Metal singer/guitarist Josh McArdle and two other Marine corporals formed Hatchet Wound in Iraq. Now at Camp Pendleton, they practice in a 10' by 10' barracks; they started in McArdle's, moved to the drummer's (Hunter Schmaus), and now play in the bassist's room (Matt Brothers).
"The manager of the barracks flips out because we have so much [equipment]," says McArdle. "They say, 'You need to get that shit out of your room.' All we do is just move it three rooms down."
McArdle says that upon reaching the rank of E-4 (which all three have), the Marines will pay extra to allow for a larger, off-base residence.
"If you have a lot of household goods that overwhelm the barracks, they will help you out. If you have couches and shit, you can get it, but if you have $20,000 in band equipment, you have to stay in your jail cell."
The three leatherneck rockers pass out their eight-song CD to other Marines, civilian bands, and at off-base music venues.
"If I meet another band and I give them a demo, it's, like, 'Yeah, these guys are fucking jarheads, fuck these clowns. They aren't real musicians.'...
"Being in the Marine Corps is like being in a completely different society. You're in Southern California, but there are walls around the base that isolate you from everything else.... But being in the Marine Corps definitely gave us the drive to play and reach perfection."
The men intend to continue playing music in California when their four years are up next year.
"The music scene out here is completely different," says McArdle, who is from Asheville, North Carolina. "It's more competitive than it is back home. We don't even have a Guitar Center."
McArdle says each bandmember got tattoos on their arms before March 31, beating the ban on new body ink below the elbow.
"They would rather enforce a tattoo policy than make sure we have hot water or heat and air conditioning in our rooms. I think it's bullshit. They say they want to preserve Marine tradition when it is the tradition for Marines to have tattoos."
Hatchet Wound plays Saturday at Pier View Pub in Oceanside (formerly Bub's Whiskey Dive).