Honoring Fallen Comrades Through His Music … Josh Revak
July 21, 2007
Thanks again to Sue, I had the opportunity to speak on the phone with an incredible young Soldier and musician who’s earned a special place in my heart. Currently Josh is still active duty in the Army but will be soon medically retired, due to injuries he sustained in Iraq.
Music has always played a large part in the life of Josh Revak. Josh grew up an only child, who was homeschooled, so he wasn’t exposed to a lot of friends as he grew up. Music was a companion and friend to Josh. Something he could immerse himself into, regardless of his mood or what was going on in his life. Josh shared that he wrote music when he was young but going to Iraq motivated him to write and perform some of the best music he’s written.
Josh shared of rewriting his unit song (he’s a member of 1st Battalion, 37th Armor, 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division) with his best friend and mentor 1SG Aaron Jagger. shortly before deploying to Iraq. The re-written version of the unit song, became so popular in the unit that it was played daily before battle updates in Iraq and is used to lead off battalion functions. While in Iraq, Jagger and Josh became well known for the songs they wrote and performed in honor of their fallen comrades. They performed on a regular basis at memorial ceremonies for fallen Soldiers. Josh shared that many of the memorial services they performed at were for close friends. After the first time, they were asked to perform again. He shared that he and Jagger felt that it couldn’t be any more difficult than it already had been for them and agreed to do so.
Performing at memorial services continued until Josh was halfway through his second tour in Iraq, when he was injured when a 120 mm mortar fell close to where he was standing in Ramadi. His roommate, Sgt Terry Lisk, unfortunately took the brunt of the blast and died from his injuries. Josh, who had severe injuries to his right foot and ankle was medically evacuated to Germany. A short time after Josh was injured and medically evacuated to Germany, he received devastating news. News that made him consider leaving his music behind. He was told that his best friend, the man who took him under his wing and helped him through his initial struggle in the Army, 1SG Aaron Jagger and two other soldiers were killed in by a roadside bomb in Ramadi. Josh, understandably was devastated to lose this special person in his life. The man who took him under his wing in Germany, when he was struggling with Army life, guided him in his career, treated him like a son and taught him to play guitar.
Josh is now back home in Minnesota and in the process of being medically retired from the Army. Josh has continued his dream of one day completing an album. This album In The Hours Of Darkness is a musical story of his deployment. A story of the pain of losing his friends, some who were like brothers to him. He said that you can hear 1SG Jagger’s fantastic guitar work, as many of the songs were recorded in Iraq. Josh feels that 1SG Jagger would have wanted him to complete the album. One song on the album, entitled simply The Song is dedicated to his best friend and mentor, 1SG Aaron Jagger. Josh played this song at 1SG Jagger’s memorial service. That had to be one of the most difficult memorial services that Josh ever did. Josh asked me to share that song, with our readers.
“The Song” by Josh Revak
Today, the future for Josh is unsure. He’s been offered a job with the DAV, but he’s also looking into attending college and perhaps going into Audio Production. Josh shared that he felt he could be really passionate about working for the DAV, helping disabled veterans such as himself. Josh will soon be traveling to Rhode Island to meet up with Sean and Sidney from To The Fallen Records and remix his song, Empty Boots for an upcoming To The Fallen Records CD. Josh is excited about this opportunity.
I asked Josh what he hoped that American citizens, listening to his album would get from it. Here’s what Josh had to say.
“The truth and experiences we had. The loss. No matter who you work for or where you’re at, we’re all going to die. That’s just the reality of it. So many things are there to distract people from the true meaning of life. Take the time to search for the meaning of life and before it’s too late.”
Josh had an even more powerful message that he hopes that other soldiers will get from his music.
“Take the chance and figure it out. When we played at memorials, no one cried, no one mourned. They need to do that. Mourn your losses. Don’t be ashamed to cry and mourn.”
Josh and I talked about some of the musical influences throughout his life. His taste and variety is music is varied, from feel good, oldies Rock and Roll, to music by Bob Dylan, Christian music, Rolling Stones, Eddie Vetter, Billy Joel, and Sound Garden. His absolute favorite musician and probably his biggest influence is Keith Green a pianist who died in a plane crash in 1982.
One last thing Josh wanted to leave with our readers is this:
“There is a plan and a purpose in life and there’s someone greater than yourself who is in control. My purpose is to help people cry, mourn and to heal.
Josh has been featured twice in Stars and Stripes newspaper. Please take the time to read those articles, which you can find here and here and learn even more about this very talented and inspirational young soldier. Also, please take some time to visit Josh’s page, where you can also purchase his CD, In The Hours Of Darkness.