Monday, September 12, 2011

Former 7 Seconds guitarist Chris Carnahan, Currently serving in Afghanistan

Captain Chris Carnahan with an Afghan soldier

One of my favorite 7 Seconds albums is Soulforce Revolution.  On that album and for a little while after, Chris Carnahan was the guitarist for 7 Seconds.  I thought it would be cool to interview him because he was in 7 Seconds, but also because he is currently a Captain in the United States Army.  He is currently serving in Kandahar City in Afghanistan.  

PMAKid: What are your three favorite books to read and why?

Chris: Siddharta by Hermann Hesse because it was one of the first books that turned me on to the idea that there could be an internal spiritual life, Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac because it was one of the first books that made me want to be creative, and Dune because it helped me to escape while I was in Iraq.

PMAKid: What are your three favorite songs and why?

Chris: The Inside by 7 Seconds because that song more than any other captures how I would like to approach life, Unforgetable Fire by U2 because I have very cool specific memories from strange places around the world that I tie to that song each time I listen to it. Thicker Than Water by H20 because it makes me miss my friends and the hardcore scene.

PMAKid: You were the guitarist for 7 Seconds for a while. I know that before that you were with another band. I think D Vision, right? You also did another band with Kevin Seconds, Drop Acid. How did you get to join 7 seconds? Do you still play music in a band? (I guess not right now because you are in Afghanistan.) 

Chris: I don't play in a band currently, though before I left I was working on a number of songs with my friend Brian in Washington D.C. that will hopefully one day get put out. I joined 7 Seconds after Bobby left the band for a bit. I had been friends with the band for a number of years, and my first band D-Vision played with them a lot so I just kinda fell into the job for a few years.

PMAKid: What does music mean to you and how do you use it?

Chris: Music is my real means of self expression. It means being able to reveal myself in a way that I can't through other media. And if there is a deity, music is my means of prayer and communion.

PMAKid: I know you are in Afghanistan right (congratulations on being promoted!) now. What unit are you with? Where are you located in Afghanistan and what do you do? How long will you be there?

Chris: I'm a Civil Affairs team leader with the 489th Civil Affairs Battalion in western Kandahar City. I'll be here until around the middle of next year.

PMAKid: I bet that it is sometimes scary being in Afghanistan. I bet it is also lonely because you are far away from family and friends (but I bet the other soldiers are kinda like family). How do you keep a positive attitude when things are scary or are really tough? How do you help your soldiers stay positive with all they are going through?

Chris: I stay positive through music, and through communicating with my friends. To the extent that I can help others stay positive it is because I've been through a huge variety of strange experiences in my life and have learned somehow to be pretty patient.

PMAKid: I have heard that soldiers coming back from Vietnam were not always treated well by people who did not agree with the war. It seems that it is different today. Even the people who think we should not be in Afghanistan and Iraq are supportive of the soldiers. Is that true?

Chris: Yes, to a great extent the American public has been really supportive of soldiers returning from our current conflicts. Go out sometime with someone in Uniform and watch how people react. It is really humbling that people you don't even know will reach out and let you know they got your back.

PMAKid: What can people back home in the United States do to make things better for the soldiers? 

Chris: People back home who can serve should consider joining up. There are also a lot of soldier support organizations like Soldiers' Angels that can help people get involved in a variety of ways. But most times just walking up to a soldier, sailor, airman, marine, or coasty and saying "Thanks" is enough.

PMAKid: What are the people in Afghanistan like? Is it like how it is here in California with a lot of different kinds of people? 

Chris: There are a lot of different kinds of people in Afghanistan from various religious, cultural, ethnic, and racial backgrounds. Almost everyone I've met has been very kind and generous. Even people who are dirt poor will bring out what food and tea (chai) they have to share with you if you stop by and talk to them. And they grow really good produce and have delicious foods.

PMAKid: What do you miss most about being away from home for a long time?

Chris: I miss my family and friends. I miss the ability to just go on a vacation to the beach and relax. I miss having a real shower and bathroom. And I miss getting to spend the day at the movies or going to watch a band play.


  1. We miss you too Chris! Stay safe... Julie

  2. Chris, I used to play D-Vision on my radio show back in college and loved the album. I've recently found it again and it's still as amazing now as it was then. Come home safe and I hope to hear about new music from you in the future.


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