FARGO – Shaun Schipper didn't serve in Vietnam, but he has a knack for telling the stories of Americans just a few years older than him who fought there.
His heartfelt tribute songs to Vietnam veterans are his big focus right now—and his work has been heard across the country. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., read one of his songs on the U.S. Senate floor last year, and Schipper was tapped to perform in March at the groundbreaking of a new replica Vietnam Memorial Wall in Gilbert, Ariz.
The 61-year-old Crookston, Minn., native and longtime resident of Fargo jokes that he's a "terrible" guitarist and musician who rarely performs, instead keeping busy with his family and his work as a contractor.
He found his songwriting groove a decade ago and only recently recorded his first album, "Vietnam," that's available at the Fargo Air Museum or online at www.cdbaby.com/cd/shaunschipper.
The Forum caught up with Schipper to find out why he relates to veterans and what he wants his music to do.
How long have you been a singer-songwriter?
I've been playing guitar for quite a while and writing songs. Truth be told, probably about 10 years ago I got into my Christian songwriting phase. I never really finished or completed any songs until I got into my Christian songwriting phase. ... I said, "Well, I guess I had a co-writer." What else can I say?
Are you a veteran?
No. Everybody asks me that. When I sing my songs, too, they always say, "Well, how can you sing this or that if you weren't a veteran?"
There's a video that I saw (a documentary series featuring an interview with veteran Carl Griggs). Carl only speaks for nine minutes total on those five videos, but he's one of those people like a fantastic poet that can say so much in so few words. What he said about Vietnam, he just hit me. He said, "Hell, most of us were 18, 19 years old, and six months ago we were just at our senior prom."
That's where my song came from, "19 Years Old." He said so many things that I probably got five songs that all came out of this Carl Griggs talking in that short amount of time.
How do you relate with veterans?
When I was in high school, 'Nam was raging. I graduated in '73, that's when 'Nam ended, and '68 was the worst year with the most deaths. So that was probably when I was in eighth grade.
It was raging and as I was getting closer to 18, the war was still going on over there, and we had the draft.
You said a patriotic album like this has a market, veterans and their families. But you aren't worried about money or fame from this album, so what is your goal?
To play at the Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C., for a special event. That is my only musical goal in my life, and I let everybody know that.
When someone hears your music, what do you want them to get out of it?
It would be nice if it could be a healing type thing. I think with veterans you don't want to talk about things, but I think when you go into these places, they want you to talk about things. They want you to open up.
They keep this stuff inside, and it's what's killing them. A lot of times, the support system for them is pretty tough.
Ann has been singing since she first sang at three years of age in the children's choir of Seminole Baptist Temple in Springfield, Missouri where her Uncle Bob Johnson was the pastor. Her mother was the piano player, uncles were deacons and aunts were Sunday School teachers! Getting the picture?
There is little doubt among her family and friends that she was destined to share this gift of music with all who listen. But more than just music, the songs display a message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Once you hear Sue Ann, you will understand why many say that she has an angelic voice.
Sue Ann is also a song writer with songs on several CD's that she has written. "Fuel for the Fire" written at a Christain Conference and other inspired songs that as she writes just seem to come naturally. Her latest writing is her first Praise and Worship song to date and will be on the next recorded project.
Sue Ann has performed all across the United States including a time for the USO when she traveled to state-side bases and military installations in Panama and the Carribbean. She appeared on "Nashville Now", "CBS, This Morning" and ABC's "Good Morning America" while with the Presley's and since has appeared on "Southern Gospel Praise" in Dallas and locally at home on "The Kevin Shorey Show".
Sue Ann O'Neal felt the call to minister at an early age and following an award-winning career appearing in several landmark shows in Branson including a long run with the Presley's show, Sue Ann is dedicated with a full-time music ministry with a message in every song!
A native of Springfield Missouri, Sue
The Veterans Festival Group would like to personally thank Rick Eisel for all of the hard work and dedication that he has given to Vet Fest 2018. I think it would be a safe assumption to say that without Ricks involvement there might not even be a Vet Fest 2018. So when you see him be sure to thank him.
One Degree From Mande
It is rare to find a music artist so unique that you have to come up with a new phrase to classify their sound. Such is the case for Erisa Rei, a professional vocalist and songwriter firmly established in the Americana genre but possessing a sound that can be described only as “homegrown soul”. Whether she is performing at the legendary Blue Bird Café in Nashville or entertaining fans while touring Europe, Erisa’s down-to-earth personality and lyrical storytelling have helped audiences discover a genuine and authentic connection with her. She was even a finalist in the 2016 John Lennon Songwriting Contest.
Erisa’s music has always been a reflection of what was happening in her life at the time of its writing. Her first two CDs, Backwards and Black Ball, were released in 2007 and 2012 respectively and explored her emotions while trying to navigate a deeply difficult period of time in her life. However, her latest CD, Glass Jar, is released in April 2016 and describes the healing process that followed those periods of personal turmoil.
Away from her life in music, Erisa loves spending time with her husband and home schooling their five children. Erisa is also an avid reader and enjoys passing time playing tower defense games on her computer.
Rick Eisel aka Jesse
Rick grew up working in his family's restaurant which was started by his parents first time on stage 11. He served in the Air Force, Security & Law Enforcement division; where he studied business and law. Rick started a bakery equipment business in 1982 and has been working in the field ever since. His 30+ years experience in the industry have given him the tools and knowledge necessary to own and operate Production Line Equipment. Rick continues to drive the entrepreneurial spirit and growth of his company.
What Inspires me
What inspired me to do this album is that alone i cant show as much appreciation as all of us working together.
Playing the Legion post 242 in Orlando, and the VFW, along with playing the Hard Rock in Memphis for American legion post number 1 . These people deserve to be shown clearly that they are appreciated
CD released today
The Album is dedicated to all the Veterans , Active duty, and their families, all proceeds will go toward producing more albums for the cause. This is Jesse's way of showing his application for all you have done.
Rick Eisel aka Jesse serviced in the USAF
My name is Sarge Lintecum, and I am a highly decorated, three tour of duty, Vietnam combat veteran. Sarge's Jungle is my personal home page.
As well as being a Vietnam combat veteran of the 101st Airborne Division, I am a blues singer, and harmonica master, sponsored by the Lee Oskar Harmonica company. I appear at concert venues, blues clubs, schools, colleges and universities from sea to shining sea. I perform my Vietnam Blues Show which consists of music from my "Vietnam Blues - Combat Tested Blues... For Peace" recording (on CD, DVD and cassette), and my latest recording, "Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Blues" featuring Lee Oskar and me on harmonicas, Kenny Skaggs (of Glenn Campbell Band fame) on steele guitar and Barrelhouse Chuck on piano. My Vietnam Blues Show also features powerful Vietnam War poetry, and war stories. I also teach poetry and creative writing through the Arizona Commission on the Arts, and I am an instructor for the American Healing Arts Foundation.
I am proud to have made one of the most highly decorated and successful Vietnam-related recordings ever produced. My latest recording, "Post Traumatic Stess Disorder Blues" is now available!
Sarge did three tours of duty in Vietnam, 1966-'67-'68. His first tour was eleven months in the jungle/hospital with the 101st Airborne Paratroopers as a combat infantryman. During that time he advanced to Squad Leader. Sarge came down with malaria three times, jungle-rot, immersion-foot, two varieties of internal parasites, a shrapnel wound in his leg, exposure to Agent Orange, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which Sarge says is the "Vietnam Blues". Sarge received the Purple Heart, the Good Conduct medal, a Vietnam Service Medal with 1 Bronze Service Star and 1 Silver Service Star (to represent three tours of duty), Parachute Jump Wings, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, a Valorous Unit Emblem, a Republic Of Vietnam Gallantry Cross With Palm Unit Citation Badge, and five Over-Seas Bars.
Sarge Lintecum is a leading slam poet (performance art poet) in Arizona, and slam master, having hosted The Mary McCann Poetry Slam for over three years. He has been an organizer and national competing member of the Phoenix Slam Poetry Team from 1992, when he competed that year in Boston, to 1996. At the 1994 Annual National Slam Poetry Competition in Asheville, North Carolina Sarge won the Slam Haiku competition making him the 1994 National Slam Haiku Champion of the USA, and inspiring him to write his 160 page book, (1 Haiku per page) "Sarge's Little Book of Haiku". This book was Sarge's second book of poetry, preceded by "The Vietnam Blues and Other Really Radical Writings." (50 pages) Sarge's third book, "Vietnam Vet Will Work For Food" (30 pages) will touch your heart.
Sarge's blues music, spoken word, and jazz recording, "Vietnam Blues-Combat Tested Blues . . . For Peace", (on CD, cassette and DVD), on which Sarge sings, plays harmonica, and wrote the songs and poems has received five Honorable Mention Certificates in Billboard Magazine's National Song Contest. Plus, his new recording, "Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Blues" features Sarge and Lee Oskar on harmonicas, Kenny Skaggs (of Glenn Campbell Band fame) and Barrelhouse Chuck on piano.
Sue Ann O'Neal
Veterans Variety Show