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NEWS | Aug. 21, 2017

Army Reserve Soldier launches EP album

By Sgt. Sean Harding 301st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade

"You are a songbird right this minute. Today you’re a better songbird than you was yesterday, ’cause you know a little bit more, you seen a little bit more, and all you got to do is just park yourself under a shade tree."

Woody Guthrie wrote those words which first appeared in the introduction to the book "Hard Hitting Songs for Hard-Hit People" in 1967. While Army Reserve Spc. Matt Mier's band, Fire Glass, more closely resembles metal band Linkin Park than it does Guthrie's “Dust Bowl Ballads,” Guthrie's words couldn't be more fitting for a Soldier and a band who is determined to be the best.

Mier is a heavy equipment operator assigned to the 387th Engineer Company, 301st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, based in Scottsdale, Arizona. As the bassist of Fire Glass, Mier started the group in 2012 with four other individuals and released one album, “Jodi,” before they settled on their current lineup.

Last month, they launched an EP titled "Genesis Engage" at the IPO Radio Festival in Tucson.

"The show went really well," said Vice, lead singer of Fire Glass. "I think it went better than I was expecting. We had a lot of fun up there. We definitely had the biggest crowd of the night, and there were people singing to the good majority of our songs, which was really freaking awesome!"

During the show, the band would stop singing and hold the microphone out to the audience. Even though the CD had just been released, the audience would sing the songs back them.

"It's an insane feeling!" Vice said. "I don't really have words to accurately describe it. It's one of the coolest feelings I've ever experienced."

“It was awesome!” agreed Break, Fire Glass’ rapper and lyricist.

Mier said playing on stage is one of the greatest experiences one can have.

"It's the greatest feeling in the world," he said. "I'm nervous at first when I go on because obviously, there could be two people to 1,000 in front of us."

While Fire Glass hasn't been on a long-term tour before, they have toured the Southwest for a week or two at a time. That presented its own set of challenges. However, many of the challenges associated with touring are most likely familiar to many who have served in the military.

"It's cool," Mier said when asked about touring. "Frustrating sometimes because of lack of sleep, and driving all the time, setting up, tearing down.”

In between touring, he has to balance his responsibilities to the Army Reserve and his band.

When Fire Glass is not touring, being in both a band and the Army Reserve can occasionally cause scheduling conflicts. Both jobs require him to work weekends. However, his unit and his band are able to work around his busy schedule.

“My lieutenant understands the function of the whole band,” said Mier. “He knows I’ve been working at it for the past four years. He’s actually noticed a lot of bigger things have come for the band.”

Mier admitted that he occasionally has had to turn down shows because of his military commitments, but does not let that deter him from pursuing his passion.

Despite the challenges of being a touring musician, Mier believes that being in the Army has made him a better person, and improved his ability to plan things properly.

Not only that, the members of Fire Glass recognize the importance of his military service.

"It helps his character overall and helps make him the leader that Fire Glass needs," Vice said.

It’s not just his military service that propels him in Fire Glass. Personal experiences are what make the heart and soul of the band, and where much of their inspiration comes from.

Fire Glass writes about whatever the members of the band are going through in their personal lives. While musically their songwriting is a mostly collaborative effort between the members of the band, they look inward toward their own life experiences and then turn them outwards to create songs that people can connect to.

Or even use the music as a coping mechanism.

"They could be having issues with family, friends, whatever the case may be,” said Vice. “Whatever song we're writing about, we write it as a way to help people. So they can use the music as means of expression. So that they don't turn to other things."

Vice said that he had lived through a number of issues when he was younger, including personal vices such as alcohol. He turned to music as a way to avoid turning to negative coping mechanisms.

"I want my music to help people the way that the music I listened to has helped me," Vice said.

Although Fire Glass just launched their EP, the band plans to return to the recording studio next month and play more shows in the fall.

“Genesis Engage,” as well as the rest of their catalog, can be found on most major online music services including iTunes, Amazon, and Spotify and Tidal.

Fire Glass’ next scheduled performance is Sep. 15 at Club Red Mesa in Mesa at 7:00 p.m.