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    Demoted: Sonic Therapy to unwind from the grind

    Demoted: Sonic Therapy to unwind from the grind

    Photo By Capt. Jeffrey Brenchley | The four core members of Demoted take a walk through dense fog at Robonson Barracks,...... read more read more

    “My job is so (bleeping) stressful…that’s why I’m so tired all the time,” this declarative statement is seemingly at odds with the person who uttered it — Timmy, the energetic frontman of Demoted, a hard rocking musical quartet comprised of four Green Berets stationed in Germany and each affiliated in their own way to Special Operations Command Europe.

    Demoted is a rock band which is composed at the time of this writing of Timmy, the aforementioned frontman and band elder statesman who works as a headquarters first sergeant at SOCEUR, Nick, the lead guitarist and tech guru who doubles as a senior planning officer, Alec the bassist and a staff officer assigned to 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), and Nile the drummer and also a first sergeant in the same battalion. Demoted has been performing with a rotating cast of Green Berets and special operations personnel since 2011 and performs shows both large and small across Europe.
    At first glance, Demoted may give the impression of a typical garage band. A common spectator might see them on stage and never realize that between the lead vocalist, guitarist, bassist and drummer there is upwards of 70 years combined special operations training and decades of high intensity operational experience. The four members of Demoted each carry the distinction of “Green Beret,” and every one of them has a current position within the special operations community in Europe that carries heavy responsibilities and real stakes.

    Packaged with those responsibilities comes significant stressors and pressure situations. These guys have operated in a high-octane environment for the bulk of their careers and have looked for a stress outlet along the way. Joining and playing in Demoted provides an opportunity to release stress while also maintaining the special camaraderie found on special operations teams.
    “More or less, I feel like what I do for a living is get punched in the face. All the time,” explained Timmy in a gravelly voice.

    “If I look tired right now. It’s because I’m freaking exhausted. So, without a doubt, this is an outlet, and it is a way that I can get away from all things that get me down and do something I love.”
    “It is difficult to separate yourself from being a Green Beret,” added Nick.

    “I think that is a well-respected thing, and when you identify in that way, it’s hard to find other things that live up to that level…” he said, pausing.

    “So, it’s hard to replace that,” he continued. “Team time is a very coveted thing, and the four of us have culminated with our detachment team time. The thing we came here to do — we’ve all eclipsed that. So, this (playing in Demoted) has become a thing that now brings us joy. It gives us a purpose away from work and allows us to sink our teeth into something separate from the office. It makes the difficult things worth it because it gives us a way to tap into a part of our personality that doesn’t get nurtured at work.”

    Composed of multiple components, joint services, and hundreds of personnel, SOCEUR’s mission is constant. Operations never cease, and people are moving all the time. To say the environment is kinetic would be to short sell it. Timmy says having music as medium to decompress has been a huge component of his career.

    “It is a release. I think one of the things that has stayed true throughout time with the band is that it has allowed all of us a creative outlet to deal with all of the stuff — be it personal or at work — over the course of time, this is an outlet. Without a doubt.”

    Nick elaborated, “I think that we (Green Berets) have challenges with dopamine and serotonin. For over 20 years, the thing that has brought us those feelings has been a lifestyle that involved high risk activities on a daily basis. So, finding something that can recreate that has been very therapeutic.”

    Timmy explained that Demoted serves not only as a creative outlet for himself and his bandmates, but it has been an asylum of sorts for those who have had troubles, both in the office and at home.
    “I love to sing, I love these guys, we do something collectively that is creative and fun,” he said. “Music is a powerful thing. It heals, it inspires, and…it’s freaking fun.”

    Due to the ever-changing nature of special operations, band members have come and gone through the lifespan of Demoted. While Timmy is the longest tenured member of the group, some of the newer members have found similar refuge through the music. When bassist Alec joined the group in 2020, he found that assimilating to the band gave him an environment to relax.

    “We all work together in some capacity,” he said. “We’re all Green Berets, but when we come here to play, we’re just guys…we’re just dudes who are hanging out and playing music,” he said. “It’s kind of cool, really awesome that we can leave work at work. We come here and we’re just some guys who are playing music together. I really enjoy that.”

    The impact extends beyond work, according to Alec’s wife Nataliya.

    “The evenings that he (Alec) spends with the band definitely have a positive effect on him.” she said.

    “For the most part, he comes home from the studio seeming more grounded and less frustrated. Sometimes on the days that he comes home from the studio a bit more stressed than usual after a really intense day of practice, I know that it's because he and all the guys care a lot about the band's cohesion and sound and have been putting in a lot of hours working to improve. They all hold themselves and each other to a high standard (and I wouldn't expect anything different), so the band seems like a great outlet for that intensity.”

    The band members say they share an unspoken bond forged through military service which helps them out on stage.

    “Without a doubt the two things bleed into each other,” said Timmy, referencing military service and playing rock and roll. He expressed that in his view on stage, he is able to read his band members through non-verbal cues and it helps keep the group in tempo and allows them to shift from one song to the next seamlessly. “There are certain things I can do, whether it’s a foot stomp, or a hand drop,” he explained. “Or even a certain look I can give the guys during a transition in a song. The non-verbal piece is huge for us. I think it has to do with time in the green suit.” he elaborated.

    “The training we have bleeds over into playing music together, because I can do a hand signal or a certain motion and everybody knows to go in a certain direction.”
    Military familiarity has helped new band members to assimilate. Alec said that when Nile joined the group, he had never played the Demoted material and used built-in camaraderie to quickly catch up to the rest of the group. “Having those universal Green Beret signals that every Green Beret knows, it helped Nile to pick up on what we were doing. He understood it quickly,” he said.
    Nile agreed with the sentiment, adding, “When I showed up there was a very large setlist filled with songs I had never played. I was able to pick up on cues from Alec, Nick, Timmy — literally everyone. I could see what I needed to do and it really helped me.”

    He explained that as a drummer, he can feel what his teammates are going to do next, and due to association, he can anticipate which direction to go.
    “You can feel it in advance,” he said. “If Timmy moves his hand in a certain fashion, I know what is coming. I can feel it in a way that if Alec, or Nick want a certain transition, I’m able to read their body language and execute.”

    For years Demoted has made their way as a cover band, playing hard rocking classics from the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and 2000s. They’ve gained a steady following in Europe and their Instagram page is racking up followers at a quick pace. The group members say they have goals to expand their efforts and begin creating their own music. The challenge is finding a way to balance creating new music with the rigors of special operations and a revolving cast of characters.

    “When we all work full time jobs that are very demanding, time becomes very small and you have to make the most of it,” said Timmy. “We don’t have a lot of time — you never know when the next guy will have to leave — so it adds a challenge creatively to make our own music. Ultimately, I would like to reach a point where we are just playing our own stuff, but that’s a lofty ambition because it is hard to get all of us in the same location for an extended time.”

    The band will soon face additional turnover, Alec will PCS to a new duty station sometime within the next calendar year, and a new bassist will join the group. This doesn’t mean the band loses touch. Just the opposite, according to Timmy. He said the group maintains a legacy chat and members, both new and old, banter and share ideas regularly. Band chat is not limited to current and former members, however. It is a bigger conversation.

    “I got an email from one of our former Group commanders, who is now a Major General — Maj. Gen Ferguson ❲Maj. Gen Lawrence G. Ferguson, Commander, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne)❳,” said Timmy. “He reached out to me and showed me this song which was performed by a Swedish metal group. He said, ‘Hey this song is great, but I’d love to see it performed by Demoted!’. So that’s pretty cool. We have brand recognition and people know us from the band. It’s cool because it has not only brought us together, but it has brought the community together.”

    Performing has given the band lasting camaraderie, and members both new and old share a bond and notoriety which extends through the special operations community, both American and other. Recently, the band played a concert with one of its original members, a drummer and Green Beret named Jimmy. Jimmy is a recent retiree from the U.S. Special Forces. During the show, his presence drew special operators from multiple European countries as well as over 100 fellow American special operations forces personnel who showed up to honor a founding member of the band and a legacy Green Beret.
    “Jimmy was a staple within the 10th Group,” said Nick. He explained that Jimmy maintained a musical footprint with Demoted across Colorado, Germany, and multiple deployed locations over the last decade. His retirement was a noteworthy moment for the members of the band.

    “It was special to be able to play those songs once more with Jimmy,” said Nick. “Jimmy was a true Green Beret. He was able to execute and teach as well as anyone. His farewell was much deserved. He gave so much to the regiment.”

    Community is part of the larger picture for Demoted. For those involved, it’s more than a hobby. It is a medium for mental and spiritual wellness. Members use the music they play to relax, unwind, cope, prepare, and ramp up for the next day. While life in the military evolves, the music remains constant. It’s always there, always available. The ability to bind a people in a shared experience is powerful and holds tremendous benefit to the special operations community. The testimony of the members of the band demonstrates the total value of the band.

    “We love it. We get away from work and we experience sonic therapy. It moves us and it moves the community.” said Timmy. “People come to hear us play and they leave with a positive experience. It’s freaking awesome to be able to do that.”



    Date Taken: 05.13.2024
    Date Posted: 05.13.2024 05:07
    Story ID: 471098
    Location: DE

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