Monday, August 22, 2011

American Soldier vs Food.... (Queensrÿche)

So I was channel surfing when I stumbled onto a repeat of the Travel Channel's "Man Vs. Food Nation" where host Adam Richman helps coach challengers through outrageously large, outrageously spicy, or sometime both, eating challenges. I've watched the show but not on a regular basis- usually just catching whatever reruns are on, so I stopped to watch since it was an episode I hadn't seen yet.

It got really interesting when I noticed that the guy attempting to pack away a massive 6-pound muffaletta sandwich was proudly wearing a Queensrÿche T-shirt from their "American Soldier" tour. Something seemed familiar, but I couldn't place it until I googled the episode guide- this was none other than A.J. Fratto, former crew chief for the Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Squandron, lead singer of the metal band Below the Stitch in Pensacola, Florida. Back in 2007, AJ was approached by Queensrÿche's Geoff Tate to lend his voice to the "American Soldier" album. On the following tour, AJ went along to play the part of *The* American Soldier, opening the set, and taking the stage with the band.As a result, AJ retired from his 15 year military career to pursue his lifelong dream of singing professionally, and hasn't looked back since.

(Warning! Spoilers after the break!)

A.J.'s Man Vs. Food mission was to pack away a whopping 6 pound Muffaletta sandwich, along with a side of red beans and rice and some Andouille sausage in less than an hour at the Calypso Beach Cafe in Panama City Beach, Florida. This challenge stood undefeated when A.J. sat down to take a crack at it.

Ultimately, food won- after a strong start, time ran out with about half the sandwich left. Despite that, A.J.'s attempt still made the record books- as the closest anyone has ever come to finishing the meal.

AJ performing "Sliver" with Queensrÿche:

AJ performing "Never Walk Alone" with his own band, Below the Stitch:

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