Richard Fortus on a guitar solo.
Richard Fortus on a guitar solo.

Irina Pino

HAVANA TIMES — On the night of Wednesday, February 25, The Dead Daisies played at Havana’s rock-and-roll venue the Maxim Rock. The performance was sponsored by the Cuban Music Institute and the Cuba en Defensa de la Humanidad (“Cuba in Defense of Humanity”) Network.

All of its members were once part of legendary rock bands: Bernard Fowler and Darryl Jones (The Rolling Stones), Jon Stevens (INXS), Richard Fortus (Guns N’ Roses, Thin Lizzy), Dizzy Reed (Guns N’ Roses), Marco Mendoza (Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake), Brian Tich (Whitesnake, Ozzy Osbourne), John Corabi (Motley Crue) and David Lowy (Red Phoenix and The Angel).

The Dead Daisies at the  Maxim Rock
The Dead Daisies at the Maxim Rock

The much-awaited performance began at 9:30 pm. The band was welcomed with euphoric screaming and thunderous applause. Cuba’s alternative rock band Anima Mundi opened the show. Members of the band Miel con limon (“Honey with Lemon”) also took the stage.

There were well over 700 people at the locale (which was formerly a movie theater). People of all ages – moved by the same passion for rock-and-roll – were there. The idea was to dance to the music, but it was nearly impossible, as one could barely move in the large crowd. The stifling heat led the men to take off their shirts and T-shirts, following the example of the charismatic guitarist Richard Fortus.

People out in front of the Maxim Rock hoping to get in to the concert.
People out in front of the Maxim Rock hoping to get in to the concert.

Drummer Brian Tich made a show of his talents, hurling the drum sticks to the audience and continuing to play with his bare fists – a rhythmic and brutal percussion. The musicians hurled water, coins and sweat-soaked towels. The Cuban audience replied with water and beer, singing along with enthusiasm.

The band played a number of heavy metal and hard and classic rock pieces from their first album, The Dead Daisies, published in 2013. The pieces included It’s Gonna Take Time, Washington, Talk To Me, and Yesterday, as well as the more recent and highly successful Face I Love, Angel in Your Eyes and Your Karma. The band also played Sympathy for the Devil, by The Rolling Stones and Helter Skelter, by The Beatles.

The Dead Daisies at the Maxim Rock
The Dead Daisies at the Maxim Rock

Not everything was rose-colored, however. Before the concert, the street was packed with people and many feared being left out, as the guest band brought all of its gear (including consoles, stage lights and fiber-optic cables that took up much of the space inside) and tickets were sold at different points during the concert. Some people argued with the agency director, saying they’d been waiting for hours and would not leave empty-handed. Some tickets were resold at 5 CUC under the table, and friends of the house went in without paying. A consensus was finally reached and the place was filled to the brim with people. A great many rockers, including people who had come from other provinces, were still left outside.

It’s hard to understand why an event of this nature would be held at a small venue like the Maxim Rock, when a square or stadium would have accommodated the crowd well.

We can only hope this trend continues and that these new relations continue to bring us rock bands – perhaps The Rolling Stones and Aerosmith will grace us with their presence next year.


Irina Pino

Irina Pino: I was born in the middle of shortages in those sixties that marked so many patterns in the world. Although I currently live in Miramar, I miss the city center with its cinemas and theaters, and the bohemian atmosphere of Old Havana, where I often go. Writing is the essential thing in my life, be it poetry, fiction or articles, a communion of ideas that identifies me. With my family and my friends, I get my share of happiness.

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