By Yvonne Johnson, APG NewsFebruary 15, 2012
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - Two Aberdeen Proving Ground contractors spend their days testing firepower on the small arms ranges of the Aberdeen Test Center - and pounding out another brand of noise on the weekends.
Clive "Rio" Hiett and Hector Irizzary are the founding members of the Forest Hill-based band 10Blade, which while lighting up the night life in Charm City, recently cut its first CD on the Tate Music Group label.
In the Baltimore area, none of this is unusual. What makes these guys unique is that once a month their weekends are also spoken for by Uncle Sam.
Both are ammunition specialists with the Maryland Air National Guard's 175th Flight Wing out of Martin State Airport in Middle River. They met while deployed to Iraq in 2007. Hiett, a vocalist, songwriter and the band's lead singer had long thought of forming a band to showcase his music. Irizzary was an accomplished bass guitarist in a metal band. When the conversation turned to music, the two hit it off right away.
Sensing potential, Hiett said he immediately started talking about forming a band once they returned home. Irizzary was looking to slow down at the time, however, and resisted the offer.
But the two seemed destined to stay together. Both began working for Jacobs Technology around the same time and after being referred by a mutual friend. They ended up on the same mission site with Hiett as the range support branch manager and Irizzary as an ammunition accountability technician. The two are married with children and both share an easy friendship that stands out in their musical collaborations.
"I just write the lyrics and leave the music to them," Hiett said of Irizzary and the other band members who include April Joynes on drums, and guitarists Lloyd Woolridge and Doug Carpenter.
"They are the ones that make it happen," Hiett said.
With just over four years on the Baltimore circuit, they agreed the work is starting to pay off.
"When you first start, it's hard to get that opening," he said. "But we're playing with better known bands, more people are coming out to see us and the venues are more open to booking us. Now with our own record out, people who used to shut the door on us are calling us."
They describe their music as "not hard rock; modern rock," and their goal -- according to their website at www.reverbnation.com/10Blade -- is to "provide an in-your-face unique approach and atmosphere that is a little different from all other bands."
On their debut album, "Torn Between," Hiett wrote the songs and the band members took care of the rest.
Hesitant about revealing the motivation behind his songs, Hiett said he prefers for listeners gather their own meaning. He did say, however that the anthem "Take This (The Anthem)" is a tribute to the military, police and firefighters. Fans can listen to two other songs, "Dreamstealer" and "Together" on the Reverbnation website.
The group has played at venues like the Recher Theater in Towson and they have an upcoming Cancer Benefit at the 1840s Ballroom in Baltimore's Inner Harbor Feb. 4.
They also tested the waters on APG when they performed during an MWR concert last year which was well received by the Soldiers of the former 143rd Ordnance Battalion. Hiett said the Soldiers "went completely nuts" for two hours.
"Those young men and women pushed us to play as hard as we could," he recalled. Irizzary added that the band looks for any opportunity to play for service members.
"One of our goals is to one day do a show in our dress blues," he said.
"It's easy doing what we do when the group of people and support is so great. We're just regular kind of guys. Hopefully, one day we'll be regular kind of guys with a little more popularity."
For more about 10Blade visit their official website at www.10blademusic.com, at www.reverbnation.com.10blade, or on Twitter at theband10blade.