Few people outside of the military know of guitarist Jim Earp's career as a sailor.
"Discharged from the Navy in 1979, I've been working for the Department of Defense/Navy Department as a civil servant since 1982," says Earp. "I...regularly jammed with other players in the workspaces and mess decks onboard ship. Some of the finest, most naturally gifted songwriters and guitarists I have ever met were on my ship, and I borrowed or stole many a lick and idea from them.
"I would usually pick with them after hours, which could go anywhere from 6 p.m. at night to 2 a.m. in the morning.... If the weather was nice, I would often go above decks and play outside. Everything was unplugged, of course, so hearing the guitars outside over the waves crashing was difficult and sometimes impossible.... We couldn't play down in the berthing areas or up in the crew's TV lounge or such places where nonplayers would congregate....
"I performed for the Navy recruits at San Diego's now-defunct Naval Training Center from the mid-'80s to early '90s. [Our band was] raw, loud, and sweaty, and these guys were on their feet and hollering for most of the night. When we finished our last song, we certainly were fussed over like rock stars and showered with appreciation. The recruits would then file out of the auditorium, orderly and quietly, and assemble outside in ranks to march back to their barracks."
"Eventually, our band broke up...as bands do when personal expectations often clash with the reality of how things go down, and I turned solo. I'm twice as busy as a soloist and make three to four times more money than when I'm with a band."
Earp broke up with his last rock band in 2000.