What if you were part of a promising young rock band that had the real potential to make it to the big stage? If I’m a teenager, that’s a dream come true. But what would it take to give all that up? I can’t think of anything. Founding member of the popular all-veteran rock band Silence and Light, Brad Thomas, did exactly that. He decided to give up his dream of becoming a rock star to not only enlist in the U.S. Army but to join one of the world’s most elite fighting units — Delta Force. And after spending 20 years with the Army, he went back to music, his passion.
That’s quite a ride.
In an exclusive interview, SOFREP sat down with Brad to talk about his love of music, his military experience, and Silence and Light’s charitable mission.
“I Want To Be Delta Force”
Brad fell in love with music early on and credits his parents for it.
“One of the things they did for me was to expose me to live music at a very young age. Barry Manilow was one of my first concerts and as soon as I saw that stuff, I was like that’s what I want to do.” Brad says.
After spending years taking music lessons as a child — piano, saxophone, clarinet — Brad finally realized he was missing something from his musical adventure.
Brad says, “In 1980 when [ACDC’s] Back in Black came out, I bought it. You can’t play that on a saxophone, so that’s when I was like, I need a guitar.”
During high school and the few years following that, Brad was in a rock band that had potential. “We had some really good members,” Brad says.
But a strong desire to serve his country eventually came over him. Brad decided to put the music career on hold and enlist in the Army. But he didn’t just want to enlist — he wanted to go all out.
“I said to my recruiter that I want to be Delta Force, and he said ‘you can’t do that, you’ve got to be like Special Forces first.’ So I said ok I’ll do that, and he said ‘well you can’t do that either, you gotta be a Ranger.’ And that was the path that I ended up going.” Brad tells SOFREP.
Brad Thomas followed through with his goals and landed with the 3rd Ranger Battalion. Several years later and in a rare but possible scenario, Brad went straight from Ranger to Delta where he excelled yet again. His determination to be the best there emerged and he stayed with the Unit until he finally retired in 2010. Brad earned five Bronze Medals along the way.
Silence and Light, Setting Down the Rifle and Taking Up the Axe
After retirement, Brad continued playing music as a hobby and distraction from the harsh internal realities of life after war. But he felt the need to do more.
Jason Everman, one of his current band members and friend had previously played as a guitarist in the 90s for Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Mindfunk. Jason had also felt a strong desire to serve our great country. He enlisted in 1994, landing in Special Forces as a Green Beret himself. But Jason and Brad didn’t connect directly while in service.
Brad says, “It wasn’t until right after I retired that [Jason Everman] and I, through a mutual friend, got to hang out in New York. And that’s kind of where the band idea started.”
Using social media, Brad continued to gather other special operations to form the band.
“Tyson [the band’s bassist] was the first guy to hit me up organically and said, ‘I don’t know exactly what you got going on but I would love to be a part of it.'” Brad says.
Brad completed the band and they named it Silence and Light.
They were even fortunate enough to attract the attention of a Grammy award-winning producer, Josh Gudwin, a veteran himself, who offered to help produce their first album, titled Volume One, in 2019.
But their ambitions and goals are not about becoming rich and famous — they’re about helping veterans. As veterans themselves, they fully understand the impact wartime can have on servicemembers and want to help them.
“We’re taking those music royalties and we’re giving to special operations, veterans, and first responder charitable organizations. We’re not making money off the music sales portion.” Brad continues, “I’ve been there too, I’m one of you guys… this is about us helping us.”
Fo Brad Thomas music was a big part of his life since childhood. He now attributes his passion for music to his ability to stay sharp and mentally healthy. This creative endeavor has helped him stay away from the mental anguish and the problems that follow many veterans. Which is one of the reasons why he supports Warriors Heart, a privately funded treatment center that supports military members, law enforcement, and EMTs who suffer from the results of PTSD or MTBI (mild traumatic brain injury).
“The thing I like about Warrior’s Heart is that it’s a physical place. They help people get clean and once they get them clean; they start working on the issues. They use art as a form of therapy, whether it be sculpting, painting or music.” Brad continues, “The other one is Marine Raider Foundation. They directly help families of Marine Raiders that were killed and support them — whether it’s paying for hotels or plane tickets, things like that.”
Silence and Light’s second album is due out this fall; the band is also releasing a single this August. They hope to go mainstream and attract all rock fans, not just veterans. Their strategy is to build off the unexpected success of their first album.
“Our original [first album] goal was to sell and get downloaded 5,000 times, that’s a win. We’re in the hundreds of thousands of downloads and streams.” Brad says.
That’s quite impressive. But the question is, can they reach millions with the next album? We hope so, as America’s veterans deserve it.
If you wish to support Silence and Light, aside from downloading their music (available on all digital platforms), you can purchase merchandise from their website by clicking here.
To get the latest updates, news, and information about Silence and Light, follow their Instagram page. Tell them that SOFREP sent you.
The charities that Silence And Light donate their royalties to are legit: Check out the Marine Raider Foundation and Warrior Heart in the hyperlinks and if you can donate, know that it goes to a worthy cause.
And if you want a full hour with Brad Thomas and SOFREP Senior Editor Steven Balestrieri hit up SOFREP Radio Episode #559.