War Songs: Newsted’s Heavy Metal Tribute to Pat Tillman

Here’s ex-Metallica bassist Jason Newsted’s new band performing a song called “Soldierhead” from their 2013 album Heavy Metal Music:

Here is Newsted’s explanation of the lyrics from the Songfacts website:

And the lyrical content is based upon the Pat Tillman story, the NFL football player that went to be a hero and died of friendly fire in Afghanistan. So it was about standing up for yourself and being a hero. He was a gifted person; always could jump higher and run faster than everybody and wanted to use those abilities to protect what he believed in. The song is about standing up for what you believe in, and being willing to give your life for what you believe in. So even when you have it really good, you’ll still stand up for something you believe in, even though you wouldn’t have to. So that’s the subject matter in that one.

Here are the lyrics:

Bombs go off around me
Bullets chase my head
Demonscene hellscape
Try to not get dead

From the cradle I was in
Straight for the firing line
By the teeth of my skin
Dragon and the serpent versus swine

Never quite ready
It just becomes your turn
Evertight steady
No more light to burn

A lie has no feet
Cannot stand alone
A cry in the street
Who cast the first stone

With dirt between my teeth
I made the devil sell his soul
I know that he can bleed
Moon goes dark sun grows cold

Where my mind would take me
Never coming near
Scared my heart would break me
Why am I here 

Pat Tillman interests me, too, and I wrote about him on my old blog here.  My impression is that Tillman had a contemplative sereneness about him, while Newsted suggests he was full of anger and darkness.  Who knows? That’s what art allows us to do, explore possibilities.  I am very sure there will be more musical tributes and film and literary adaptations of Tillman’s life story in the years to come.

“Soldierhead” music and lyrics by Jason Newsted, lyrics © Imagem U.S. LLC.

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