American Hitmen

American Hitmen

 Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
BandRockAlternative

From the United States Marine Corps to Season 8 of America's Got Talent, the American Hitmen are the answer to the question: What happened to all the good rock bands??!! Mixing the classic rock sound of Zeppelin and Sabbath with the unique style of Muse and Soundgarden, the American Hitmen are breathing life back into a long-struggling genre!

Band Press

American Hitmen - Vets On An Insane Journey – Screamer Magazine

From the battlefields of Fallujah, Iraq to America’s Got Talent, Utah-based band American Hitmen have had quite a unique journey in the music business. If you haven’t heard of them already, you surely will soon. When have you heard of a band that actually formed in a war zone on the other side of the world, had the opportunity to be the first rock band to play in a country in decades, and then competed on a reality TV show? It has to have been a wild ride, and vocalist Tim Cord sat down to tell Screamer all the details.

“My brother and I, Dan, who plays guitar, joined the Marine Corps back in 2003 and we were deployed to Fallujah at the end of 2004,” said Cord. “We met Jay, our bassist – he was actually Dan’s platoon sergeant. Dan and I got an acoustic guitar from the little chapel, and after missions we went back and would sit in the smoke pit and just jam- acoustic jams- to just kind of boost morale.” Dan “Jay” Jarmon enjoyed what the Cord brothers were doing, and informed them that he could play bass if they wanted to actually start a band. Ben Porterfield joined them on drums and they got their first big break while still in Iraq: “In 2006, Charlie Daniels came out to Iraq on a USO tour and we performed on stage with him and his band in Iraq in front of all our peers. Once that hit, we got national recognition through the Marine Corps Times and stuff like that. That was when we decided that we really wanted to go full speed ahead and be musicians.” Their former drummer decided to stay in the Marine Corps when the others were honorably discharged in 2007. Shortly thereafter, the band moved to Utah and met their current drummer, Phil Snyder and it was a perfect fit.

In 2009, the band had the amazing opportunity of being the first American rock band to play in Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh City) in 36 years. Said Cord, “They decided they wanted to open up a Hard Rock Cafe and try to bridge the gap between Western culture rock and roll since the war.” It wasn’t necessarily an easy process to get the go ahead, though: “It was really random. We had, like, three days to decide. We said ‘Yeah, why not?’ We had to go out there and actually get approved by the Socialist Republic Minister of Cultures. So basically they flew us out to Vietnam. We had to perform for these three guys that basically decided if this was something that they wanted in their country. And if they had decided no, we would have just turned around and gone home. So we performed for them. They didn’t applaud, they didn’t do anything but they went in a back room and basically said ‘Yeah we want them.’ …So we ended up being the first band that had ever played there since the war. It was just a really amazing experience for us and for them.”

It became clear to the Hitmen how long it had been since the people of Vietnam had been in contact with the outside world, musically that is. “One of the funniest events is that we played Hey Jude at the end of one of our sets and they asked where the song was on our album and we were like ‘Oh that’s a Beatles song!’ They had no idea who the Beatles were and they thought we had written it,” shared Cord. “So it was kind of a cool experience for us just to show them what it was all about because up until that point they just had whatever the government allowed them to have and what the government allowed them to be exposed to. It was crazy. They flew Darryl McDaniels from Run DMC out for the grand opening and he did a set and we ended up doing Walk This Way with him on stage, like Aerosmith back in the 80′s… It was insane!”

American Hitmen have amassed a large following in many countries and to this point have sold over 20,000 albums internationally and have become a leader in the music scene in their now home state of Utah.

In 2013, the band went through 3 rounds on the popular television show, America’s Got Talent. Cord, who is a fan of Howard Stern, a judge on the show, knew that Stern had mentioned that he wanted a rock band to go through on the show, so when a friend tipped them off about a “by invite only” casting in Salt Lake City, the band decided to take the chance. Though they knew that they would not be able to play their own music, they decided that it would be a great way to get their name out to the masses. According to Cord, they decided, “Even if we get on one episode, it would be good exposure. We never had any delusions of winning… We just wanted to get our name out there and have them say American Hitmen at least once on national TV.” At the audition, the Hitmen put in a DVD of a live performance and a music video and nonchalantly told them, “If you want a rock band, choose us.”

“We didn’t hear anything for a couple of weeks and we were like ‘Ahh whatever, no big deal.’Then they called us and asked us what city we wanted to audition in and we went to Chicago.We honestly never watched the show, so we didn’t have any clue how big it was,” said Cord. “I mean I knew it was a thing, but I thought American Idol was much more popular at the time. We stood up in Chicago and played and got a standing ovation and we were like ‘Oh, this is real, this is huge.’ They didn’t air that first episode for two months, so for two months we couldn’t tell anybody if we’d made it. We went through the second filming in Vegas before the first episode even aired.”

As the band had hoped, their appearance on the show put the name American Hitmen in front of a massive audience that they may not have been able to reach through traditional means: “After we filmed the second episode, they aired the first one and overnight our Facebook likes went from 1800 to like 10,000 and we got, at one point, 7 million hits in the month of July on our website and it was insane. So when they finally flew us out for the live rounds in New York, we were just walking around and everywhere we went, people recognized us, people were asking for our autographs and it was absolutely insane. We played live at Radio City Music Hall in front of millions of people and when we got cut, it was not a bittersweet thing at all. It was actually a relief, because from that point on we were able to use the popularity that we gained from AGT to do our own thing. On the show you only play for 90 seconds and they tell you what to play and you have no control over what songs you perform. So we felt like our hands were tied but at the same time… it was a vehicle for bigger and better things.”

And all of these things were accomplished through the sheer hard work and determination of the band, because, until recently they did not have the professional backing of a manager or promoter.

Out of all of the tunes in the American Hitmen songbook, which is Cord most proud of? “We have a song called Born Again and typically we write songs that are pretty vague about what they are about because we like the listener to interpret it how they want. People come up to me all the time and are like, ‘Oh I love that song about this’ and it’s totally not even remotely about that but I just like hearing people’s interpretations. But Born Again was a song about our experiences in combat. It’s a pretty brutally honest song but it’s one of my favorites that I’m proud of. The lyrics are some of the best I’ve ever written.”

Cord also shared an exclusive bit of info with Screamer: “We’ve actually got a single that we’re going to release and you’re actually going to be the first publication that we’ve told that! We’re releasing a single called Contagious that we are releasing on February 21st and as a B side on that single we’re going to release a song called Cold Woman. It’s going to be like the old A and B side records and its gonna knock everybody’s socks off. It’s gonna be sweet.”

After the release of Contagious, American Hitmen are prepared to rock 2014. Said Cord: “We’re gonna kind of hit the ground running. We hired a new manager, Don Osmond, and we’re just gonna see where it takes us. We’ve got a show with Charlie Daniels out in Nashville on March 25th, we’ve got a big biker rally, we’re playing at the NAMM show next weekend which is huge… I don’t know, I just think this year is gonna be the year we go from being a local band from Utah to being a nationally recognized name so that’s pretty sweet.” Pretty sweet indeed.

American Hitmen Invade NAMM Show 2014 – Examiner

American Hitmen scoped out the scenery at the NAMM GoPro Stage, on Jan. 23. The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) brings together musicians and brands to the Anaheim Convention Center and various locations around the world.

Mountain Time Zone musicians invade NAMM: American Hitmen
Tim "Two Guns" Cord is the vocalist and rhythm guitarist, Dan "Hitman" Cord is the lead Guitar and backup vocalist, Dan "Jay" Jarmon is the bassist, Phil "The Thrill" Snyder is the drummer of American Hitmen.

Before beginning American Hitmen’s recital with “Bless Me”, Tim Cord gave a shout out to NAMM and introduced the band to the spectators. In the process he kicked his legs up and skipped backwards. During the chorus, Dan Cord assisted with the backup vocals.

Prior to “Cold Women”, Tim Cord mentioned they were all from Salt Lake City. Then, he picked up his acoustic guitar and stated they had been having a great year so far. He reminisced about them being on the television show, “America’s Got Talent”, and playing at The NAMM Show.

After thanking the audience, an onlooker asked Tim Cord if they had served in the military. Tim Cord said they served at Camp Pendleton and how he met Jarmon and Snyder there, prior to the start of “Contagious”. He indicated the single would be available, on Feb. 21.

During the introduction of American Hitmen’s cover of The Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy For The Devil”, Tim Cord joked and said he dedicated the song to those picketing the event with Jesus signs. After picking up his acoustic guitar, he performed alone and was later joined by his band mates. After the performance— he maintained his sense of humor and said he wrote the song for The Rolling Stones, in the 1960s.

“Helter Skelter” brought an end to American Hitmen’s showcase. After the conclusion of the song, Tim Cord handed out more compact discs to the crowd and Dan Cord flicked his guitar pick. He pretended to throw his guitar into the crowd and held onto it.

“The Proposition”, “Water’s Edge”, “Can’t Take The Fire Away”, “Give Them What They Want” and “What Isn’t Could’ve Been” were also a part of American Hitmen’s set.

Other musical performances of Jan. 26 included: The Endangered, Jamey Geston, Workman High School Jazz Band 1, Trombone Circle, Bunnell Strings, Hollis Long, Scott Law, Olivia Rox, Chris McCarty and The Underground Movement, Ukulele Circle, Get A Life Marching Band and Caseroloops.

War Influences 'American Hitmen' Lyrics – Daily Utah Chronicle

Art created in the midst of social upheaval carries great significance. Picasso’s “Guernica,” painted to depict the 1937 bombing of the creation’s namesake town, is one of tragedy’s masterpieces. Fast forward 67 years to Iraq in 2004. There, brothers Dan and Tim Cord also used disastrous experiences to foster art.

Caught in the depths of a warzone, their main duty was to serve in the military as Marines. Nonetheless, Dan and Tim found solace in music. In fact, they used the art form to distract fellow Marines from the everyday tasks of missions and firefights.

From playing acoustic guitars in Fallujah, Iraq to busting out hardcore rock anthems in Salt Lake City, Dan and Tim still write music. Instead of playing in smoke pits, the brothers, alongside two other artists, now perform in front of big crowds under the persona American Hitmen. The name acts as a double entendre, standing for the members’ time in the military and for the idea that they are American men who write hit music.

Last Wednesday, American Hitmen took stage at The Depot. At the show, the band worked hard to prove its place as opening act for local and popular ensemble Royal Bliss. Lead singer and lyricist Dan believes they were able to connect with the Royal Bliss fan following by writing identifiable music.

While many of American Hitmen’s tunes are based on combat experiences, the band tries to work in storylines that any listener can pick up on. For instance, the song “Devil’s Country” depicts war as a drug. Most people understand the aftermath of addiction, but not the heartbreak of war.

“You get home from war and you’re like, ‘nothing makes sense. I just want to go back.’ It’s hard for people who have never been there to understand that,” Dan said.

Wanting to connect to listeners, Dan compared war to a woman, the kind of woman who is trouble but draws men back time and again.

“It’s very vague, but we let people interpret what they want,” Dan said. “Sometimes when you tell people what the song is about, it kind of ruins the illusion.”

To Dan, the American Hitmen track resonates on different levels for different people. To the band, “Devil’s Country” forms images of war, but to others, the song represents the calamity of an unhealthy relationship. Either way, it nurtures an individual experience.

From vague interpretations to obvious narratives of war, American Hitmen uses lyrics to mix up its style. When the stories are blunt, listeners feel sympathy for the band and understand music is therapeutic for them.

“Music for us is very cathartic. We write a lot about our experiences at combat,” Dan said. “Sometimes I’ll be really blunt.

We have a song called ‘Born Again,’ where we talk about being in firefights, people dying and killing people.”

While American Hitmen’s lyrics have potential to connect to any audience, the music is a different story. The band has a heavy and aggressive sound, which matches the combat and warzone vibe. Because of that, it may be difficult for those with softer ears to hear the group’s message.

However, acoustic performances of American Hitmen music are the alternative choice for those who shy from listening to Avenged Sevenfold or wearing Affliction T-shirts.

Interview With Tim Cord, Lead Singer Of American Hitmen From America’s Got Talent Season 8 – Blast Zone Online

MW: Please introduce yourself?
TC: My name is Tim Cord, and I am the lead singer, piano player, and rhythm guitar player for American Hitmen.

MW: What made you want to try out for America’s Got Talent season 8?
TC: Our friend John Farmer, who runs the Utah Musicians Network, called me and said his friend was a casting director for AGT. They were holding auditions at a hotel in Salt Lake and he suggested that we go. We showed up with a DVD of a live performance and music video from the band. They asked us why they should pick us and our response was “Pick us if you want, or not. Either way, we’ll keep rocking out.”

MW: Take me through the first round?
TC: They flew us out to Chicago and told us to hang out in the lobby the next morning until an AGT rep came and picked us up. We weren’t really nervous because it was less of a band battle, and more of a variety show. We were driven to the theater and that’s where we met the producers and crew of AGT. We basically waited in a holding room all day with all the other acts, while they set up the stage. Around noon, they brought us onstage for a sound check. Since we’re a rock band that is used to playing in dive bars, we were very easy to work with as far as sound and gear was concerned. The stage crew loved us because of it. Anyway, we had still not really chosen a song yet. They had to approve songs through licensing, so it was between “House of the Rising Sun” and Skynyrd’s “Simple Man”. We sound checked both and our producer said “Simple Man” was a home run. Also, a little girl, who we ended up losing to in New York, had played “House of the Rising Sun” for her initial audition, so they figured the judges wouldn’t want to hear it twice. The time came to perform in front of the judges, as well as the 3000+ people in the audience, so we took the stage. It wasn’t nerve wracking simply because we were used to being in front of crowds. It was cool seeing my idol, Howard Stern, though. Anyway, we rocked the 90 second version of “Simple Man” and got a standing ovation from the judges and the crowd. It was cool! Then we flew home the next day.

MW: Take me through the Vegas round?
TC: We played a 2 hour show in Utah on Thursday, and two back-to-back 2 hour shows in Idaho on Friday and Saturday, so we ended up leaving straight from the Idaho venue and drove through the night to the SLC airport to fly to Vegas. We were pretty exhausted, as you can imagine. The flight to Vegas was over in about an hour, so none of us got any sleep. When we arrived in Vegas, they brought us over to the Ballys Casino to check in. As soon as we checked in , they put us in buses and drove us all around Vegas with a film crew, filming our what they call “B-Roll”. We were in the bus for hours having to act like we were just now arriving in Vegas. It was…interesting. After that, they dropped us off at the hotel and put us up in a conference hall, where we basically just waited as each act was interviewed. They would place us in the background of certain interviews to fill in the shot better, so we couldn’t take a nap. When it was our turn to go in front of the music production team to show them our act, we were all pretty spent. We jammed our 90 second version of “House of the Rising Sun”, listened to a little feedback from the producers, and went back to the holding room. For three days, we sat in the holding area. It was brutal! Finally, we went over to the Planet Hollywood Casino to hear our fate. The judges called in a third of the acts and sent them straight home. They called in another third of the acts and sent them straight through to New York. The last third, which we were in, went in front of the judges and were told we had to audition again. We were fine with it. We knew we had a solid song and that we would bring it 100%. We were the first act to perform in front of the judges. There was no audience, just the judges. We jammed out and then stood there for a few with no applause, no commentary, and no idea what the judges thought. Then Howard Stern asked us if we had slept at all, and we said we had actually. Then he told us thank you and we left the stage. We had to wait 24 hours to hear whether or not we made it through to New York or not. Needless to say, it was a long 24 hours. The next day they pulled us on stage, told us we made it, and that was that. Turns out Vegas is really hot and dry, by the way. :)

MW: Take me through the live round?
TC: They flew us to New York and drove us to the Hilton, right across the street from the Radio City Music Hall. We met with the crew the next morning at Radio City, and started preparing for the live show. The producers brought in 3 backup singers and a keyboard player for us, to help make the stage performance a little “juicier”. We rehearsed with them and basically made the producers giddy, because they thought we had a home run song. On the Thursday before the show aired, we flew out to Des Moines, IA to play a few shows that we had booked months before, and the producers were cool with us leaving for a few days. We played in Des Moines on Thursday, Hannibal, Missouri on Friday, and then finished with a show in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. We flew back to New York on Sunday and went right back to rehearsal. They dressed us in cooler clothes than we brought with us and had us rehearse over and over again. Tuesday came and it was a madhouse. There were so many moving parts to prepare for the live show! It was nuts. Anyway, we did a red carpet press line before the show started and then went backstage to get our stuff ready to rock. We were the first act of the night so obviously there was a lot of pressure. The time came and we took the stage. I counted in the band and we rocked one hell of a 90 second version of “With A Little Help From My Friends”, Joe Cocker style! We had the audience standing and swaying their arms with the beat. It was awesome! Then the judges told us they didn’t really like our song and wanted to hear something a little harder. I told Heidi that we did too, but since we didn’t pick the songs, it wasn’t really up to us. It wasn’t a big deal for us because we knew that America had just seen the American Hitmen perform live at the Radio City Music Hall. It was a win-win for us.

MW: What did you think when you were voted off?
TC: Obviously it would have been cool to go through at least one more round, but we were actually relieved to a point. We had been catching a lot of flack online from people saying we were a cover band. We take pride in the original music that we write, so that was a hard pill to swallow when we found out we couldn’t play our own music on the show. Our drummer, Phil, and guitarist, Dan, are both insanely talented musicians and they were never really able to do much on AGT other than be background music for my singing. When we first went on the show, we knew we would never win the show. We had no intention of winning either. All we wanted was exposure. We wanted the name “American Hitmen” to be heard in places that would normally not know who we were. Mission accomplished! Our Facebook page likes went from 1,831 to over 9,000 in less than a month. Our website (www.americanhitmen.com) received over 1.5 million hits in July alone. It’s been awesome! Now that we have the exposure, we can show people what we really do, which is rock out nightly for hours on end!

MW: How far did you think you would go?
TC: We figured we would make it through the first round. After that was really unknown. We’re not cocky guys so we were very level-headed about the whole thing. We were the only rock band so there wasn’t really any comparison between us and other acts. Knowing that, we were able to just do our thing as best as we could. If they wanted a rock band to go through, then we would. If they didn’t, it wasn’t for a lack of trying on our part. Everyone around us was always saying “Man, you guys are going to win!” but we never bought into it. We took it one show at a time. I do know that we had most of the military bases, the religious folks, the South, Utah, Texas, and every biker across the nation voting for us, so they were all pretty confident that we were going to make it through the first live round. We ever once planned on making it. We just did our thing and hoped America and the judges would dig it.

MW: How upset are you that you did not go to the semi-finals?
TC: It would have been cool to go through one more round, but the doors that were opened for us from just being on the show, were flying open left and right. We saw being voted off the show as the true beginning of our music career. Our name was out there, and now we were able to tackle all the offers that started pouring in. So, yes, it would have been awesome to go to the next round, but none of us even batted an eye when we didn’t make it.

MW: What did you think of Howie Mandel?
TC: Howie Mandel was cool. He always thought we were awesome and was a big reason we kept going. Also, he has a lot of pretty ladies that follow him around. Not a bad life, if you ask me.

MW: What did you think of Mel B.?
TC: Mel B. was funny. She liked our music but hated the way our bassist and drummer dressed during the first round. She seems like the kind of girl that could hold her own in a bar fight.

MW: What did you think of Hedi Klum?
TC: Heidi is one of those people that, when you see them in person, look airbrushed. She is a fine specimen of a human being. I remember seeing her Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover when I was a kid and thinking she was the greatest thing since sliced bread. Now that I met her, hit on her on national television, and was greeted by her backstage, I can die a happy man.

MW: What did you think of Howard Stern?
TC: Howard Stern is awesome! I have been a fan of his for as long as I can remember, so being able to talk to him, be judged by him, and hear him talk about us on his show is a dream come true. I love the fact that he has no reason to be nice to us or tell us we’re good if he didn’t think we were, so when he said we were awesome for the first two rounds, that was amazing! Everyone is pissed off because he didn’t like our song in the live round, but we’re all totally cool with it. We didn’t have much control over the songs we did so I know it wasn’t a direct reflection on us. Plus, I got to meet all his crew from the show, so it was awesome putting faces with the names I have come to know and love over the years. Howard is still the man in my book.

MW: What is in store for American Hitmen now?
TC: We are going to hit the road, and try to make it to every city that wants to see us. We’ll be hitting the studio to record some new jams so stay tuned for that. On October 5th, we’ll be returning to our home base, Camp Pendleton, CA, for a really big rock show! If you can make it out, it will definitely be worth your time.

MW: How can your fans reach out to you?
TC: We are ALL over the internet. Our websites are:

http://www.americanhitmen.com; http://www.facebook.com/americanhitmen; http://www.twitter.com/americanhitmen; http://www.soundcloud.com/americanhitmen; http://www.youtube.com/americanhitman or http://www.youtube.com/americanhitmen; americanhitmen.bandcamp.com; http://www.sonicbids.com/americanhitmen

MW: What would you like to say in closing?
TC: I just want to say “thank you” from all of us in the American Hitmen! That was one hell of a cool experience! It’s only the beginning for us so be sure to stay tuned for upcoming shows in your area! Rock ‘n’ Roll!

Slug Magazine Album Review: Soundtrack of Violence – Slug Magazine

Slug Magazine Review
Mar 5, 2012
American Hitmen
Soundtrack of Violence
Self-Released
Street: 02.14
American Hitmen = Buckcherry + Candlebox
Listening to American Hitmen is like jumping into a Hot Tub Time Machine. Instead of going all the way back to the '80s, this time travel adventure sends you back to the early '90s when rock bands still had all the flash and machismo of spandex-rocking '80s metal bands, but were also starting to embrace a little bit of a dark, moody, creative side. The compositions here are tight and creative. You can tell everyone in this band has a strong mastery of his/her instrument. With bodacious vocal performances from singer Tim Cord, I really feel like these guys should petition Chad Kroeger from Nickleback and demand an opening slot on their tour, because everyone needs to experience the extreme awesomeness that these dudes exude. -Jon Robertson

Slug Magazine Album Review: American Hitmen – Slug Magazine

Slug Mag CD Review!!
Dec 4, 2011
American Hitmen
EP
Self-Released
Street: 09.01
American Hitmen = 3 Doors Down + Danzig + Deftones
Mostly loud, raucous and at least a little dark, I’d say American Hitmen would be considered a somewhat modernized offspring of 1980s era metal/thrasher tunes. Not so much like the metal creations who have done away with melody and music altogether—the “roll” in “rock n’ roll,” if you will. This EP seems to pay homage to some of the original interpretations of the genre, aligning more with Alice Cooper and Def Leppard stylings. Personally, I prefer the roll in my rock n’ roll, so I do appreciate the fact that the vocals carry a tune and some of the songs lean on the light side. On top of that, when the lyrics and music do lean heavy, you can know that it’s coming from a very real place. These guys are US Marines, and they formed the band on the battlefield in Iraq during some of the bloodiest fighting to date, Operation Phantom Fury. Alive and inspired, they returned home safely and wasted no time in pursuing their dreams—a much preferred way of dealing with PTSD. Rock it out! –Ischa B.