “Jason was very generous,” Novoselic said. “And he’d had a job. . . . So he had, like, bucks, O.K.? You know how it said it was recorded for like six hundred and something bucks on the back of the record? Jason paid for that.” It was $606.17, which came out of Everman’s fishing money. Sub Pop thought so much of him that it printed a limited-edition live poster of Jason rocking out.

The quiet moodiness that got him kicked out of Nirvana and Soundgarden made him great in Special Forces:

In the war, Everman seemed to have found his place. The cloud didn’t go anywhere; it just didn’t matter anymore. As one of his Special Forces colleagues (who is still on active duty and requested that his name not be published) told me: “He would get moody sometimes, but it didn’t interfere with the task at hand. I would rather work with somebody who is quiet than ran their suck constantly.” In Everman’s cabin, I saw medal after medal, including the coveted Combat Infantryman Badge. “Sounds kind of Boy Scouty,” he said. “But it’s actually something cool.” I saw photos of Everman in fatigues on a warship (“an antipiracy operation in Asia”). A shot of Everman with Donald Rumsfeld. Another with Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal. And that’s when it hit me. Jason Everman had finally become a rock star.

And when he left the military, he got a degree in philosophy?!

“The way I look at it, life is meaningless,” Everman said the last time I saw him. “The meaningfulness is what you impart to it.” The words sounded an awful lot like those of a philosophy undergrad, which is the latest iteration of Jason Everman’s life. He was talking about Jack Kerouac; he had to reread “On the Road” for one of his classes. We were standing in front of Butler Library on the Columbia University campus in New York. Everman looked rested and content, a backpack over his shoulder. After he left the military in 2006, he used the G.I. Bill to apply to two places: Seattle University and Columbia University. He says he threw Columbia in almost as a joke. General McChrystal wrote a letter of recommendation. To Everman’s shock, he was accepted. “It’s almost like a dare that went too far — and it keeps going.” At 45, he just received his bachelor’s degree in philosophy.

Amazing story indeed!

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