UnBlock the Rock (UBTR), an independent grassroots movement, is working tirelessly to bring Cuban metal band Escape to the United States in March for this years SXSW Music Festival and Conference in Austin, Texas to perform the first Cuban heavy metal concert on U.S. soil.
The efforts to connect the historically estranged nations of Cuba and the U.S. through the power of metal were born out of the making of They Will Be Heard, a documentary on Escape directed by filmmaker Tracey Noelle Luz and featuring Jennifer Hernandez, Escape’s original keyboard player. Hernandez left Cuba and her band in 2010 to be reunited with her father in New Jersey. Luz and Hernandez founded UBTR a year later, determined to bring Escape to perform in the US.
“It’s time for Cuban metal to expand its frontiers, so Americans can listen to our music as we’ve always listened to theirs,” said Hernandez.
David Peisner, the author of “Red Menace: Inside the Hidden World of Extreme Cuban Metal,” a feature article published in the May 2012 issue of Spin Magazine, joined the ranks of UBTR last year. Peisner helped secure the official 2013 SXSW invitation, the first step in a very complicated legal process involving the US State Department and the Cuban government, to bring Escape to SXSW to perform and speak on a panel.
Legendary metal guitar player Alex Skolnick of Testament and documentary producer Monica Hampton (Fahrenheit 911, Heavy Metal in Baghdad) joined UBTR in 2011. Hampton was instrumental in bringing Acrassicauda, the Iraqi heavy metal band in Heavy Metal in Baghdad, to the United States in 2008.
“Through the support of metal fans who saw Heavy Metal in Baghdad and donated money to our PayPal, we were able to raise the money needed to bring Acrassicauda to America,” said Hampton. “We’re relying on the same support to bring Escape to perform at SXSW.”
To help UBTR quickly raise funds over the next few weeks to cover Escape’s travel and visa costs to SXSW, bands like Eyehategod and The Supersuckers have donated tracks to The Red Album, UBTR’s first compilation CD now available by donation at www.unblocktherock.com.
“The passion and determination of Escape and of all metal musicians in Cuba, deserves recognition,” said Luz. ”SXSW is the perfect place to showcase their talent and bring Cuban metal to the forefront of the American conscious. The proceeds received from the sale of The Red Album will make this dream a reality.”
THE RED ALBUM track listing:
1. ESCAPE – Simbolo de Libertad 03:58
2. ALEX SKOLNICK TRIO – Bollywood 05:22
3. THE GUILT OF… – Social Recall Rewind 04:02
4. BLACK TUSK – This Time is Divine 02:56
5. SUPERSUCKERS – Someday I Will Kill You 02:36
6. EYEHATEGOD – International Narcotic 04:08
7. ARSON ANTHEM – Primate Envy 01:27
8. SOUND OF URCHIN – Rock n’ Roll Forever 03:29
9. SHE’S STILL DEAD – Keeper of the Witch 03:52
All proceeds from this album go towards legal fees, visa processing, and travel costs to bring Cuban metal band Escape to SXSW in March 2013.
Contact: Tracey Noelle Luz at email@example.com