I recently had the opportunity to interview John Preston a musician on the Pacific Records Label.
Gary Hyde (GH): Tell me a little bit about your military service.
John Preston (JP): I joined the Marine Corps in 2000 and served until 2004. I was one of four Marines in my family, including my father and my two older brothers. I was a Field Wireman with Second Battalion, Seventh Marines (2/7) of the First Marine Regiment. I served as an infantry squad leader for the 2/7 react team and guard force while on combat deployment in Iraq. As a squad leader I ran over a hundred combat missions in an attempt to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people and help build a stable society. Much of that was accomplished in my time there as I saw several schools opened and jobs created for the Iraqi people. I still take pride in all that was accomplished during my time in Iraq and it sickens my heart to now see these people I fought for and future we built now destroyed by a new and evil enemy
GH: How did you get into music?
JP: Music has always been a part of my life since I was a child so the question may be about how I got back into music. I signed my first record contract in 2004 with what was then Real 2 Reel Records. At the time I had signed that deal I was returning from Iraq and was trying to show the world the good we were doing there through my music and single “Good Good America”. The contract was only six months and one single was released. It wasn’t our time. It is now ten years since I have been at war and I see the effect that it is taking on the veterans of my time. I had written ” Your War is Over” during the time my best friend battled PTSD and addiction. I was dealing with my own problems and wasn’t able to tell him to get it together. The song was something I wish I could have played for him then. Before the drugs had taken over his life. I knew that he wasn’t the only one that had ever experienced these issues and I somehow wanted the world to know what their Nation’s Hero’s were fighting against now that we have put our rifles down. I was injured at my current work and was told after a surgery I would be out for several months. It was only a week on the couch when I knew I need to go after my dreams and accomplish my mission. I picked up the phone and called every person I knew from 2004 when I was playing music and I sent them my music and vision. Pacific records believed in my vision and signed me in August of 2014 almost 10 years to the date of when I was signed in September of 2004. My Marine brothers and fellow musicians Shane Roberts and Justin Heisey were quick to join back with me after 10 years and continue what we had started then. It has all moved very quickly. That was only 8 months ago and so much has been accomplished. We have released a 5 song ep and are donating 30 % of the proceeds to fight PTSD, but most importantly we are creating awareness. I promised to my veteran brothers and sisters when this all started I was going to make as much noise as possible. That is what I am trying to do.
GH: How did the CD on Pacific Records come about?
JP: We were originally signed for a single. As our vision became a reality more songs were being written and recorded. I had personally dove head first into the project and our producer Patricio Pickslay (Pat) had done the same. Myself and fellow veterans Shane Roberts and Justin Heisey had amazing chemistry with Pat and were able to get a lot accomplished in our recording sessions. Considering Proceeds are going charity it only made sense to release more than one song. The EP is 5 songs that reflect stories of a modern day veteran from the times in combat to our struggles we can face integrating into society.
GH: Do you have a San Diego connection?
JP: Pacific Records! Brian Witkin (CEO, Pacific Records) and I go way back. I was his first artist with Real2reel Records 10 years ago. It has been a pleasure to be back to work for Brian. He took a risk in signing me and I am proud to say his risk is paying off.
GH: What goals are you trying to reach with your music.
JP: I can’t say this enough…… Awareness! Awareness! Awareness!!!! 22 veterans a day commit suicide and veterans all across the country are living with and daily battling PTSD. I intend for the whole country to hear “Your War is Over” and I am going to everything I can to assure that happens. I will fight my way to the top of the charts with the will, heart, and determination of our nations warriors. I want the world to have a better view of the American Veteran; our mind and our soul. Buy our Ep on iTunes and join the fight with us!
GH: Tell us about the Boot campaign.
JP: From the very beginning I had planned to donate proceeds to charity so from the moment I signed a record deal I was in search of the right charity. I spoke with several but the boot campaign was the right fit. Boot Campaign is an organization that prides themselves on raising awareness for veterans and they have allowed us to put our money directly towards PTSD.
John Preston: https://www.facebook.com/JohnPrestonMusic
To learn more and become involved in the about the Boot Campaign: http://www.bootcampaign.com/