May 6, 2005
The longest, the best, the craziest
concert of our lives

Audioslave in the Jose Marti Anti-imperialist Tribune, tonight at 8:30 pm,
A CubaNews translation by Maria Montelibre. Edited by Walter Lippmann.






Pedro de la Hoz

- Why Cuba?

-That's what we wanted.

-Any special motivation?

-Music transcends all barriers. It is the universal language. A bridge between our peoples.

-Do you know that your stage will be on the Anti-imperialist Tribune?

- Yes, we are aware about its name. It is a magnificent name for a cultural forum.

-What do you expect from this visit?

-To sow the first stone on the road of our musicians' reunion.

-What do you hope about the concert?

-To have a large audience, because it will the longest, the best, and the craziest of all concerts Audioslave has ever performed.

Questions from the press and answers by Audioslave members, a prestigious U.S. rock band, which will perform tonight under the patronage of the Cuban Institute of Music, at 8:30 pm, on the Jose Marti Anti-imperialist Grandstand. Tom Morello, ex-member of Rage Against the Machine, and Chris Cornell, ex-vocalist of Soundgarden, were the most talkative.

It is Audioslave's first concert in Latin America, and they consider it significant that it is in Cuba. They expressly tried it to be so. Their paperwork was hard to process, because of the practically unsurmountable barriers put forth by the U.S. Administration, which wants to torpedo Cuban-U.S. cultural relations. They think that obsession is absurd, and they re sorry that because of this, Cuban musicians have not been able to perform on U.S. Stages for years. They thank the Cuban Institute of Music, represented in the press conference by its First Vice-President, Orlando Vistel, by their interest shown when they applied to come.

Morello stated, "We are going to satisfy all wishes, because we will also play themes from Rage Against the Machine and Soundgarden, since we know in Cuba there are fans of our previous bands . But we will also include a repertoire from Audioslave and new things, which have not been heard up to now by anybody, from the second album, Out of Exile, which will go out on the market on the 24th."

The concert will be preceded by the presentation of X Alfonso, Audioslave's host for this visit. "For us," Cornell stated, "it is an honor to share the stage with such a prestigious Cuban musician. In the few hours we have been in Cuba, we have been surprised by the variety of his music."

Audioslave Brings American Rock to Cuba

Audioslave Brings American Rock to Cuba, Billed As First Outdoor U.S. Rock Show on Island


The Associated Press

From left, Tim Commeford, Brad Wilk, Chris Cornell and Tom Morello, members of rock group "Audioslave" of the US, meet with reporters at the National Hotel in Havana, Cuba, Thursday, May 5, 2005. Audioslave announced it will give a free, open-air concert on the Havana waterfront this week. (AP Photo/Jorge Rey)

May. 5, 2005 - It's been a long time maybe forever since an American band has rocked the Havana waterfront, where crowds are more used to denouncing the United States than dancing with it. Now Audioslave is promising to make its Friday night concert the longest, loudest and best Cubans have ever heard.

And Cubans have an obligation too, guitarist Tom Morello told a crowded news conference Thursday: "They have to come to the show and go absolutely crazy."

The concert, hastily organized by the government's Institute of Music, is being billed as Cuba's first outdoor rock concert by a U.S. band, though some Cuban artists have disputed that claim.

Friday's show at the Anti-Imperialist Tribunal certainly has the potential to be Cuba's largest, far bigger than the few relatively controlled indoor concerts involving artists such as Billy Joel and Bonnie Raitt. Crowds of a million people have turned out for government-sponsored demonstrations against the United States that file past the Tribunal stage for hours.

The show will require authorities to block off the broad Malecon boulevard, which snakes along Havana's seawall where the U.S. diplomatic mission is located.

Audioslave's members are known for their socialist bent, but they went out of their way to avoid political topics here.

"It's all about the music, period," said bassist Tim Commerford.

Audioslave broke away from a U.S. tour promoting their upcoming album, "Out of Exile," to come to Cuba after what Morello described as a lengthy effort to win approval from both governments.

The concert was called on such short notice that many Cuban rock fans were just getting word of the event Thursday. Those who can't make it from here or abroad may be able to see and hear it later on DVD.

The U.S. government's restrictions on Cuba's communist government often have made it tough for artists to travel to the island.

Cuba's government considered rock subversive in the 1960s, but has since warmed to some of it even dedicating a park to John Lennon. But it has been slow to celebrate the grungier, more rebellious forms of rock.

Officials closed Havana's most important rock club about two years ago, but allow twice-monthly performances at another venue and have authorized several outdoor rock festivals around the country, said Juan Manuel Montoto, who promotes a thrash group called Agonizer.

This time, with approval from both governments, the biggest threat may be the weather, which has been glum and rainy.

Regardless, Audioslave will rock.

"We all hope it will be the start of something that continues," said lead singer Chris Cornell.

"It's very important to us that this could be a free concert," Morello added, "so that everyone in Cuba who wants to come can come and hear the music."


U.S. Band Gives Outdoor Concert in Cuba

Audioslave Causes Sensation With First Outdoor Appearance by U.S. Rock Group in Cuba


The Associated Press

May. 7, 2005 - The American group Audioslave broke decades-long barriers with a thundering concert before thousands of Cuban fans who knocked over barriers to get closer to the first U.S. rock band to play an outdoor concert in Cuba.

Chris Cornell's scream "I won't do what you tell me!" boomed off the high-rise apartment buildings on south side of the stage Friday night as feedback shrieks from Tom Morello's guitar drifted into the night breeze over the Caribbean to the north.

"This is the best thing that has happened here this year," said 25-year-old rock fan Omar Juanes.

"The best thing in your life," shouted a nearby friend who darted back into a crowd of more than 3,000 people many with dreadlocks, body piercings and tattoos. A few swooped around the edges of the crowd on roller blades.

It was a distinct difference from the orderly, clean-cut crowds who march in massive anti-U.S. protests along the Malecon waterfront at the same venue: the Jose Marti Anti-Imperialist Tribunal before the U.S. Interests Section, or diplomatic mission.

Even before the concert, hundreds of fans were so eager that they sent metal security barricades clanging to the pavement and rushed forward to fill a 50-yard long area that had been reserved for special guests mostly workers and teachers with exemplary official records.

Police allowed the fans to stay in the invaded space and several joked with tattooed youths in Metallica T-shirts swigging rum.

U.S. travel restrictions on Cuba and the Cuban government's ambivalence toward rock music have limited visits by U.S. rockers to Cuba.

Officials often cite Billy Joel's 1979 indoor performance as a rock and roll landmark here.

But elemental grunge, thrash and metal are the most popular styles of rock on an island rich in its own complex, polyrhythmic popular music.

Audioslave had the whole crowd screaming and dancing when it went back to its frantic, pounding, grungy roots, but left those in the back merely toe-tapping on some of the newer, less frantic songs.

"We would like to have stronger music bands like Metallica," said a gaunt man sitting alongside friends on the Malecon seawall who gave his name as Walter Delgado, 32. Even so, he said, "We are happy for the first time in our rock and roll history."


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6 de mayo 2005

El más largo, el mejor, el más loco
de los conciertos de nuestras vidas

Audioslave en la Tribuna Antimperialista José Martí,
esta noche a las 8:30 p.m., con conocimiento de causa

Pedro de la Hoz

Foto: RAÚL LÓPEZ—¿Por qué Cuba?

—Era nuestro deseo.

—¿Alguna motivación especial?

—La música trasciende todas las barreras. Es un lenguaje universal. Un puente entre nuestros pueblos.

—¿Saben que el escenario donde actuarán se llama Tribuna Antimperialista?

—Sí, estamos conscientes de que así se llama. Es un magnífico nombre para un foro cultural.

—¿Qué esperan de esta visita?

—Sembrar la primera piedra en el camino del reencuentro entre nuestros músicos.

—¿Qué esperan del concierto?

—Que vayan muchas personas, porque será el más largo, el mejor y el más loco de todos los conciertos que Audioslave haya dado en su existencia.

Preguntas de la prensa y respuestas repartidas entre los integrantes de Audioslave, una célebre banda norteamericana de rock, que bajo el auspicio del Instituto Cubano de la Música, se presentará esta noche, a las 8:30 p.m., en la Tribuna Antimperialista José Martí. Los más locuaces fueron Tom Morello, ex integrante de Rage Against The Machine, y Chris Cornell, ex vocalista de Soundgarden.

Es el primer concierto de Audioslave en América Latina y consideran significativo que se produzca en Cuba. Quisieron expresamente que así fuera. Les llevó arduos trámites, debido a los obstáculos prácticamente insalvables con los que la actual Administración norteamericana pretende torpedear las relaciones culturales entre Cuba y EE.UU. Piensan que es absurda esa obsesión. Lamentan que debido a esta, se prohíba, desde hace dos años, la presencia de músicos de la Isla en escenarios estadounidenses. Agradecen al Instituto Cubano de la Música, representado en la rueda de prensa por su vicepresidente primero, Orlando Vistel, el interés mostrado ante su solicitud.

"Vamos a satisfacer todos los gustos —afirmó Morello—, pues también interpretaremos temas de Rage Against The Machine y Soundgarden, debido a que sabemos que hay fans de nuestras antiguas bandas en Cuba. Pero haremos el repertorio de Audioslave y cosas nuevas, que nadie ha escuchado hasta ahora, del segundo álbum, Out of Exile, que saldrá a la venta el próximo día 24."

El concierto estará precedido por la presentación de X Alfonso, anfitrión de Audioslave en esta visita. "Para nosotros —afirmó Cornell— es un honor compartir con un músico cubano tan talentoso. En las pocas horas que llevamos en Cuba, nos llama la atención la variedad de su música".