Local

June 8, 2012

Edwards employees demonstrate talent beyond the flightline

Tags:
by Jet Fabara
95th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Courtesy photograph
Native American-based Rock & Blues band known as as Blue Mountain Tribe pose for a group photo in Tehachapi, Calif. Three out of the five band members work at Edwards Air Force Base and have been selected as a band to be the opening act for the American heavy metal band Dokken during the Thunder on the Lot event June 9 held once a year in the Antelope Valley.

It’s not unusual to find people with some musical ability or talent at any base, but what are the chances of finding three individuals at the same base with the same musical drive and talent who decide to form the only Native American-based Rock & Blues band?

In the case of three Edwards employees, three out of the five band members are part of the group known as Blue Mountain Tribe and have been selected, after an extensive audition process, to be the opening act for the American heavy metal band Dokken during the Thunder on the Lot event June 9 held once a year in the Antelope Valley. They will play at the AV Fairgrounds.

“Initially, I wanted an all Native American band, but there were a lot of Native Americans that just didn’t play Rock n’ Roll or Blues, so I started putting ads in but had no results or call backs,” said Robin “Bubba” Hairston, 95th Civil Engineering Division heavy equipment operator, who is the manager, agent and harmonica player in the band. “One day somebody said they knew of a musician on base that sung really well and decided to have him audition. Although he wasn’t Native American, because Native Americans make up only one percent of the base population, Bruce Shanks’ vocal ability was exactly what I was looking for. After that, we then found Jeff “Cooperhawk” who plays bass guitar and represents the Cherokee Nation, Gary Jones who is our guitar player and is of Chickasaw descent, and soon after found our drummer, Tom Wray. We found our musicians just by word of mouth.”

Of the band members, Hairston said that since his son Caleb Hairston, who plays guitar, and Bruce Shanks both worked for the 412th Maintenance Squadron, this was just one of the many benefits of working and living within the Edwards vicinity.

“Our support at this base is phenomenal. We even have some leadership that show up to our concerts and watch us play,” added Hairston. “In addition to the base support, the good thing about all this is that our families support us because they see our talent and the desire we have.”

As for balancing their full-time jobs and their musical endeavors, Hairston said it is a delicate balance.

“It is hectic. We all work full-time jobs, we all have families, but we see this talent we all have and we don’t want to put it aside, so we have to dedicate the whole day on Sunday by practicing up to seven hours,” Hairston said. “Our goal is to become a household band and to eventually get signed with a major record label but at the same time we don’t want to leave our jobs. This is imperative. We love this base and our country and want to stay here and work for our country. No matter how much we may get paid, we’re proud to work here and we love what we do here.”

In addition to being the only Native American-based band, the team of musical professionals pride themselves in also having the only awesome father and son duo that work at the same base.

“As a child, Caleb struggled in school, but once he picked up a guitar and started playing music, he had an ability to hear a song and play it, so I kept encouraging him to continue learning,” said Hairston. “Now, he’s well sought after and I know someday I may lose him to another band.”

No stranger to the limelight, Hairston said he started Edwards as an Army National Guard reservist who was stationed at Edwards after 9/11.

“I arrived at Edwards initially after 9/11 as part of an artillery unit that was augmented to the 95th Security Forces Squadron,” said Hairston. “It was here at Edwards, where I started getting back into playing the harmonica after being out of the music industry for a couple of years and going from there. I left Edwards after my service commitment was over and a year later I applied for a civil engineering position as a heavy equipment operator at Edwards and here I am.”

As for where the band plans to go from here, Hairston said that they plan to do what he initially said during his first Desert Wings interview a couple years ago.

“My first interview at Edwards I stated that I wasn’t going to knock on doors, I was going to kick them in and we, as a band, intend to do the same now and in the future,” said Hairston. “Overall, we’re extremely excited because we’re not only representing our Native American people but Edwards Air Force Base as well and our goal is to continue climbing, so this is a tremendous privilege to be able to do this.”

For more information on future Blue Mountain Tribe concerts and appearances, go to their Facebook page or contact Robin Hairston at (661) 822-9070.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Separated but not alone

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho–As the dawn broke out over the mountains, I woke up to the sun peeping through my window. Once I got up I went straight to the kitchen to make my family breakfast yet in the back of my mind, all I could think about was, how am I going...
 
 
duck-blind2

Duck blind drawing slated for Aug. 8

Waterfowl hunters can participate in the annual duck blind drawing scheduled Aug. 8 at the Rod and Gun Activity, Bldg. 210. Base hunting permits may be submitted to drawing officials from 9 a.m. until the actual drawing begins,...
 
 
LPGA1

Free golf clinics with LPGA tour player

Air Force photographs by Rebecca Amber Ladies Professional Golf Association tour player Stephanie Louden demonstrates how to correctly use three golf clubs, a wedge, a 7-iron and a driver during the free golf clinic July 24. Lo...
 

 

NASA’S American Eatery (Bldg. 4825)

Aug. 3-7 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday Beef taco salad Tuesday Lasagna Side salad and garlic bread Wednesday Country fried steak Mashed potatoes and gravy Vegetables Thursday Orange chicken Fried rice and egg roll Friday Baked cod Macaroni and cheese Broccoli All Blue Plate Specials — $7.89 Drink not included. Medium Beverage, $1.99; Large,...
 
 

Air Force promotes fatigue countermeasures

Human fatigue results from sleep deprivation. Fatigue has become a growing concern in the Air Force as sustained and continuous operations, along with global deployments, are stretching the ability of our forces to meet growing mission demands. Some Airmen may question whether fatigue is really a big enough hazard to worry about. Fatigue can decrease...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Chrissy Best

Losing sleep: CSAF shares what keeps him up at night

U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Chrissy Best Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III speaks with 501st Combat Support Wing Airmen during an all call at Royal Air Force Croughton, England, July 16. Welsh explained the...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>