The dynamic musical collective, The Dead Daisies, head to Cuba this month as guests of the Cuban Ministry of Culture, the Institute of Music and the Cuban Rock Agency. The rock band (whose members hail from Australia and the U.S. ) will be in Havana from February 22 to March 1 as part of a cultural exchange organized by the Cuban Ministry of Culture.
While in Cuba, The Dead Daisies will be performing both acoustic and electric shows as well as recording tracks for their upcoming album and jamming with Cuban musicians Yasek Manzano, Carlos Miyares, Michel Herrera, Alejandro Martinez, Harold Lopez and Yaimi Karel. The group will also visit schools and conduct workshops with students and local musicians. The Daisies’trip will conclude with the Rock por la paz concert at the legendary Salón Rosado de la Tropical on Saturday, February 28. The Salón Rosado de la Tropical is one of the most important venues in Cuba and is considered a cathedral for Cuban popular music. Joining The Daisies on this shrine of a stage on the 28th will be Cuban artists David Blanco y su grupo and Anima Mundi.
The trip is the first for an international rock band since U.S. President Obama loosened travel and trade rules for the country. The band members on board for this excursion include Richard Fortus ( Guns N’ Roses, Psychedelic Furs) on lead guitar, Marco Mendoza (Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake) on bass, Dizzy Reed (Guns N’Roses, Hookers & Blow) on keyboards, David Lowy (Mink, Red Phoenix) on guitar and Brian Tichy (Ozzy Osbourne, Billy Idol) on drums. Also along for the ride are Darryl Jones (The Rolling Stones, Sting, Peter Gabriel), John Corabi (Motley Crue, RATT) and Bernard Fowler (The Rolling Stones).
“For my entire life, Miami was as close to Cuba as Americans could get and I assumed it would remain that way for the rest of my time,”attests Dizzy Reed. “Now, we are all coming down to Cuba to play some kick ass rock n’ roll and soak in the culture, the food, the rum, cigars and, of course, the music. And with the long overdue changes in diplomacy just ahead, it feels like the right time to come and hang. It’s been a life-long dream of mine to experience Cuba- so much history and influence in this part of the world. Can’t wait amigos!”
Guitarist Richard Fortus adds, “As an American, playing in Cuba is an incredible opportunity. To work and learn from Cuban musicians, and to experience their unique musical character is a dream of mine. I know this will be one of my greatest experiences yet!”
“I’m really looking forward to a first visit and experience in Cuba,”says Mendoza. “It’s always been on my list of places to visit, being a fan of Afro-Cuban history and artist and the fact that I speak the language is also going to help. It will be a fantastic time, and now with The Dead Daisies, it’s sure to be something very special and memorable; A Rock’ n Roll Buena Vista Social Club! VIVALAROCK!!”
Formed in 2012, The Dead Daisies are a powerful musical collective created by a rotating line-up that features some of the best rock musicians on the planet with a sound that’s influenced by late ‘70s and early ‘80s hard rock –big choruses, powerful melodies and strong hooks.
The Dead Daisies are showing the world that a “classic rock”sound still has what it takes to get people hooked. They released their self-titled debut album in the US and Canada through Caroline/Universal Music in 2013 and followed that up last year with the Face I Love EP.
The idea to tour Cuba came from the band themselves. Having toured in most major cities throughout the world with one band or another, the boys tried to figure out which was the one country none of them had been to but all wanted to go. The answer was Cuba! Feelers went out through diplomatic channels which lead them to the Cuban Ministry of Culture. This visit had been in the making since March 2014 but Obama’s surprise announcement last December suddenly made the arrangements that much easier to execute.
On Sunday Richard, Marco, Dizzy, David, Brian, Darryl and Bernard all set up shop at the Melia Cohiba. Cuba and The Dead Daisies may never be the same again!
A.J. Twist is a Montreal based travel writer and photographer.
Watch for AJ’s posts while following the band throughout Havana. It should be fun.