‘Proud to be an American’ with a slightly harder tune
If the U.S. military can be imagined as a prizefighter, these would be the music videos played as he made his way to the ring.
Videos made by Ryan Hickman, aka “Grouchy,” creator of GrouchyMedia.com, display an explosive flexing of U.S. military muscle set to thrashing tunes, foreboding lyrics and lethal warnings.
The testosterone-rich clips contain B-1s releasing bombs, A-10s chewing up targets, soldiers launching shoulder-fired rockets and much more.
In addition to showcasing a broad range of military might, the videos contain blunt warnings to terrorists. In Hickman’s “Die Terrorists Die,” pictures of Osama bin Laden flash by in sync with the chorus of a song titled “Die ‘MF’ Die.” The expletive abbreviated by “MF” is screamed throughout the song, especially when bin Laden appears on the video.
Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” it is not.
“I’m not one to get real sentimental,” Hickman said from his home in West Palm Beach, Fla., during a telephone interview. “You’re not going to find me doing that sort of thing. That’s why I call myself ‘Grouchy.’”
But that’s not to say Hickman’s videos are any less patriotic than Greenwood’s “I’m proud to be an American” anthem. They’re pretty much guaranteed to unleash a tsunami of adrenaline to go with your red-white-and-blue ardor.
On his Web site, Hickman describes his creations as “those pump-you-up-to-kill-the-bad-guys videos.”
“I know I’ve done a good job when a father e-mails me and says, ‘Your video rocks, but I can’t show my kids,’ ” Hickman said.
Another measure of the job Hickman has done is the praise he has received from troops.
Senior Airman Vince Beausoleil began watching Grouchy’s videos during his basic training. Now, Beausoleil checks out the Web site weekly for new videos.
“I like it because it kind of gets you pumped up — the videos do,” said Beausoleil, who is stationed at Ramstein Air Base in Germany.
Hickman produces and edits the videos in his spare time on his home computer. By day, the 30-year-old works as an information technology manager.
Hickman was moved to make his first video, “Taliban Bodies,” in October 2001 in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks that year. He used images he found on the Internet.
He released “Die Terrorists Die,” his second video, in August 2002. It and a third one were made not only with Internet images but also videos sent to him by troops.
The roughly three-minute videos are definitely a labor of love. “Taliban Bodies” took 50 hours to make, and “Die Terrorists Die” required 100 hours.
Hickman’s Web site also contains several videos submitted to him from around the world after word about his work spread.
Hickman’s site averages about 1 million page views a month, he said. Even now, nearly four years after the debut of his first video, Hickman spends about five hours per week tending to the site.
So what keeps him going?
“It’s supporting the troops,” he said. “This whole site is out of respect for them.”
To view the videos, visit www.grouchymedia.com. Clean versions of explicit videos are available on the site.