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Interview with Marshall Catch - "The Ballad of the USS Arizona" - September 11 2011

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Uploaded on Sep 23, 2011

http://www.MarshallCatch.com - The Ballad of the USS Arizona was written to honor the servicemen who gave their lives December 7th, 1941. It has been featured on CBS News and has garnered attention and acclaim from around the globe. Below is the story of the song, and how it came to be written.

I wrote the song "The Ballad of the USS Arizona" a year or so ago. I was struck by the story of the Arizona, and felt that the ship herself had a story to tell. There is so much history inside the story, I wanted to do my best to set that free and give it meaning to my own generation, which has largely forgotten the sacrifices made before our lifetimes. My grandfather's brother was held for nine months in a German POW Camp during World War II.

I was inspired to write the song from the perspective of the ship herself, as opposed to the crew or other people who have come into contact with her. I was moved by the personality the ship showed throughout her lifetime; the four verses each represent a specific era of the ship and the people she influenced during that period of her life.

Verse 1: Being a young, new ship during World War I, the USS Arizona was the pride of the US Navy and was a symbol of our presence in places of the world distraught with fear and the haze of war. Upon being commissioned in 1913, she was among the biggest and most complex battleships ever built. The whole world was in awe of her on many levels.

Verse 2: After World War I, the USS Arizona sailed to the war-torn United Kingdom to bring home American sailors and servicemen. She played host to President Herbert Hoover, and was used extensively during peace-keeping missions around the world before being retrofitted in 1939 in preparation for the impending Second World War.

Verse 3: The USS Arizona was among the first casualties of the United States' involvement in World War II. Docked at Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941, the ship was literally blown in half when a Japanese bomb landed in her armament hold. 1177 men on board were killed. When you see pictures of the devastation at Pearl Harbor, nearly all of the thick, black smoke billowing around the harbor came from the Arizona. The battle cry that was used on materials to send the US into the war was "Remember the Arizona." Her sinking was a major blow to morale among the United States, as she had been the pride of the Navy and the country as a whole for more than three decades.

Verse 4: Most of the men who were killed when the ship went down are still on board. The US Navy, reluctant to send divers into an unstable wreck that was still loaded with unexploded ordinances, decided that reclaiming the bodies of the dead marines and sailors was simply impossible. They elected instead to turn the USS Arizona into a physical graveyard. The sailors who went down with her remain entombed there to this day, and her hull is their final resting place. Surviving crew members who served aboard the USS Arizona are allowed to have their remains interred inside, next to their fallen shipmates. To this day, even in spite of extensive clean-up efforts, the USS Arizona leaks oil into Pearl Harbor. There is a legend that says the ship will "bleed" or "weep" oil until the last of the survivors are safe inside the ship with their comrades. At that point, according to the legend, the leaking will cease and the chapter will close. I felt like this illustrated the human component of the ship, and I decided to incorporate it into the final verse.

As we began recording the song, I discovered that my keyboard player's great uncle was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal and Two Oak Leaf Clusters during World War II, and that my guitarist's grandfather was awarded the Bronze Star in Italy, also during World War II. So the song became a powerful example of the heritage that each of us holds, in addition to a work of art that we are each proud of.

The song was written to honor the men and women at Pearl Harbor that battled so heroically in spite of such overwhelming devastation. But I also wanted to insure that my generation would be inspired to dig deeper into the history of the USS Arizona and the men who sacrificed so much. I wanted the song to have a modern sound, so that it impacted a generation that often does not pay attention to events that transpired so long ago.

We are truly humbled and honored to be playing this song on Dec. 7th 2011 just feet away from where the USS Arizona and her crew-mates made their final stand. This is an honor that we will cherish for a lifetime.

- Luke Lautaret
Marshall Catch

For lyrics visit - http://www.reverbnation.com/marshallc...

Thanks to KBA Web Marketing for a professionally filmed and produced video! Visit them at http://www.KBAWebMarketing.com

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