Next stop is Vietnam | WisCommunity

Next stop is Vietnam

The Wisconsin Veterans Museum, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and others will host a symposium Nov. 18-20  to focus on the critical role that music played during the Vietnam era.

All events are free and open to the public, and are presented by the Wisconsin Veterans Museum, the University of Wisconsin-Madison (Integrated Liberal Studies program and Dept. of Afro-American Studies), the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Wisconsin Public Television, and the Monona Terrace and Convention Center.



Distant Drums, Sky Pilots, and Green Berets - The Music of the Vietnam Era

Thursday, Nov. 18 at 7:00 p.m., Wisconsin Veterans Museum, 2nd Floor Education Center, 30 W. Mifflin Street


For six decades, popular music has provided a unique perspective on the Vietnam War, its aftermath and its lasting legacies.  With examples drawn from pop, folk, R&B, rock, soul, spoken word, comedy, reggae, rap, metal and more, Dr. Hugo Keesing, Curator of “…Next Stop is Vietnam: The War on Record,” and Adjunct Associate Professor (retired), University of Maryland, will show that Vietnam has been the topic of every musical style of the past 50 years.  In addition to several dozen well-known commercial hits by artists such as Bob Dylan, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Marvin Gaye and Bruce Springsteen, there are more than 3,000 recordings by lesser known singers that provide a new but essential understanding of the war. 


I Believe I'm Gonna Make It”

A Conversation about Southern Music and the Vietnam War

Friday, Nov. 19 at Noon, Wisconsin Veterans Museum, 30 W. Mifflin Street


Join Charles Hughes, PhD Candidate in History, University of Wisconsin-Madison; 2010-2011 Smithsonian Institution Pre-Doctoral Research Fellow; Bill C. Malone, Professor Emeritus of History, Tulane University; host, “Back to the Country,” WORT-FM and internationally recognized “dean” of country music historians; and Jeff Kollath, Curator of Programs and Exhibitions, Wisconsin Veterans Museum (moderator) as they discuss how the Vietnam War coincided with a particularly fertile time in Southern music. The Vietnam War played a crucial part in, and contributed to, both musical and societal changes.  


“Does Anybody Know I’m Here?”

Black Music and the Black Experience in Vietnam

Friday, Nov. 19 at 3:00 p.m., Theater, Monona Terrace, 1 John Nolen DriveThe culture of the Civil Rights and Black Power era played a critical role in shaping the black experience in Vietnam, increasing cultural awareness and arousing suspicion of America’s motives in Vietnam. Music was a constant source of inspiration and escape for black soldiers during the war, from the soothing sounds of Motown to the hard driving funk of James Brown and Sly and the Family Stone, and all points in between. Join us for this special panel discussion, featuring musicians and grunts alike, all of whom have been shaped in some way by the Vietnam War, and how, after four decades, how their Vietnam experience continues to influence their lives and careers. 


This panel discussion will feature William Bell, a Stax Records artist and songwriter and veteran of the 25th Infantry Division (1962-63), released three songs about the Vietnam War in the late 1960s.  Art Flowers was a Clerk with the 1st Logistical Command (Long Binh) and is a novelist, poet, and Associate Professor of English and Textual Studies at Syracuse University.  Clyde Stubblefield is a world-renowned drummer who accompanied James Brown during his band’s famous 1968 tour of Vietnam.  Lauren Onkey, PhD is the Vice President of Education and Public Programs at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (moderator).



Soldier, Singer, and Guitar Slinger

Acoustic and Folk Music during the Vietnam Era

Saturday, Nov. 20 at Noon, Wisconsin Veterans Museum, 30 W. Mifflin Street


As much as popular music broadcasted over Armed Forces Radio, 45s played on the PX jukebox, and LPs and cassettes played in the field meant to those serving in Vietnam, the company’s resident guitar player was equally important. Acoustic renditions of popular songs, or their war-appropriate send-ups, provided welcome respite from the tragedy and banality of war. Join our panel as they discuss the popularity of acoustic music during the war, the performance of formal songs on base, and writing songs about the Vietnam experience.


Join Lem Genovese, clerk with HQ Co., 214th Combat Aviation Battalion and ‘In Country’ and postwar musician; Marty Heuer, aviation officer with the 174th AHC, 14th CAB, 341st AD, 165th CAG and founding member of High-Priced Help and Three Majors and Minor; Jim Walktendonk, dog handler, 89th Military Police Brigade and singer-songwriter of “The Claymore Polka”; along with Hugo Keesing, curator, “Next Stop Vietnam: The War on Record” (moderator) for this panel discussion.


“We Gotta Get Out of This Place” - Music and the Vietnam Experience
Saturday, November 20 at 2:00 p.m., Wisconsin Veterans Museum, 30 W. Mifflin Street


Doug Bradley and Craig Werner will discuss their forthcoming book, “We Gotta Get Out of This Place,” which tells the story of the Vietnam War through the music-based memories of those who served. From "Chain of Fools” and "Fortunate Son" to "Purple Haze" and "We Gotta Get Out of This Place," their work shows how soldiers used music to form bonds, express their feelings, and hold on to their humanity. Join us for this informal discussion of the music of the war and share your favorite songs and memories from the Vietnam Era.


Purchase “…Next Stop Vietnam: The War on Record, 1961-2008.”#333333"> The Bear Family Records boxed set, “…Next Stop Vietnam: The War on Record, 1961-2008,” is available for pre-order from the Wisconsin Veterans Museum gift store at a discounted price of $250 (retail: $289). If you are interested in purchasing a copy of this limited-edition set, please contact Store Manager Greg Lawson at (608) 261-0535 or #0000ff"> To schedule interviews with speakers or museum staff, contact Jeff Kollath, Curator of Programs, at (608) 261-0541.  The Wisconsin Veterans Museum is a free public educational activity of the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs and is located at 30 W. Mifflin St., across the street from the State Capitol. For more information go to #0000ff">


November 14, 2010 - 11:24am