by Chuck Dauphin
Nashville-area Rock group Hip Kitty will soon be taking their music on the road in a big way. In December, the group led by charismatic lead singer Jen Halverson, will be crossing the seas and heading to Afghanistan, Kuwait, and Kyrgyzstan to perform for those Americans that are fighting for our freedoms.
Halverson told Music News Nashville that it’s something the group is looking forward to. “We’re very excited,” she says with a smile. “This will be the third time that we’ve been overseas for Armed Forces Entertainment, the second time to the Middle East, and the first time for Afghanistan. It’s definitely a new atmosphere for us, but I’m excited to go back. I think that touring for the troops is always such a special audience. They are so appreciative of it.”
This will mark the group’s first time visiting the military at Christmas, but Halverson notes they have been over during the New Years’ holiday. She hopes the band can bring some of what the men and women in uniform are fighting for to them. “I hope it just gives them a taste of home. We’ll do our songs, but we are also going to do some Christmas stuff, so we hope they’ll sing along with us.”
Going to Afganistán has proven to be just a little different than other trips overseas – from a security level, notes Halverson. “This was the first time we had to take a combat terrorism course before they would let us go. It was interesting. They would tell you which lay you were supposed to lay if a grenade comes at you. But, it’s all precautionary measures,” she says.
Playing at military bases is somewhat different for the band, but it’s something they firmly believe in. “That’s the whole thing. We might be out of our comfort zone for a few days or so when we tour, but they’re over there for months – or longer at a time away from their families. It’s a very humbling experience to go over there.”
In addition to their usual high-energy performances, they do plan on performing some of the classic Christmas songs everyone knows and loves. “We’re going traditional – things like ‘Silent Night’ that everyone knows and can sing along with. Everything always ends up being Hip Kitty style, but we’ll do it straight up so they can sing along,” she says with a smile.
They will return after the tour to begin work on a new album, but still plan on playing many military related events in 2013. “We are doing some other military shows on the stateside level. We work with Cell Phones for Soldiers, and several other organizations. We’ve got an event in April at West Point and some things in the summer. We do cell phone collections at our shows – regardless of where we’re playing.”
Halverson says she thinks the troops are in for a fun time. She promises the band will get as loud as they do. “I just always feed off the audience, and whatever they are giving me. I just try to give it back. When we’re performing, I don’t like for it to be where they are looking and watching a show. I want them to feel like they are part of the show. I’ll stop and talk, and sometimes I’ll get reminded that I need to be singing.”
Hip Kitty released their self-titled EP in 2010 to much acclaim sharing the stage with rock acts Alice Cooper, Bret Michaels and most recently a performance at one of Billboards top rated music festivals “De Luna Fest “ (Pensacola, FL) with Foo Fighters and Pearl Jam. The band is currently in pre-production for a new album slated for an early 2013 release.
Hip Kitty’s sponsors include Affliction Clothing, Taylor Guitars, SKB Cases and Fishman for their contribution to the Christmas tour. Hip Kitty works with the military aid organizations “Graffiti of War”, “Cell Phones for Soldiers,” “Vet’s Rock” and “Pinups for Patriots.”
Visit Hip Kitty’s Facebook page for more tour information and how you can help support our troops at www.facebook.com/hipkitty
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