On March 25, the Rolling Stones will perform a free show in Cuba, becoming the most famous act to play Cuba since its 1959 revolution. Chris Cornell, who performed in Cuba in 2005 with Audioslave, has some advice for Mick and the boys on their free concert in Havana.
Cornell says the band spent $1 million to fund the concert at the Anti-Imperialist Tribunal.“It wasn’t easy … but we figured out how to do it,” he says.
“What about all these other enormous bands?” Cornell says of encouraging other acts to perform. “Particularly, I was thinking British bands, Australian bands that have sold millions and millions of records that can afford to go play for this audience — how come no one has come? And I sort of halfway assumed because we did it, in probably the most difficult way possible, people would follow, and I’m kind of surprised that it’s taken this long, but I am super happy that the Rolling Stones are doing it!”
Cornell adds that Cuban fans are “amazing people and they deserve to see every rock band that you or I or anybody else gets to see.”
The Cuban government has eased restrictions on the arts and has allowed more large gatherings not organized by the state.
The Stones will perform three days after President Barack Obama visits Havana. Not only will it be the first time the Stones have played in the Caribbean, but it’s the first-ever open-air concert held in Cuba by a British band.
“I think that they’re just going to have a fantastic time and they should just use up every second that they’re there and not sleep and just be there with the Cuban people,” Cornell says. “I also think that upon their exit they need to … tell all their friends in the music business and all their friends who are in bands who can afford to follow suit, and go right in and play music for the Cuban people.”
The Rolling Stones are also leading a “musician-to-musician initiative,” where much-needed musical instruments and equipment are being donated by major suppliers for the benefit of Cuban musicians across all genres.
100.3 The Q! presents Chris Cornell at Royal Theatre in Victoria on July 21st. The show is sold out.