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From left, Warren Mixon, Jason McElveen, and Scott Taylor of the band Strike Force perform an original instrumental song at the Installation Management Agency-Europe’s 26th Annual Battle of Bands talent contest in Katterbach, Germany, on Saturday. The trio took first place in this year’s competition.

From left, Warren Mixon, Jason McElveen, and Scott Taylor of the band Strike Force perform an original instrumental song at the Installation Management Agency-Europe’s 26th Annual Battle of Bands talent contest in Katterbach, Germany, on Saturday. The trio took first place in this year’s competition. (Raymond T. Conway / S&S)

From left, Warren Mixon, Jason McElveen, and Scott Taylor of the band Strike Force perform an original instrumental song at the Installation Management Agency-Europe’s 26th Annual Battle of Bands talent contest in Katterbach, Germany, on Saturday. The trio took first place in this year’s competition.

From left, Warren Mixon, Jason McElveen, and Scott Taylor of the band Strike Force perform an original instrumental song at the Installation Management Agency-Europe’s 26th Annual Battle of Bands talent contest in Katterbach, Germany, on Saturday. The trio took first place in this year’s competition. (Raymond T. Conway / S&S)

Strike Force’s Scott Taylor displays dazzling fretwork on a cover of the Jimi Hendrix classic “Little Wing.”

Strike Force’s Scott Taylor displays dazzling fretwork on a cover of the Jimi Hendrix classic “Little Wing.” (Raymond T. Conway / S&S)

Roman Bishop, singer of the band The Blank Line, belts out a song on Saturday. The Blank Line won second place and a trip to the All-Army Battle of Bands later this year.

Roman Bishop, singer of the band The Blank Line, belts out a song on Saturday. The Blank Line won second place and a trip to the All-Army Battle of Bands later this year. (Raymond T. Conway / S&S)

Atrophy, featuring from left, Jason Boling, Thomas Rascon, Brian Roshon and Justin Harris give the crowd a dose of heavy metal.

Atrophy, featuring from left, Jason Boling, Thomas Rascon, Brian Roshon and Justin Harris give the crowd a dose of heavy metal. (Raymond T. Conway / S&S)

Jesse Cabredo, singer for the band 5 Tone Vibes, performs Saturday.

Jesse Cabredo, singer for the band 5 Tone Vibes, performs Saturday. (Raymond T. Conway / S&S)

KATTERBACH, Germany — In a field of eight bands dominated by hard rock and heavy metal, a fusion band, Strike Force, claimed top honors at the 26th annual Installation Management Agency-Europe’s Battle of Bands talent contest Saturday.

Led by the blistering fretwork of guitarist Scott Taylor, Strike Force’s three-song set featured Jimi Hendrix’s “Little Wing” sandwiched between two original instrumental songs with a rock/jazz flair.

“That guy can flat out play,” exclaimed one member of the audience as Taylor put on a guitar clinic, with a style and sound similar to guitar virtuosos Steve Vai and Joe Satriani, both of whom he stated as influences.

Thanks to the first-place finish, Taylor and the other band members bassist Warren Mixon and drummer Jason McElveen, are headed to Washington, D.C., for the All-Army Battle of Bands later this year.

Second-place finishers, The Blank Line, also will make the trip.

Despite Taylor’s performance, no member of Strike Force won an individual awards Saturday, but there were several outstanding performances.

Juan Caballero of Red Line was named best guitarist, while Steve Lemire of Whatever won best bassist. Red Line’s Nicole Wynn was voted best vocalist and Daniel Walsh of Kanipshun took home the best drummer award.

Along with the trip to the All-Army finals, the winners received trophies and cash prizes for their efforts. Strike Force netted the top prize of $500, The Blank Line got $250 and third-place finishers Red Line, $150.

“It’s indescribable ... really, really cool,” Taylor said after winning. Clad in jeans and T-shirt, the soft-spoken Taylor added, “But now we’re definitely going to have to step it up a notch.”


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