Pfc. Anthony S. Shipley with the 94th Engineers shares the stage with Beautiful Generation's lead singer Shelby Goff during a MWR concert in Iraq. (Photo by Pfc. Adam Carl Blazak/Army PAO)
MOSUL, Iraq (Sept. 20, 2008) — When rising rock band Beautiful Generation performed at the Morale, Welfare and Recreation building located on Forward Operating Base Marez, one thing was for sure — it was time to let loose.
Coalition force soldiers danced and sang during the 90 minute performance on Aug. 14.
"The concert was rockin'," said Pfc. Anthony S. Shipley, an engineer with 94th Engineers and a native of Tacoma, Wash. "I loved listening to these guys. It just made my day!"
Shipley was just one of the lucky few who were invited on stage to accompany lead vocalist, Shelby Goff, during popular rock ballads.
"If I see them again I'll definitely jump back on the stage," Shipley boasted.
"We're straight up rock band; heavy guitars, lots of drums and thick, chunky bass lines." Goff said. "Our music is from the heart, and our live performance is where it's at. We put on a phenomenal show."
Though much of their music was cover songs, the band played a few original pieces composed by Goff.
"I pull my songs from life experiences, relationships, growth, triumph and struggles. That's really where I get my inspiration," she said. She then recalled one of her most memorable moments during a United Service Organizations Tour.
"There's a song I wrote called Father," Goff said. "I remember playing that song, and I guess some of the people were really touched by it, because you could see tears in their eyes. As an artist, I don't really think you could ask for anything else," she said. "When something that you created is touching the lives of others, and it's so apparent, it's really motivating."
Though sometimes the venues aren't standing room only, the members know the importance of what they do.
"Meeting coalition forces is amazing," said guitarist Lantz Cornell. "This whole experience is unreal."
"It doesn't matter if I'm reaching 100 people or one person. I'm reaching somebody," she added. "When you're up there and you see that person and that smile on their face you don't even think about how many people there are or aren't. You're just in the zone. We're just really thankful to be here."
Goff, a former Miami Dolphin cheerleader, knows how to work the stage.
As a cheerleader, "It was a way for me to perform," she said, adding that as a member of Show Team, the elite cheerleaders of the squad, she was able to sing.
"I was one of the select few who basically got to perform all over the world," she said. "It was an opportunity for me to showcase my talent, but I wasn't getting the recognition that I wanted. I was known as a cheerleader and not an artist or musician, which is what I ultimately what I wanted to be."
After her stint cheerleading, she formed the group in Los Angeles and started performing USO Tours for deployed soldiers. She is currently on her eighth tour.
"I just keep coming back, because the people are wonderful." Goff said. "The experience, there's nothing like it. Music is my passion, it's my love."
While Goff is a USO Tour veteran, this is the band's bass player's first time on tour.
"If you have any bit of adventure in you, then you can't pass this up," Tony Glaser exclaimed, the bass player for a Beautiful Generation.
Dubbed "Beautiful Generation" after the merging of two bands, the members met five years ago in Los Angeles' closely-knit musician circle in Sunset Strip and the Musician's Institute in Hollywood, Calif., Goff stated.
"It's a pretty hardcore atmosphere out here," said drums player Scott Wittenberg. "It has been an honor and a pleasure."