If you've spent much time online checking out videos or posts on veteran-themed social media pages and websites, there's a pretty good chance you're familiar with Mat Best. Over the past several years, the former Army Ranger and defense contractor has leveraged his military experiences into a wildly successful career as an online entertainer, co-creator of the veteran-made zombie flick Range 15, and the co-founder of three popular military-themed companies (Black Rifle Coffee, Leadslingers Whiskey, and Article 15 Clothing), to boot.
Now, Best is adding "author" to a list of titles that include: operator, entrepreneur, coffee aficionado, apparel designer, actor, comedian, whiskey distiller, and master of parody rap battles.
When Vincent “Rocco” Vargas got the word that he’d been cast in a pilot spin-off of FX’s Sons of Anarchy, he knew there was going to be one big problem: He had no idea how to ride, despite playing a member of a motorcycle gang. “Dude, it’s scary,” Vargas told Task & Purpose.
In October 2015, six U.S. military veterans descended on an abandoned college campus two hours east of Los Angeles for what would prove to be one of the most challenging missions of their lives. They were armed with a script, some experience shooting low-budget YouTube videos, $1.1 million raised for the production on Indiegogo, and not much else. In fact, none of them had ever made a movie before. They were t-shirt vendors from two competing military-themed apparel companies, Ranger Up and Article 15. The project was aptly dubbed ‘Range 15.’ Their goal: to produce and star in the most bizarre, disgusting, irreverent zombie apocalypse spoof in the history of the genre.
I still remember what was playing on my iPod as the helicopter lifted off the helipad of the Iraqi Old Ministry of Defense compound: Smile Empty Soul’s “Silhouettes.” It was the summer of 2007, and I was leaving the White Falcons and Blue Spaders behind and heading home after serving as a joint terminal attack controller with those units. The smells, the heat, the sounds of choppers, UAVs, and fast movers — all of it was too normal to me by that point. Baghdad had become home for a while.
Mat Best, president of Article 15 Clothing and star of the upcoming “for veterans, by veterans” zombie apocalypse spoof Range 15, has written a smooth R&B; love song about a piece of standard-issue field gear. What camouflaged, inanimate object could be worthy of such a heartfelt ode? Only the silkiest, smoothest, most lovable piece of material to ever grace the battlefield.