Communist Cuba wasn’t really the best place to be a punk rocker. Rebellious teens, known as los frikis (“the freaks”), used their radios to pick up American airwaves and rock out to groups like AC/DC and Metallica. However, getting the Led out came with a pretty steep price.Kids sporting long hair, ripped jeans, and T-shirts emblazoned with rock band logos were regularly assaulted by the police. When scruffy teens showed up for school, they were often surrounded and forcibly shaved. Anyone caught listening to rock music was tossed behind bars or sent to work in the sugarcane fields. The Berlin Wall had just collapsed, the USSR was falling apart, and Fidel Castro was freaking out. Hoping to keep his regime intact, the bearded director went after anyone who stepped out of line, cracking down hard on rock music and angrily shouting, “Socialism or death!” That’s when musicians accepted the challenge.
To escape persecution, Los Frikis chose to give themselves HIV for a chance at life in a Cuban AIDS sanitarium.
Before he was a famous musician Johnny Cash was a military code breaker for the US Air Force. He worked as a as a Morse Intercept Operator in Germany, handling the hardest jobs, intercepting Russian intelligence & deciphering code transmissions. He copied the 1st news of Stalin’s death.
Prior to their music careers, Sid Vicious and Johnny Rotten would often perform Alice Cooper covers on the streets for money. People would pay them to stop.
In 2007, renown violinist Joshua Bell once played 6 Bach pieces at a metro station in DC. He played some of the hardest songs ever on a $3,500,000 violin for 45 minutes, and made $32 with 6 people watching. He frequently sells out shows for $100 a piece. There was no applause.
In 2014, Taylor Swift accidentally released 8 seconds of white noise on iTunes for $1.29. It became #1 in Canada almost immediately before being removed.
In 2015, 1000 musicians played ‘Learn to Fly’ by foo fighters together in the town of Cesena, Italy in an effort to get the band to come to their town and play. The band responded and came to the town to play a 27-song-set, starting off with ‘Learn to Fly’. Here’s the full video of the 1000 musicians in action.
Danny Elfman came up with the theme to ‘Batman’ on a flight from London but since he couldn’t write music he kept running to the bathroom to record himself on a tape recorder whenever he had a new idea, causing the flight attendants to think he was a junkie.
Joe Walsh, guitarist in the Eagles and other bands, ran for president in 1980 on the platform of “free gas for everyone” and promised to make “Life’s Been Good” the new national anthem if he won.
Gustav Mahler was superstitious and strongly believed in the Curse of the Ninth, where composers can only compose nine symphonies before they die. He tried to beat superstition by calling his 9th symphonic work a “song cycle,” then began work on his 10th symphony and died.
When musician Israel Kamakawiwo’ole passed in 1997, he was the first and only citizen to receive the honor of having the Hawaii state flag flown at half-staff. His coffin was allowed to “lay in state” in the capitol building. Since then, in 2003 a bronze bust of Brother Iz was erected on O’ahu.