For Iraq War vet Tomas Young, Eddie Vedder, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Morello and Bright Eyes aren't just rock stars -- they're his lifelines. "They keep me going every day to continue in this struggle," says Young, who was paralyzed from the chest down when his Humvee was ambushed in Baghdad in 2004. "They remind me that there are things bigger than myself."
Young, whose story is chronicled in the documentary Body of War, hasn't met all of his musical heroes -- just Vedder, who penned an original track for the film -- but that didn't stop him from soliciting favors. "Eddie asked if there was anything he could do for me," says the twenty-six-year-old Missouri native. "It dawned on me that there was the possibility of making an album with songs that inspired me to keep going through the antiwar movement."
The result is Body of War: Songs That Inspired An Iraq War Veteran. The two-disc set -- out March 18th -- features Vedder's "No More War," as well as likeminded cuts by Neil Young, Serj Tankian, Ben Harper and Kimya Dawson. Young -- who scoured iTunes for tracks that moved him -- co-curated the collection with Vedder, who hit up his musical buddies. "Rage Against the Machine wanted to contribute and so did Roger Waters," says Young. "If you're an antiwar activist -- or a music fan -- how do you turn that down?"
Artists handed over their tunes, pro-bono, with proceeds going to Iraq Veterans Against the War. "Too often, acts of resistance against this war are tepid," says Tom Morello, who lent the Nightwatchman's "Battle Hymns" to the album. He will perform the song at the film's premiere screening at the South By Southwest festival on March 13th, where Harper and Tankian are also set to play. "When veterans who have made the ultimate sacrifice speak out, it can have a very galvanizing effect."
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