A trio of Marine veterans released an album on Veterans Day they hope will draw awareness to the challenges former service members face once they leave the military.
The band is led by John Preston, a field wireman with 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, who left the Corps in 2004 after deploying to Iraq. Justin Heisey, the guitar and keyboard player, was a rifleman with 2/7 before getting out in 2002 as a corporal. And Shane Roberts, the lead guitarist, was an aviation ordnanceman who left the Corps as a lance corporal who last served with battalion headquarters at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms.
The three, now spread across California, will release "Your War is Over," a four-track album on Nov. 11.
"This album is meant to support and promote veterans supporting veterans as they come back," Heisey said.
The band, which releases music under Preston's name, released their first single and video on Oct. 20. The single is called "This is War," and the title track is about the battles Marines face overseas and on the home front. Preston sings about deployments, his time in the Corps, and a friend who is struggling with post-traumatic stress.
Beyond playing rock-and-roll and sharing the nuances of military life, Preston said he hopes it build public awareness of the difficulties former service members face. His band and their record label plan to donate 30 percent of the project's proceeds the Boot Campaign, a charity that works with celebrities to help veterans with housing and jobs and care.
"The goal is not ultimately to give to charities but to open up the eyes of the country," Preston said.
The band started working on this project six months ago and recorded their album with Pacific Records.
"We dropped everything we were doing in life to go to a studio in San Diego and we went to work," Preston said.
They have a spectrum of musical backgrounds, including blues, country and rock-and-roll, but the members said their sound comes from Preston. He writes the lyrics and the basic sound while the others fill out the rest of the song.
Preston said he loves the Beatles and music from the 1960s. His bandmates said he sounds like Rob Thomas from Matchbox 20, and borrows from Bob Dylan and Garth Brooks.
They've performed in public a handful of times, but their new civilian careers, families and the hundreds of miles between them makes it tough to regularly have concerts.
It's a lot like his experiences with other groups, Roberts said, but this time it seems to matter more.
"I've been in several bands before, it has always been about the music and being famous, but nothing this important," he said.