Veteran turned roadie for Def Leppard shares his story

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SALT LAKE CITY – Many people would love to spend time as a rock 'n’ roll roadie, and Def Leppard’s newest roadie comes to the table with battlefield experience.

Bill Jones’ first day on the job was in Salt Lake City for a sold-out show put on by Def Leppard and KISS.

“Thrilling,” he said. “Absolutely thrilling. This is the opportunity of a lifetime.”

Drummer Rick Allen said Def Leppard is glad to have Jones on board.

“He was just pulled in, and now he's part of the family,” he said. “…In many ways there are parallels with what he used to do, it's a team.”

Allen is referring to Jones’ previous work.

“I flew helicopters in the Army, which was a very stressful job,” Jones said.

Jones, a Clarksville, Tennessee Native was deployed in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and he was among the thousands who applied for two positions as a roadie with the band through Military.com.

“My wife said if I don't apply for it, she was not gonna be happy.” Jones said, and he laughed before continuing: “Make the wife happy!”

Jones will spend the next few months traveling from city to city with the band. Allen said the goal is to help dispel the myth that veterans don’t always transition well into private work force.

“This is an opportunity for us to just bury that, because it's just not true,” he said of that perception. “I think he's just going to relax more and more as he gets more familiar with the show and his role, and then, who knows? After the tour, what I hope is that this isn't a temporary thing, and that he can go and do something, I mean we've got so many different companies here. If you find somebody that you love, that does a great job, you hang on to them.”

KISS and Def Leppard also gave $20,000 to two Utah charities supporting veterans during their stop in Salt Lake City.