Suicidal Tendencies were a Smash at Havana’s La Tropical

By Irina Pino

File photo of Suicidal Tendencies.

HAVANA TIMES — Rockers, metalheads and anyone who wanted to see and hear the band “Suicidal Tendencies” in Havana were in for a great night on May 11th at La Tropical, in the Benny More room. I believe Benny would have risen from his grave listening to these musicians and told them to be quiet because of all the noise they were making.

During the first part of the show, Zeus (a Cuban group which has been around for 30 years now), opened up as the supporting band playing some of their repertoire including Metrobus violento, that tribute to the humped back tractor trailer “buses” called Camellos which used to travel our cities for so long, destroying its streets. After their performance, there was a long musical speedbump which kicked off again at 11 PM, when the US band Suicidal Tendencies broke the ice and began to play their heavy metal songs.

Created in the ‘80s in Los Angeles, California, the current line-up was singer Mike Muir, guitarrists Dean Pleasants and Eff Pogan, bass player Ra Diaz and David Lombardo. The latter has Cuban roots and said that he had never played for a Cuban audience.

Most of this band’s lyrics talk about a lack of communication, the generational divide, the anguish of lonely people, existential problems, ways to distance yourself from stereotypes of what is good and what is bad. The reality is that this philosophy was being spread with battle cries of inconformity. It’s what draws you to their eccentricity.

Suicidal Tendencies on stage at the La Tropical in Havana.

Sometimes established order tends to break and that’s what happened with many young people who took off their shirts and, with naked chests, charged with a dance which involved pushing and stomping. These trouble makers scared fans who were standing right next to them. Many people ran and separated from their friends to prevent being hit. Many people said: “these assholes are going to screw up the Yankees’ concert.” Although luckily, everything went well.

It just so happens that these dance moves are encouraged by the loud noises rough trash and heavy metal music make, but they don’t leave any consequences in the end. That’s all it is, a mere fighting charade between kids. And as a result, the police didn’t stick their noses in at any time.

In the last century, which is still quite fresh, nobody would dance and shove when Cuban bands played at Patio de Maria, people would react within themselves, rockers would close their eyes and move their heads and throw their hair around. They would have more fun smoking a joint and drinking a bottle of cheap rum.

However, we can’t deny that acts of repression didn’t take place. Police would raid places where rockers and rock bands would hang out and they wouldn’t have a good time.

Thank God that’s behind us. We vindicated The Beatles with a marvellous statue to John Lennon, then El Submarino Amarillo was opened. Now, we have several venues such as La Maison, La Casa de la Amistad, and eventually, La Tropical. Places where we can enjoy rock music. However, it’s interesting to note that Maxim’s rock is still closed. I wonder why…

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.

2 thoughts on “Suicidal Tendencies were a Smash at Havana’s La Tropical

  • May 14, 2018 at 3:44 pm
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    Irina forgot to mention the Rolling Stones concert. They also were once on the list of banned bands. Three years ago they performed to the largest crowd ever for a music concert.

    Reply

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