Air Force general to play rock guitar at vacation concert in San Antonio


The Air Education and Training command chief has a concert scheduled for this weekend, but it will have nothing to do with flying special operations helicopters.

Lieutenant-General Brad Webb will play a favorite Foo Fighters track on his new guitar, the rock band’s famous “Christmas Medley”, with a 45-piece ensemble from the Air Force Band of the West.

He will make a cameo appearance with the orchestra at his annual “Holiday in Blue” concerts at 3pm Saturday and Sunday at the Edgewood Theater of Performing Arts at 402 Lance St., using the Fender “Dragon Tele” Telecaster his wife gave him. gave. as a birthday present.

Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page played a similar instrument in his early days.

“There are tons of songs that I love to play,” Webb said at a recent municipal event on Facebook, where he announced the holiday performance. “I am a rocker. I do not hide it.

The “early days” are, for Webb, the 1970s, before he graduated with a BS in Biology from the Air Force Academy in 1984. He grew up listening to and following bands ranging from Led Zeppelin, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Aerosmith in Kiss, Pink Floyd and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

These days, Webb plays music from the Foo Fighters, Greta Van Fleet, Austin blues player Gary Clark Jr. and his favorite band, Alter Bridge.

Webb has been playing guitar for decades and in some cases longer than his heroes have been alive. He doesn’t sing and has never earned a dime on stage, but has performed at events like Freedom Fest at Hurlburt Field in Florida and Air Force Tech. Sgt. John Chapman Medal of Honor celebration in Washington 2018.

A former Air Force Special Operations Command chief, Webb models his playing on Mark Tremonti of Alter Bridge, who was also Creed’s lead guitarist. Other influences include David Gilmour, Vaughan, Page and Ace Frehley, a former Kiss guitarist.

He’s already taken a lesson from Tremonti and is friends with Alter Bridge bassist Brian Marshall. Webb is a first cousin of Clark’s bassist Johnny Bradley.

“I played in garage bands in high school. I’ve played in various squad groups over the years, ”he said via email. “But, I really started ‘improving my game’ about 5 years ago. YouTube is a great way to learn guitar, especially in winter in Europe when the weather requires you to stay indoors most of the time! “

Webb has spent decades in special operations, flying more than 3,700 hours in helicopters and turboprop planes, including 117 hours of combat in Afghanistan, Iraq and Bosnia. He took command of training last summer.

In a famous White House photo, he sits next to President Barack Obama in the Situation Room during the 2011 operation to bring down Osama bin Laden. At the time, Webb was the deputy commanding general of the Joint Special Operations Command.

He is now responsible for recruiting, training and educating Air Force personnel and oversees more than 1,400 training, fighter and mobility aircraft in 23 wings and 10 bases. The AETC trains more than 293,000 students per year.

The Band of the West performs a wide variety of music – from classic hits to popular hits, Broadway musicals and Sousa marches – at military ceremonies, educational clinics and public concerts. The group is headquartered at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland. Despite its name, it tours mainly in the Southern States.

This weekend, Webb will be the lead guitarist in a Foo Fighters medley version of a 2017 appearance on “Saturday Night Live” – ​​a mix of the 1997 hit “Everlong”, “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) ”by Darlene Love. and “Linus and Lucy” by jazz pianist Vince Guaraldi.

Call Webb the Rockin ‘General if you have to, but be sure to say hello if you’re a lower ranked aviator. This will double if you run into other senior commanders armed with musical instruments. Webb says they’re over there.

One of them is Air Force Chief of Staff General David Goldfein, who worked as a roadie for hitmaker Harry Chapin while cycling around the country during his Air Force gap year. Academy. Goldfein was recently seen performing classic rock songs with the Air Force Band in Washington, DC

“If you are looking for how many senior leaders in our Air Force (not to mention other services) play an instrument, there is clearly something there. A significant number of senior Air Force officials play guitar or drums, ”Webb said in his email.

“For me, playing guitar clearly satisfies an area of ​​the brain that work doesn’t necessarily address. There is certainly a creative element that is satisfying and that plays the role of relaxing in a way. I spend most of my evenings after work with a guitar in my hands, “knotting” as it’s called. “

For free tickets to the Holiday in Blue concert, go online at

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