John Hetlinger is not the kind of man you would expect to be fronting a heavy metal band. But there the unassuming 82-year-old was, on a festival stage screaming along with hard rock veterans Drowning Pool behind him. It's a sight that truly needs to be seen to be believed.
Hetlinger came to the attention of the band after he performed on America's Got Talent. After wowing Simon Cowell and the rest of the panel that he worked on a project to fix the Hubble Telescope, Hetlinger absolutely blew them away with his song choice and performance. As all of America banged their heads along with the truly amazing senior word made it to the guys in the band. They knew immediately that they wanted to take the stage with Hetlinger.
Throughout their career Drowning Pool have done an exceptional amount of work for military veterans working alongside the USO for 11 years. Considering that Hetlinger also happened to have been a Navy pilot the stars truly were aligning for a collaboration.
"It's been an honor for us to play for our military every chance we've had," drummer Mike Luce said prior to the Chicago Open Air performance. "On rare occasions, servicemen have joined us onstage here and there, but one thing's for sure—we've never shared the stage with an 82-year-old Navy veteran/aerospace manager crushing 'Bodies'. It's gonna be crazy throwing down with him!"
Not only did Hetlinger get on stage with the band and tear down the house at the Chicago Open Air festival, he also got inked for the occasion. Tattoo artist Dusty Chamblin of Ohio's Studio 4:13 Tattoos was lucky enough to tattoo the Drowning Pool logo onto the arm of Hetlinger. The red DP appears to be the senior's first tattoo and we think it looks damn good.
It's awesome to see someone like Hetlinger just get out there and have a great time, regardless of what people might think. Don't let something as silly as age stop you from singing with your favorite metal band or going out and getting a rad tattoo. Hats off to you, John Hetlinger.