Jason Everman: From a rock star to Special Forces

by Eric Sof

The path from the rock star to a respectable Special Forces operator was easy for Jason Everman. Tales of combat stories from a friend, a former Navy SEAL, inspired Jason Everman, who was restless with his rock career and pursuing new life challenges. The stories of brotherhood and combat experience triggered his decision to join the Army. He turned his back on “this world of cool,” as he said in the video. He felt “free.”

Rock Career

Everman joined Nirvana in February 1989 as a second guitarist. He is listed as the second guitarist on Nirvana’s Bleach and appears on the cover, but he did not play on any of the tracks. Nirvana ejected Everman from the band after a short time.

Everman left Nirvana in July 1989 and joined Soundgarden the following year as Hiro Yamamoto’s temporary successor on bass. In April 1990, he played on the band’s cover of The Beatles’ “Come Together,” which appeared on the Loudest Love EP. Everman left immediately after Soundgarden completed its promotional tour for Louder Than Love in mid-1990 to play bass for the band OLD (Old Lady Drivers). Soundgarden found Yamamoto’s ultimate successor, the bassist Ben Shepherd. Later, in 1993, he played guitar in Mind Funk.

Everman played with several different bands and released a solo album in 2014. He is considered a pioneer of the grunge music scene, and his work with Soundgarden and Nirvana helped shape the genre’s sound.

Military Career

Jason Everman was born on October 16, 1967, in Ouzinkie (then-part of Kodiak), Alaska, United States. He was not an ordinary guy; instead of that, he was the man who was kicked out of two rock bands, Nirvana and Soundgarden.

Jason Everman: From a rock star to the Army Ranger and Green Beret
Former Nirvana guitarist Jason Everman, serving with the U.S. Army Special Forces in Afghanistan (Photo: NYT)

In 1994, he traded his guitar for a rifle and enlisted in the U.S. Army as a part of the 2nd Ranger Battalion. He did his time and returned for more in 2000 when he again joined the U.S. Army Special Operations Forces and deployed to Iraq. He served as an Army Ranger and Green Beret during his military career.

He completed the grueling Special Forces Qualification Course. He was assigned to the 3rd Special Forces Group, where he served as a member of a Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha (ODA), also known as an “A-team.” As a 3rd Special Forces Group member, Everman deployed to various locations around the world, including Afghanistan and the Middle East. He is a highly trained and experienced soldier. He has received numerous awards and decorations for his service, including the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, and the Army Commendation Medal.

Post-military life

After leaving the military, Everman returned to music and played with several different bands, including Mindfunk and Soundgarden. He also founded a company providing adventure travel and military veterans training. Despite his successes in the music industry and entrepreneurial endeavors, Everman remains deeply connected to the military community and is proud of his service.

Bachelor’s degree

During his second service, Jason Everman considered completing his bachelor’s degree as the final step toward achieving a well-rounded wholeness.

“Throughout my adult life, I have made the conscious effort to develop three aspects of who I am: the artist, the soldier, and the philosopher. I believe GS has been the ideal place to realize this development,” Everman said.

The military set him up to apply to Columbia University later. General Stanley A. McChrystal wrote a letter of recommendation for his application. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from Columbia University School of General Studies on May 20, 2013.

Jason Everman may not be a household name, but Soundgarden and Nirvana are, and Jason served in the 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) after having played in both of those bands.
Jason Everman may not be a household name, but Soundgarden and Nirvana are, and Jason served in the 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) after having played in both bands. (Photo: Columbia.Edu)

While enrolled at Columbia GS, Everman, who was an active member of the U.S. Military Veterans of Columbia University student organization, composed and recorded a song entitled “Catch & Release” for the soundtrack, “A Marine’s Guide to Fishing,” an award-winning short film starring an Iraq veteran. He also participated in the New York University Veterans Writing Workshop, where he published two stories in the 2009 and 2010 anthologies, “The Meantime” and “Summation,” respectively.

Silence & Light

In May 2017, the band Silence & Light was formed after Everman met with Brad Thomas in New York. The band consists of military veterans, and Grammy Award-winning Producer Josh Gudwin and Studio Engineer Bil Lane produced the album. The band is committed to helping and providing their profits to help members of the Special Operations Community, the Military, and First Responders.

Official military record: Jason Everman

Last Rank: Sergeant First Class
Last Service Branch: Special Forces
Last Primary MOS: 18B-Special Forces Weapons Sergeant
Last MOS Group: Special Forces (Enlisted)
Primary Unit: 2001-2006, 18B, 3rd Special Forces Group Airborne
Previously Held MOS: 11B10-Infantryman
Service Years: 1994 – 2006
Official/Unofficial U.S. Army Certificates: Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom

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5 thoughts on “Jason Everman: From a rock star to Special Forces”

  1. I was listening to the interview on Howard Stern with Foo Fighters and Jason’s name came up, so I looked him up, and WOW I found this article. It would be nice if someone who has a yahoo account would put this link under the comments for folks to read. Jason sounds like one Amazing Highly Functioning possibly Genius IQ guy who is grounded and on his way to complete enlightenment. Thank you to whoever published this!

  2. First of all, Jason Everman is a great patriot and our fellow American. He possesses a wide variety of qualities that lead him through life. He is remembered in the Special Forces community as a highly disciplined and motivated operator.

  3. Hi- question, I work for the Special Forces Association & we are having our convention this May in Indy just before Memorial Day.

    Do you think Jason would maybe like to come speak? He doesn’t seem to be a member of SFA, so I cannot locate a email & would need your help.
    Thank you so much for any & all help,
    Eve Blandford Smith
    SFACON 2023 Committee

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