Top Cover wants to rock your world all weekend long

Posted: Wednesday, July 24, 2002

In times of war or peace, their duty is simple -- to spread love of rock and roll and their country through music.

The six men and one woman who make up the Elmendorf Air Force Base band Top Cover spend their time in the armed forces touring the Northwest United States, Hawaii and Canada sharing music with the masses.

"This is what we call our Air Force speciality. When we join this is what we do," said Tech Sgt. Scott Weller.

Weller, who has been the drummer for Top Cover for one and a half years, said the reason he joined the Air Force was in part because it was one of the only two services he could join where playing in the band would be his exclusive duty.

When the group performs on average 180 times a year, it is hard to imagine that the members would have time to do anything else.

"It's pretty much all year round. Around the Fourth of July it always gets busy," Weller said.

Generally, Top Cover plays on tour 10 days a month. The rest of the time, they are performing in Anchorage, where they are based.

The current group that makes up Top Cover is relatively new in terms of recently becoming part of the band. Like other duties in the armed forces, those who play in the bands also are frequently reassigned to new bases either by choice or necessity. Top Cover is Weller's fifth band.

"This is a pretty popular place to be," said Weller of his current assignment in Alaska.

He had his name on a list to come to Alaska since he joined the Air Force 12 years ago in New Jersey. Now, he said he is lucky to have finally been chosen from the long line of musicians who want a transfer up north.

"Growing up this is what I wanted to do, play drums in a band and travel all around," said Weller, who admitted that originally after seeing a band in his high school he had planned to use the Air Force as a jumping off point for college. However, he liked it so much that he plans to make it his lifelong gig.

Now, he is the one playing in high schools promoting music and the Air Force to high school audiences.

"Every performance could end up for recruiting," he said. "Every gig has a potential to be a recruiting gig."

Still, high school and other civilian performances are only half of what Top Cover is intended to do. The band tries to juggle their civilian and enrolled performances so as to not forget their fellow service men but still maintain community relations and show the public what the Air Force is all about.

"Our mission is for troop moral," said Weller. "We go play at different bases in remote sites to entertain the troops there. It just depends on where they send us. "

Where they will be this weekend is the annual Soldotna Progress Days celebration.

The band will ride in the parade. Then from 12:30 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. Top Cover will rock the vendor and activity site on West Park Avenue.

"We play everything from classical to country to modern rock, disco and retro," said Weller adding that their daily repertoire changes according to the activity level of the audience and the performance's venue. "Usually when we get there we take a look at the crowd."

There also will be a second chance to catch Top Cover in action Sunday at the Soldotna Creek Celebration from 1 to 3 p.m.

BYLINE1:By CARLY BOSSERT

BYLINE2:Peninsula Clarion

In times of war or peace, their duty is simple -- to spread love of rock and roll and their country through music.

The six men and one woman who make up the Elmendorf Air Force Base band Top Cover spend their time in the armed forces touring the Northwest United States, Hawaii and Canada sharing music with the masses.

"This is what we call our Air Force speciality. When we join this is what we do," said Tech Sgt. Scott Weller.

Weller, who has been the drummer for Top Cover for one and a half years, said the reason he joined the Air Force was in part because it was one of the only two services he could join where playing in the band would be his exclusive duty.

When the group performs on average 180 times a year, it is hard to imagine that the members would have time to do anything else.

"It's pretty much all year round. Around the Fourth of July it always gets busy," Weller said.

Generally, Top Cover plays on tour 10 days a month. The rest of the time, they are performing in Anchorage, where they are based.

The current group that makes up Top Cover is relatively new in terms of recently becoming part of the band. Like other duties in the armed forces, those who play in the bands also are frequently reassigned to new bases either by choice or necessity. Top Cover is Weller's fifth band.

"This is a pretty popular place to be," said Weller of his current assignment in Alaska.

He had his name on a list to come to Alaska since he joined the Air Force 12 years ago in New Jersey. Now, he said he is lucky to have finally been chosen from the long line of musicians who want a transfer up north.

"Growing up this is what I wanted to do, play drums in a band and travel all around," said Weller, who admitted that originally after seeing a band in his high school he had planned to use the Air Force as a jumping off point for college. However, he liked it so much that he plans to make it his lifelong gig.

Now, he is the one playing in high schools promoting music and the Air Force to high school audiences.

"Every performance could end up for recruiting," he said. "Every gig has a potential to be a recruiting gig."

Still, high school and other civilian performances are only half of what Top Cover is intended to do. The band tries to juggle their civilian and enrolled performances so as to not forget their fellow service men but still maintain community relations and show the public what the Air Force is all about.

"Our mission is for troop moral," said Weller. "We go play at different bases in remote sites to entertain the troops there. It just depends on where they send us. "

Where they will be this weekend is the annual Soldotna Progress Days celebration.

The band will ride in the parade. Then from 12:30 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. Top Cover will rock the vendor and activity site on West Park Avenue.

"We play everything from classical to country to modern rock, disco and retro," said Weller adding that their daily repertoire changes according to the activity level of the audience and the performance's venue. "Usually when we get there we take a look at the crowd."

There also will be a second chance to catch Top Cover in action Sunday at the Soldotna Creek Celebration from 1 to 3 p.m.

BYLINE1:By CARLY BOSSERT

BYLINE2:Peninsula Clarion

In times of war or peace, their duty is simple -- to spread love of rock and roll and their country through music.

The six men and one woman who make up the Elmendorf Air Force Base band Top Cover spend their time in the armed forces touring the Northwest United States, Hawaii and Canada sharing music with the masses.

"This is what we call our Air Force speciality. When we join this is what we do," said Tech Sgt. Scott Weller.

Weller, who has been the drummer for Top Cover for one and a half years, said the reason he joined the Air Force was in part because it was one of the only two services he could join where playing in the band would be his exclusive duty.

When the group performs on average 180 times a year, it is hard to imagine that the members would have time to do anything else.

"It's pretty much all year round. Around the Fourth of July it always gets busy," Weller said.

Generally, Top Cover plays on tour 10 days a month. The rest of the time, they are performing in Anchorage, where they are based.

The current group that makes up Top Cover is relatively new in terms of recently becoming part of the band. Like other duties in the armed forces, those who play in the bands also are frequently reassigned to new bases either by choice or necessity. Top Cover is Weller's fifth band.

"This is a pretty popular place to be," said Weller of his current assignment in Alaska.

He had his name on a list to come to Alaska since he joined the Air Force 12 years ago in New Jersey. Now, he said he is lucky to have finally been chosen from the long line of musicians who want a transfer up north.

"Growing up this is what I wanted to do, play drums in a band and travel all around," said Weller, who admitted that originally after seeing a band in his high school he had planned to use the Air Force as a jumping off point for college. However, he liked it so much that he plans to make it his lifelong gig.

Now, he is the one playing in high schools promoting music and the Air Force to high school audiences.

"Every performance could end up for recruiting," he said. "Every gig has a potential to be a recruiting gig."

Still, high school and other civilian performances are only half of what Top Cover is intended to do. The band tries to juggle their civilian and enrolled performances so as to not forget their fellow service men but still maintain community relations and show the public what the Air Force is all about.

"Our mission is for troop moral," said Weller. "We go play at different bases in remote sites to entertain the troops there. It just depends on where they send us. "

Where they will be this weekend is the annual Soldotna Progress Days celebration.

The band will ride in the parade. Then from 12:30 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. Top Cover will rock the vendor and activity site on West Park Avenue.

"We play everything from classical to country to modern rock, disco and retro," said Weller adding that their daily repertoire changes according to the activity level of the audience and the performance's venue. "Usually when we get there we take a look at the crowd."

There also will be a second chance to catch Top Cover in action Sunday at the Soldotna Creek Celebration from 1 to 3 p.m.



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