Music to Missouri troops’ ears

A Columbia band is compiling an album to send to local units stationed in Iraq.
Thursday, September 9, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 2:48 a.m. CDT, Thursday, July 10, 2008

Eli Gallagher doesn’t want much from his musical career, just world domination.

“I think I’d be a good Emperor of All,” Gallagher said. “But that probably won’t happen.”

Although Gallagher, vocalist for the band Fall Children, conceded an omnipotent empire is a bit far-fetched, world domination is a step-by-step process. Fall Children will take the first step toward building a global musical empire when it ships some of its music to Iraq.

Guitarist Dan Isaac said the band completed its demo July 28.

“Our new demo has gotten incredible reviews so far,” bassist Dan Robideaux said. “Other bands in the music community really dig it. They think it’s the best stuff we’ve come up with so far.”

The reviews have reverberated across the Atlantic and piqued the interest of some Springfield natives stationed in Iraq. In an e-mail message to Robideaux, the troops requested a copy of Fall Children’s demo.

The idea took on a grander scale when the band decided to compile an album featuring multiple local and regional acts and send it to local units stationed in Iraq. The album will be called COMO Bands Together and it is dedicated to the memory of Army Reserve Sgt. Melvin Mora. Mora was an MU physics student who was killed in a mortar attack in June in Iraq.

Drummer Duane Hamacher is raising money to send 200 albums to Iraq. He said it will cost about $400 to make the compact discs and about that much to ship them.

The band might be sending more than just CDs to Iraq, though.

“It’s the ultimate irony,” Isaac said. “One of the guys spearheading the project might receive one himself.”

When Hamacher isn’t attempting to be a smashing rock star, he serves as a specialist in the 428th Transportation Company in the Army Reserve in Jefferson City. When Hamacher’s unit was called into duty in Iraq, a knee injury prevented him from going, but now, pending a physical examination, Hamacher must be ready to join his unit. This is bad news for a band whose lineup has started to hit its stride.

Although Fall Children has a history of losing members, Robideaux said the current lineup gets along well. Isaac had played with Hamacher before, and Hamacher is Robideaux’s roommate.

Gallagher entered the fray when he responded to the band’s request for a vocalist.

“Me and Robie called Eli,” Isaac said. “We popped in a CD, and immediately we knew this was the guy.”

Robideaux said they are ready to start playing shows, but without a drummer that will be difficult.

If Hamacher leaves, Gallagher said the band will have to either find a new drummer or call it quits. Hamacher said he knew he might have to leave.

“They can call up your card at any time,” he said. “And if they do, you’ve got to go.”

Hamacher is still compiling the CD, though. He said there are 16 bands on board so far and the CD will probably contain one song from each band. They might even put out two different compilations.

Marine Capt. Greg Field said any reminder of home is good for troops stationed abroad. Some troops bring music, Hamacher said, but it’s often only 15 or 20 CDs.

“I’m sure many of them want new stuff,” Robideaux said. “Sending it to local units, they are going to be interested in bands that have been making names for themselves while they’re gone.”

Hamacher said if there are enough donations, he might sell some of the compilations locally, but the priority is getting the music to the troops.

“It’s good for the troops, and it’s good for the bands because they can get their music out there,” Hamacher said. “It’s mainly just something to cure the boredom and monotony of their jobs.”

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