Why the Sergeant Won't Rock

Slightly before the SWAT Kats Band came into play and consistently topped the charts with one rock hit after another, the idea of Konway's Korps had come into view. It became evident it wouldn't be practical to tour as the Korps, because rock music is easier to manage, and for the SWAT Kats, easier to play, but truth be told, the Korps did on few occasions meet and perform what they were meant to perform, and do many informal things as well.

To remind those of the lineup of the SWAT Kats Band, originally seen as Megakat City's answer to the band Boston, here it is:

Electric guitars – T-Bone/Chance, Razor/Jake, Captain Grimalken
Acoustic guitars – Commander Ulysses Feral, Dr. N. Zyme
Bass guitar – Al
Drums – Fango
Piano – Donald Darvino (one of Katscratch's gangsters), Lenny Ringtail (rare occasions or if Don was ill or otherwise unavailable); originally Mayor Manx was thought to be the one, but his mayor duties and subsequent election loss after trying to outlaw technology and arrest for that proved otherwise
Auxiliary percussion (if needed) – Scratch Taylor, Gordon Mason (Katscratch's other two gangsters), Hard Drive; Scratch always plays tambourine
Saxophone – Dr. Konway, Gordon Mason (alternating)
Extra Vocals – Callie Briggs, Lt. Felina Feral, Ann Gora
16-Track Synthesizer/Keyboard – Jonny K.

Now's here the shocking part. Notice that the Sergeant is not on the list. He was completely loyal to Feral (and still is), and being true to his image, was completely loyal to the idea of the Korps. He understood why the Korps as a full-time project was dropped in favor of the rock band, but nevertheless, he refused to be seen as a rock star. "You are turning down big bucks," Feral once said to him. "Are you sure that's what you want?"

"Yes, sir, it is," the Sergeant in his usual stern and dull manner. "It is for the better." That very comment has been seen as history in the making. Leo the Patriotic Lion even capitalized on one of his speeches. "Musically speaking," Leo once said, "the Sergeant here would rather show his devotion to his country than cash in the big money. What a sacrifice! What a noble gesture on his behalf! It is certainly something we all can learn from. And while those other members who make up the SWAT Kats Band certainly do show their devotion to America and are willing to do anything to protect it, make no mistake; the Sergeant, using only a few words, has certainly been the best example of one whose musical preference defines his character rather than gets in the way of it."

"He's way too patriotic to rock and roll, at least according to my detective, Lenny Ringtail," Feral once told the press shortly after Leo's comment, "but that's a good thing, because he really is a good role model to look up to."

Was the public upset by the Sergeant's refusal to rock? Not at all. Just as the Sergeant said, it really did turn out for the better. He was a cat of few words, and spoke so seldom in the first place. No one could picture him singing even the words to "The Star Spangled Banner." Silence was golden for him, and it showed everyone just how great he really was, letting his silence be his humility.

Probably the one controversial thing the Sergeant ever did was the fact that he caused a lost bet (and this very thing is something Calvin Coolidge was known for doing as well, except Coolidge was at a dinner party). One night at a fast food joint, the Sergeant and the members of the SWAT Kats Band (because of the fact they were celebrating a victory against Dr. Viper) were eating dinner. Ann, Jonny, and Al watched nervously as a random citizen, whom the Sergeant had helped earlier due to an arrest of the cat who was abusing her, walked up to him and said, "I wanted to thank you for your help today, but wondered why you speak so seldom? In fact, I even made a bet with him that tonight, betting a Pepsi, while you are eating here, you'll say more than two words."

The Sergeant replied, "You lose." That was it. He never spoke another word while he was in the fast food joint (at least while the citizen was in the restaurant). The citizen dropped her jaws in shock, and Ann grabbed her notebook and made notes of the story, as well as a written copy for the newspaper. Several other customers took a look at the Sergeant before resuming their own business.

"Looks like you owe him a Pepsi when he gets out of jail," Al replied softly to the citizen after the chit-chat resumed. "He isn't talking anymore."

"How dare you bet over my Sergeant not speaking," Feral scolded mildly. "You know better than that!"

"The public shall be divided over this," Ann commented as she took notes. "I'm just wondering how many will be angry with him?"

"No one, not if Leo can help it," Feral replied. "I think he glorified the Sergeant in one of his speeches."

"He has done a remarkable thing saying 'no,'" Jake spoke up. "He'd rather keep the flag flying than keep the dough coming in, at least with his musical abilities." The Sergeant nodded, though starting to look somber.

"Is something the matter?" Felina asked. The Sergeant shook his head.

"I hope he's not feeling a guilty conscience over this," said Chance. "I would if I was the source of someone losing a bet. At least it wasn't anything valuable; it was just a stupid bottle of Pepsi."

Not paying attention, Grimalken started singing the following lyrics to himself, along with the radio that was playing this Boston tune. Recognize it?

"If I said what's on my mind
You'd turn and walk away
Disappearing way back in your dreams
It's so hard to be unkind
So easy just to say
That everything is just the way it seems

"You look up at me
And somewhere in your mind you see
A man I'll never be

"If only I could find a way
I'd feel like I'm the man you believe I am
And it gets harder every day for me
To hide behind this dream you see
A man I'll never be

"I can't get any stronger
I can't climb any higher
You'll never know just how hard I've tried
Cry a little longer
And hold a little tighter
Emotions can't be satisfied

"You look up at me
And somewhere in your mind you see
A man I'll never be

"If only I could find a way
I'd feel like I'm the man you believe I am
And it gets harder every day for me
To hide behind this dream you see
A man I'll never be!"

Considering the situation the Sergeant was going through in trying to control his emotions and his appearance from his deed, the lyrics seemed appropriate.

As the Sergeant later wrote in his journal, which Feral picked up and read one day when he wasn't looking, "I didn't want to be the cause of something that would hurt that citizen's feelings, or her reputation that she admitted she had when she mentioned how abusive her husband was to her. Why did she bet a Pepsi bottle with him over me speaking more than two words? Why is it I speak so seldom in the first place and prefer to let my drum do the talking? Has it caused a disturbance? I hope not. All I ask is that the public doesn't see me as an insolence because of this. Besides, it is easier for me to say what I want to say if what I want to say is lengthy, by putting it in proper written words. I don't care how chatty someone is; chances are, I will not respond to what they say, or if I do, with as few as possible."

"Wow," Feral exclaimed to himself. "Now there's no argument about it. The Sergeant really is a cat of his word. Sometimes the best heroes are the nonverbal ones. I am not saying I should quit the rock band, because I won't, but the thing it, even if other rock stars or their fans from anywhere in the world want the Sergeant to join, he won't. He'll probably just say a simple 'no' and walk off. If the fan tries to pester him again, he'll just ignore him."

The truth was, nobody bothered the Sergeant with rock talk, because his mind was made up: if he was to be a musical star, it would be his role in Konway's Korps, whether the tune played was "Yankee Doodle" or "Garry Owen." And you can be rest assured when the Korps did perform whenever it was appropriate to do so, there would he stand, tall and proud, in the center of the drumline.

THE END

SWAT Kats © Hanna-Barbera, Warner Bros., Cartoon Network

Song "A Man I'll Never Be" © 1976 Epic Records and Boston

Leo the Patriotic Lion © me