One of the great things about being stationed at Fort Hood is the proximity to the great music in Austin.

If you’re a single soldier (or a married one), it’s easy to jump in the car and cruise for 75 minutes or so to a land of world-class concerts or bars with cool tunes inside. Those short road trips are one of my fondest memories of being stationed at Fort Hood in the mid-1990s.

In 1994, some buddies and I ventured to Austin’s Southpark Meadows for a Pantera concert. Brazilian heavy metal band, Sepultura, opened up for them . Crazy. Insane. Magnificent.

At one point, three mosh pits — two smaller ones and a huge one in the center — were raging like madness personified.

I was young and strong in those days; braving the mosh pits was a hobby — a brutal dance with danger and exhilaration that leaves one feeling satisfied with life.

I remember jumping in the mosh pit during Pantera’s song “Walk.” After a couple of minutes another fellow going the wrong way head-butted me near my right temple, right at the edge of the eyebrow. The blow popped a blood vessel, and eventually my right eye was swollen shut for three days; the area around it a deep shade of purple. When I got back to my unit, the guys gave a temporary new nickname, Petey, after the Little Rascals’ dog.

Other weekend trips were not as hard core but were still eventful. In 1995, I went to a venue then called the Back Yard to see a Blues Traveler concert. Opening up for the band was Sheryl Crow, who had a top single at the time.

The Army buddy I went with had some deep crush on Crow. He tried to go backstage and meet her. He didn’t get very far.

Perhaps my favorite Austin musical excursion while I was in the Army was a Danzig concert in ’96. It was at the old Austin City Coliseum, which no longer exists. This was back when the Danzig song “Mother” was a big hit. But here’s the kicker: Opening up for Danzig was Marilyn Manson. And opening up for Marilyn Manson was Korn.

Those were the days.

JACOB BROOKS, a former Army tanker, is the city editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. Contact him at jbrooks@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7468.

Contact Jacob Brooks at​ jbrooks@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7468

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