Army Veteran Brings “Balloon Chain” Back to Coachella

Retired NYPD officer Robert Bose brings his special Balloon Chain project back to Coachella for another year. Rob has taken his art project to festivals across the world such as Burning Man, Burning Man Africa, Governor’s Ball, and many more.

Rob currently serves in the New Jersey National Guard’s 63rd Army Band after some time as an active duty musician.

His arching chain of balloons originated as an abstract idea to stay in contact with one another at Burning Man. At a time before cell phones were popular (and service scarce), Rob hatched the idea to connect a line of helium balloons on two bicycles to know each other’s location. Since the idea has developed into a highly demanded visual demonstration for large festivals and prestigious private events.

Rob loves to see the interaction that festival attendees have with his work. Over a three day weekend, hundreds of people constantly ask to hold the balloons and take pictures for social media. Additionally, the balloon chain has become a staple marketing image for festivals such as Governor’s Ball.


Governors Ball’s promotional Lineup poster for 2018 highlighted Rob Bose’s Balloon Chain over the iconic multi-colored festival sign.

Just entering retirement this past year, Rob plans to reach more people by bringing his project to more festivals than ever before.

Keep up to date on where the Balloon Chain is going next with Instagram

Veteran Maynard James Keenan Announces New Tool Album Finished Recording

The progressive metal band Tool has announced recording for their long-awaited album is finished. Keenan made the statement last week assuring fans that “Pleistocene” will be released this year. The album has been overdue for two years since Keenan first announced the name and tracklist in 2017.


Tool’s last album “10,000 Days” was released in 2006, so Tool has not released new music in 13 years. The length of time is odd for the band that produced a number of albums from the 1990s into the early 2000s.


Specifically, Keenan twitted that vocals had been tracked months ago, and they are in the long process of mixing the album. In public appearances, such as the Metal Hammer Golden Gods awards, Keenan has constantly assured: “new music is coming next year”.


Tool is hitting the road in 2019 for a string of festival performances across the United States. In June, they embark on their 14 show European tour.

Find all of Tool’s tour dates and show locations here


Madison Rising

Since 2011, the heavy hitting patriotic band Madison Rising has stapled patriotism in music venues across the country. The band is led and founded by Air Force veteran Rio Hiett. They have opened for legends in rock and country artists such as Aerosmith and Toby Keith.


Hailing from outside New York City, the band claimed it’s name from a street in Hoboken, NJ and appreciated the connection to the former president. The band’s origins revolved around the resentment of the infamous Occupy Wall street protests of NYC. Some time later, the band found attention in their “The Star Spangled Banner” cover, which has garnered over 500,000 streams on Spotify and 8 million views on YouTube. The band has recorded three albums, with the rereleased version of “Battered Not Broken” released earlier this year.


Madison Rising is also known for their other covers. They have released singles of Billy Idol’s “Rebel Yell”, Irvin Berlin’s “God Bless America”, and Samual A. Ward’s “America The Beautiful”.


Madison Rising has collaborated with over 250+ organizations in giving back to the community since their formationAdditionally, the band performed at the inaugural Vets Rock expo at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut and the infamous Sturgis event in South Dakota. 


*Find out when Madison Rising is coming to a venue near you here*

Operation Song- “He Took My Place”

Veteran Gary Lima recently released “He Took My Place”, his personal lyrical diary of living with survivor’s guilt. Lima is a Marine Corps and Army veteran with a combined service of over 20 years between the too. He drew inspiration from an incident that occurred when deployed to the Cyprus Conflict in 1974.


Lima was deployed with a marine helicopter unit aiding in rescuing Americans trapped on the island. One particular flight, he was relieved for R&R while a much younger corporal took his position. Sadly, that flight crew never returned to base that day.


Gary sheds light on the guilt he felt for years to come. He struggled with symptoms of PTSD and found it hard to develop the motivation to live. Since, Lima has found purpose and new meaning working with the Operation Song program. He wishes to share his knowledge and experience with other veterans.


Lima wants to inspire veterans to ask themselves questions like, “Why carry a ton of guilt, when that’s not yours to carry? Why not live?”


A link to listen to “He Took My Place” on Youtube can be found here.

Here is an additional link to Operation Songs Soundcloud Page


Operation Song is a 501c non profit network of volunteers that pairs veterans with experts in songwriting and music production. Established in Nashville, the organization frequently releases music inspired by veterans. To date, Operation Song has released over 600 songs written by veterans of all generations and military backgrounds. Feel free to learn more about the organization with the link below.


You can learn more about the Operation Song Organization here!

Creative Forces-National Endowment For The Arts Partnership

The NEA (National Endowment for the Arts) has partnered with VA medical facilities around the country for the Creative Forces initiative. First organized in 2012, the program serves veterans at about a dozen bases and medical facilities such as Walter Reed Medical Center.


The national network of creative resources works to combat the epidemic of TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Additionally, Using established clinics at facilities across the country, the NEA works to build the creative community in the military. Helping those affected by hidden illnesses, and creating communities within base environments…Creative Forces truly works to expand the capacity of the creatives.


According to the NEA, over 500,000 current veterans live in dealing with PTSD or TBI symptoms. It is estimated that about 10-20% of all deploying service members are likely to show symptoms of both. Unfortunately, many of these cases do go undiagnosed. That is why the work of organizations like the NEA are crucial to the military community. The goal of Creative Forces is beyond the clinical work itself,  but to establish environments that creatives in the arts thrive. These environments culminate inspiration and outlets for those in clinical care…and those undiagnosed.


You can learn more about the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Creative Forces program at their website here.

2019 and Beyond

Hello Everyone,

The Veteran Sound Project will continue publishing articles about the amazing musical stories coming from the veteran community. Personally, I plan to expand the coverage and services the website will offer next year. I know we still have another month of 2018 left, but I wanted to take the time to inform everyone of the things coming.

The project will be attending more events, writing more articles and serving veterans more than this year. I cannot wait to see what the next year has in store. In the meantime, make sure you are subscribed to the weekly articles. Also, feel free to reach out to me with recommendations. I always enjoy reading your thoughts and opinions.

Thank you all!


Shane Axten