Campbelltown band’s new song highlights plight of Vietnam veterans

The struggles faced by Vietnam War veterans are highlighted in Simply Bushed’s latest single, What About Me.

With Vietnam Veterans Day just around the corner (August 18) the Campbelltown band chose to release the song which was inspired by an emotional chat with a Vietnam veteran.

One of the band’s frontmen, Chris Rieger, began writing the song after a conversation with a veteran on Cruisin’ Country two years ago.

“We’d just finished playing and he came up to me and said he was blown away by the song and started to cry and spoke about how he was a veteran and how they’d been treated so badly when they returned,” he said.

“He said “what about me”, which is why we started writing the song.”

The band won the Tamworth Songwriters Association’s Anzac Song of the Year at last year’s Tamworth Country Music Festival for their single, Raise Your Glass.

Throughout the journey of writing the song Rieger came to realise that his own grandfather may have suffered from post traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD), but it was not recognised when the men and women returned from World War II.

“I just hope [the song] raises awareness of PTSD,” Chris said.

“Simply Bushed has always had that close affinity with the military and we have been involved with a PTSD clinic in South Australia.

“The kind of sacrifices these girls and guys make – you can’t be prepared for it.

“They’re old men, but they’re still living it and it’s our generation’s job to help them.”

Fellow front man, Paul Grierson, co-wrote the track and said he was moved when Chris came to him with the guitar riff and the first verse.

“It always strikes me how significant the events of 40 or 50 years ago still are to these returned servicemen,” Paul said.

“When we play Raise Your Glass or other songs about returned service personnel, people don’t talk about their family, children, grandchildren, they tell me about the brothers that they lost.

“These are proud 70-year-old men, but this event shaped their lives, and that’s why they need to have their own song.”

Grierson said the band members were messengers for important issues.

“This song is more about the message than the messengers and this issue is something we need to be aware of,” he said.

“I hope there is a spirit of acknowledgement and can give these men some peace. I would like the men this was written for to know that we wrote the song to say how proud we are of what they went through.”

Rieger said he felt a deep sadness about how Vietnam War veterans were treated when they came home.

“The song is heavy and angry, but it’s purely there to show respect and put a blunt message in front of people’s faces that this is reality and it’s not watered down,” Chris said.