By Sgt. Matthew C. Cooley,
15th Sustainment Brigade
CONTINGENCY OPERATING LOCATION Q-WEST, Iraq - The all-female ACDC tribute band ThundHerStruck, out of Los Angeles, performed a karaoke-style concert for troops, civilian contractors and Department of Defense employees at the Morale, Welfare and Recreation center Jan. 26.
The performance, part of the band's two-week Iraq-Kuwait tour beginning Jan. 22, was almost called off because the lead singer was ill and unable to sing.
Before the show, one of the performers suggested making it a karaoke-style performance - a first for the world-touring band started under the ThundHerStruck name in 2004, Dyna Shirasaki, the band's lead singer said.
Soldiers picked up numbered cards as they entered. Before each song the band called out the upcoming song's name and the numbers assigned to sing the song.
Or at least that was the intention.
At first, soldiers and civilians alike were slow to get up on stage with the five women, but after a performance of "Back in Black" with Capt. Keith Lott, a logistics officer in 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command, chance to sing with a real rock band backing you up," Capt. Kristy Hayes, a medical officer with 501st Area Support Medical Company, 1st Medical Battalion, said. "It rocked! The girls were extremely talented musicians and the audience participation made it really fun."
One civilian firefighter even played the drums twice and was nicknamed "Madman" by the band's drummer for his hard-hitting barefooted playing.
The women of ThundHerStruck have toured multiple times in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo, Japan, and in various European countries, Shirasaki said.
"These are our favorite tours," Tina Wood, an England native residing in LA and the band's lead guitarist, said of entertaining the troops. "It's what drives us to still play."
"It's fun, too, except when you don't sleep and lose your voice," she quietly joked. "We get to do cool stuff like shoot guns."
"I came from a military family," Shirasaki said. "I feel really strongly about supporting the troops."
Wood explained why she enjoyed it.
"[It's] the fact that they're so happy to see us," Wood said.
The band is only part-time for the performers and they all have full-time careers, Shirasaki, a criminalist for the L.A. Police Department, explained.
"It's hard to do more than one [tour] a year," Wood said.
Between work, prior engagements, and family responsibilities, two of the usual band members were unable to make the tour, Shirasaki explained. Diana Widegrin filled in on rhythm guitar and Nikki Lane filled in on drums.
Andrea Zermeno, a regular band member, played bass.
Shirasaki said she, Wood, Lane and Zermeno plan to continue playing together as a new Led Zeppelin tribute band called Hammer of the Broads.