Bands go head-to-head

Story and photos by Airman 1st Class Grovert Fuentes-Contreras
435th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Some might call it a recipe for disaster with date and last minute venue changes, but in true rock stardom, as soon as the lights went off, every worry drifted away at the sound of the first drumbeat.

Armed Forces Against Drunk Driving sponsored the first Battle of the Bands Jan. 16 at the Ramstein Southside Fitness Center.

With more than 100 attendees, two bands going head-to-head and free food and prizes, the night turned out to be successful.

“The goal for this event is to create an alternative to drinking,” said 435th Air Base Wing Command Chief Master Sgt. Mitchell Stippel. “Families and single Airmen are welcome to come enjoy this event in an alcohol-free environment.”

The bands played tunes from the ’60s to today’s current beats.

“This is a great opportunity for music to rock our souls,” said Master Sgt. Mark DeCorte, 86th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron’s first sergeant. “These guys rock!”

Many might think giving up a Friday or Saturday night to be a drag, but the AADD volunteers disagree.

“I feel a sense of accomplishment,” said vice president of AADD, Airman 1st Class Benjamin Rongey, electrician for the 735th Civil Engineer Squadron. “Many people preach about the wingman concept and yet do nothing about it, therefore, I eat my words by volunteering.”

“This option is better than people going out drinking and then getting a DUI,” said AADD secretary, Senior Airman Jesse Ford, who is a bioenvironmental engineering tech for the 435th Aerospace Medical Squadron. “There is free food and entertainment, and it’s a place where you can bring your family to and have a great time.”

Band members were also happy to have such an opportunity to be part of such a positive event. The two bands were Lemonade Sandwich and Friktion Addiktion.

“This event gives the KMC a chance to do something other than drink on a Friday night and come support AADD,” said Senior Master Sgt. Thomas Pitman, U.S. Air Forces in Europe A7, deployment functional area manager and the guitarist for Friktion Addiktion.

“This event is good for parents with kids because of the music and there is no alcohol involved,” said Cory Mathisen, guitarist and singer for the band Lemonade Sandwich.

With AADD becoming a non-profit organization, the AADD counsel is giving back by offering gift certificates to volunteers.

“The AADD leadership understands how much volunteers give to AADD – not only do they dedicate their time, but they also drive their own vehicles,” Airman Ford said. “We love volunteers and also encourage others to volunteer and give it a try because not only do we save about 20 lives a night, but we also have fun nights playing ‘Rockband’ and card games while we wait to be called.”

AADD created an unforgettable event for everyone that left the volunteers satisfied and had the audience leaving the event with their feet tapping to the beat of rock.