My life is random. I don’t really have anything consistent to tell you besides the music that I play. This is one of the first things I heard from Alexander. But aren’t most of our lives just bunch of these accidental, at first glance, experiences, except maybe that one thing we do more or less consistently? I feel like mine is.

Alexander’s stage name is Drunkn Indian. And here’s his random, as he thinks, story.

“Honestly, I was the last person, so anti government and just one day – I have a thing, anything I am in direct conflict with I completely through myself into it randomly sometimes. I don’t understand why. So on a whim with a friend I signed up to join the military. That started seven year long road.

“In my mind there’s at least some sense of pride when it comes to serving your country. And if I was going to die at least I’d do it doing something I can be proud of instead of just getting shot down the street or something.

“My first duty station was in South Korea. That’s really when I first started getting back to music. It was in the school training, my aunt just randomly shipped my guitar back up to me and I’d make songs for the people in the barrack rooms that were sad. I tried to make funny songs but for some reason sad stuff always comes out and I ended up making them cry more than laugh most of the time.

“I never had any disillusions of what the military was outside of the people. I’ve been in one-sided relationships. The military is definitely the most one-sided relationship you’ll ever be in. You can give it a hundred and fifty percent and maybe you’ll get back twenty or thirty.

“They gave me sixteen thousand dollars bonus. I’m twenty one, in a foreign country with sixteen thousand dollars. What is the first thing I did? I went out and bought Movado watch that was nine-hundred-dollar watch. I think flat screens were like an absurd amount – maybe three or four thousand dollars for thirty-two-inch screen – I did that. I blew all that. Do I regret it? No I don’t.

“If you get far enough from the military base you know you’re something they’ve never seen there before. Being as big as I was in general, if I got away far enough from the base, they’ve never seen anything other than Korean. So they, ‘Come inside! Bring your guitar! Play some music, have a drink!’ and then I tell them I’m Native American and they’re like ‘Oh My God, that’s even crazier! We’ve never seen anything like you.’

“Having to shop for clothes  there – their extra large was like small on me. I had to order clothes online. So I was obviously three or four times bigger than the average person there. I remember I was in the subway and got off and this older lady they call them ‘Ajummas,’  she came up to me and she just started grabbing my forearms  and was in ‘Ah’ and started calling her husband, ‘Come here! Come here! Look at this guy!’ It was crazy!

“I’m just glad I had a music the entire time. I’ve always kept it. There are not too many things that I’ve done in my life where I feel like I’ve gotten back what I put into it and I don’t think there’s ever been a time that I sang or played and somebody didn’t come up to me and tell me ‘That was awesome’ or ‘You were really good.’

listen to Open Conversation episodes also every Tuesday on KJZZ 91.5, NPR member station in Phoenix, Arizona, a bit after 9:30 am PST.

music by Loopstache, Drunkn Indian
recorded, produced by Regina Revazova

note: this content is intended for listening. This transcript might not be accurate. We advise to listen to the podcast to get full range of emotional highlights and other story elements.