Airmen of Defaced bring heavy medal to RAF Mildenhall
WEST ROW — It’s a typical late summer Friday around dusk and all is quiet in this quaint Suffolk village within an earshot of RAF Mildenhall. Until, that is, Defaced rips into the first song of its weekly practice session.
The quiet sounds of chirping crickets and the occasional passing car are overwhelmed by the loud, fast and aggressive sounds of the five enlisted airmen who make up the metal band.
“When we first started to practice, I went around to all the neighbors to make sure they were all good with it,” said Tech. Sgt. Greg Sartain, who plays lead guitar and volunteers his well-decorated garage for the band’s practice space.
“People have been surprisingly cool for how loud we can be.”
And they are loud.
The band plays metal the way it’s meant to be played: ripping across chords with lighting speed and screaming lyrics that could very well be the words to a Dr. Seuss book but come out sounding more like a livid motorist in traffic.
But after a few minutes listening to the musicians interact with each other and their ad-hoc group of family and friends-cum-groupies, it’s easy to see they’re far from the stereotypical punk metal band.
They aren’t mad-at-the-world malcontents bent on bashing the establishment and ushering in a new era of anarchy. Instead, they’re well-adjusted, law-abiding airmen who just love to rock, and rock as loud and fast as their talent can muster.
Their set list is an interesting mix of self-evident walk-on-the-dark-side introspectives and self-deprecating word plays that beg for exploration. “Consequences of Failure” follows “Orgy of Cannibalism” follows “Drowning in a Crowded Pool” in the group’s set list.
They basically stick to original material but will occasionally drift into covering bands from which they draw inspiration.
“In a song of ours we’ll do a segment of Pantera’s ‘5 Minutes Alone’ just to see the crowd’s faces light up,” Sartain said. “We’ve put Slayer’s ‘Raining Blood’ on the plate, but haven’t performed it. We’ve messed with a Metallica medley.”
By sticking to their guns and playing the music they love, they’ve made a name for themselves in the local music scene. They’ve played gigs at local pubs and clubs around Suffolk and Norfolk as well as taking second in the Mildenhall Battle of the Bands and first in the Lakenheath Battle of the Bands.
Sartain recently worked with RAF Lakenheath officials to organize an Oct. 28 quasi-Halloween-themed rock fest at the 48th Avenue community center, which promises to be a night of head-bashing, foot-stomping, hand-clapping rock-and-roll fun.
“We’d like to see the 48th Avenue packed to the rafters,” he said. “It’s not often that you get to have rock shows on base. We’ve got four great bands from all over the place: Norwich, Oxford and local bands.”