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Woah! Solidarity Rock is in a beer commercial!

Steam Whistle has been a huge support to Solidarity Rock events in Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver. We have been really amazed by their continued generosity to the arts in Canada, and beyond just sponsoring our events (which mean that we can do significantly more with our time and efforts) they really do a great job with helping grow Canadian music and art culture.

One of the ways they do that is through their unsigned series. They book a bar, get great bands and throw a party. Steam Whistle pays the acts, and all the costs and offers a really low cover price which they donate to a charitable cause, generally arts related. This July, Solidarity Rock was the benefactor for the Vancouver edition at the Biltmore Cabaret, featuring Acres of Lions, Familia and Rococode.

I’m please to say, Jesse Gander made it back home with a couple of recordings under his belt, and his band Previous Tenants are proven road warriors after having toured Cuba with Uh-Oh (Milwaukee, WI), ARRABIO (Trinidad) and Adictox (Santa Clara).

Thanks to the community support we receive everywhere we go, and the ongoing support Steam Whistle and others have offered us, we are able to do awesome things. Like bring a producer to Cuba to make punk rock recordings, and bring the first US punk band on tour in Cuba, along with a bus full of Canadians and Cubans.

We’re also raising money right now to bring our friends ARRABIO to Canada to be the first Cuban rock band to tour outside Cuba. They’re the first Cuban DIY band to tour inside Cuba, so it’s fitting. We’ve got a huge fundraiser coming up this weekend in Edmonton, and once again, Steam Whistle is helping out. We’ve got bands all weekend playing at the Inglewood Hall, a photography exhibit, and a bunch of Steam Whistles.

More news about the tour coming soon!

See you at the show!

VANCOUVER! You’re the best.

Solidarity Rock had a great show in Vancouver last weekend at the Biltmore Cabaret. The Vicious Cycles, Slow Learners, Radii and Previous Tenants came together to raise some money and possibilities for our friends in Cuban rock bands. The show was well attended and in the end, we raised just about $1000. A big thanks needs to go out to everyone involved, including bands, the venue and Steamwhistle.

This money that was raised is going to Cuba to help with our work. Friday night, Drew McIntosh, Jesse Gander and Barry Higginson will be flying into Varadero to be met by our steady partners William Garcia and crew. We’ll be taking up residence in Trinidad for a week while Jesse turns knobs and teaches our friends the ins and outs of mobile recording. He’ll be producing two (hopefully) full length records for ARRABIO and Adictox, two of Cuba’s most well known and hardest working underground bands. Then, we’re heading on tour.

This tour will be different than all the rest that came before it, as we’re bringing two Cuban bands, a Canadian band and a US band on the road for shows in 7 cities across the country. This is only possible thanks to the support we’ve received in places like the Biltmore. So, thanks.

We’ve had some pretty amazing and generous support from Steamwhistle. Not only did they sponsor this event, but they’ve lent a hand for our previous benefits in Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver. Steamwhistle is an independent brewery based in Toronto and they do a lot for the arts across Canada. I keep hearing stories about Whistles being dropped off at Jam spaces, recording sessions, parties, you name it. Steamwhistle goes the extra mile to support independent people doing great things, and without turning this into a commercial, you should all drink Steamwhistle beer and be thankful they care enough to reach out and support good things with their excellent beer.

On July 26, they’re doing it again with a Steamwhistle unsigned bands showcase, again at the Biltmore in Vancouver. Solidarity Rock is lucky enough to be the beneficiary of this fine evening, featuring Acres of Lions, Rococode and Familia. This unsigned series is great in that Steamwhistle pays the bands, the venue and promotion of the event and give 100% of the proceeds to a targeted cause, this time Solidarity Rock. It’s pretty amazing. So, if you’re in Vancouver, check it out. Here’s a Facebook event listing.

Vicious Cycles Tattoos!

Well, Vancouver’s Vicious Cycles have indeed left their mark on Cuba. Arrabio’s hard shreddin guitar player Douglas has what’s probably the first ever VCMC tattoo!

Skinny Tim of the Vicious Cycles runs a guitar studio in Vancouver called Anchor Guitar Studio. He’s writing about his experience on the tour in his blog. Here it is.


Cuba is a beautiful country, the biggest island in the Caribbean. Our caravan in Cuba was over 15 people, including two bands, The Vicious Cycles, and Arrabio. Photographer Sandy Phimister and tour liason Drew McIntosh from Edmonton, guitar tech James ‘eye drop’ Gamble from Calgary, three translators from Cuba, and our fearless Cuban tour manager William Garcia. The trip went off with very few problems considering how many people were involved.

We traveled around in an old school bus most likely form the 80’s, the bus was donated from a group in Portland called ‘Pastors for Peace’. The bus was painted by people and artists in Oregon, covered in slogans of peace, and community. Our bus driver used to race motorcycles, I would classify him as a first class driver, he could really get outta a tight spot. Once or twice we went the wrong way down a highway, luckily the mistake was caught before we got off the on ramp!

The streets in Cuban villages look like they are out of a museum, ‘art deco cities’, something all right about organized maze like streets in Cuba. We spent the first three nights in Sancti Spiritus, what would become our temporary home. We all got familiar with the streets, and places to buy ham sandwiches, and streetza (street pizza). The friends and family that we met in Sancti Spiritus took us in with open arms, feeding us, showed us around the city. Their hospitality was second to none, we wanted to bring all the friends home with us.

Rock and roll happened on the third night of the trip, and would continue till the end of our time in Cuba. We rolled up to La Feria, and found the stone pavilion we would be playing in. When we got to the spot there were no lights, no PA, no crowd, no power, in fact there was not much that we did not have. Luckily people are very handy in a tight spot in the Caribbean, within a couple minutes the lights showed up in the back of an old pickup, the stage was set with the PA, and speakers, and the kids started to stream in. That first night was something else, something to remember for a long time.

Click here for the Anchor Guitar Studios Blog

Sandy Phimester is a seriously talented photographer. He has accompanied Solidarity Rock on the last three tours in Cuba, and each time he blows everyone away with his work. Check out his latest series from the Vicious Cycles’ January 2012 Solidarity Rock tour! Unreal.


The Vicious Cycles - You Ain’t So Tuff -
Live cellphone video from Varadero, Cuba

Check out some live action from Vancouver’s Vicious Cycles in Varadero, Cuba.


Billy Bones’ of the Vicious Cycles put this video together from their recent Solidarity Rock tour in Cuba. If you like bikes, good times and rocknroll, you should check it out!


Our buddies in the Vicious Cycles put together a great little music video for their song High and Wild. It was shot entirely on a cell phone and looks great. In this video, you will see our friends and stomping grounds across central Cuba. Check it out!

Here is a write up from the AHS’s national page about the Vicious Cycles show that didn’t end up making it past two bands, because the power blew. They tried to re-route some juice from the street lights, but it was clear that it wasn’t going to happen. Either way, interesting words from the AHS site.

Banda canadiense Vicious Cycles.

Un viernes 13 con punk-rock en La Madriguera

Lázaro J. González González

La Madriguera, sede capitalina de la Asociación Hermanos Saíz,  prepara para este viernes 13 a las seis de la tarde el gran concierto de punk-rock William Fabián in Memoriam. El espectáculo, que tendrá entrada libre, contará con la presencia de las bandas Kallejeros Kondenados, Limalla, Akupunktura, Eskoria, Gatillo, Arrabio y como invitados espaciales a la banda canadiense Vicious Cycles, de gira por Cuba en estos momentos.

El punk- rock es un género musical dentro del rock que emergió a mediados de los años 1970, caracterizado por su actitud independiente y amateur. En sus inicios, el punk era una música muy simple y cruda, a veces descuidada: un tipo de rock sencillo, con melodías simples de duraciones cortas, sonidos de guitarras amplificadas poco controlados o ruidosos, pocos arreglos e instrumentos, y, por lo general, de compases y tempos rápidos. A la vez, el punk  ha creado una cultura: la de la libertad individual, que tiende a generar creencias en conceptos tales como el individualismo y el pensamiento libre.

William Fabián era el cantante líder de Escoria, agrupación que lideró ese movimiento musical en Cuba y falleció en el año 2010. A él se rinde este homenaje, el cual se realiza por segunda ocasión.

One Friday 13 with punk-rock at The Madriguera

J. Lazarus González González

El Madriguera, home of the Associacion Hermanos Saiz in the Cuban Captial, is preparing for a great punk-rock concert in memory of William Fabian, which goes on at 6:00 Friday January 13. The show, which will have free admission, will feature the bands Kallejera Kondenados, Limalla, Akupunktura, Eskoria, Gatillo, Arrabio and special guests from Canada, The Vicious Cycles, who are touring Cuba right now.
Punk-rock is a rock music genre that emerged in the mid-1970s, characterized by its independent and amateur attitude. In its beginnings, punk music was a very simple and crude, sometimes discounted, a simple type of music, with short songs, simple melodies, guitar sounds and loud, uncontrolled amplification. Few complex arangements or instruments, and generally bars of fast tempos. At the same time, punk has created a culture: that of individual freedom, which tends to create beliefs in concepts such as individualism and free thought.

William Fabian was the lead singer of Eskora, a group that led the musical movement in Cuba and died in 2010. This show is a tribute to him, which is done for a second time.

We Love You Cuba

The tour was Epic! The people amazing! The shows were all awesome! Still trying to get our heads around the whole thing… here are a few pics to start!

The Vicious Cycles (pictured) head to a seven-date/10 day-long Cuban tour with metallists Arrabio.

The Vicious Cycles (pictured) head to a seven-date/10 day-long Cuban tour with metallists Arrabio.

Photograph by: Photo Submitted, The Province

Similar to the former Soviet Union, post-revolution Cuba was not rocking and rolling. The global teenage bourgeousie’s music of choice failed both class and colonialism taste standards decreed by commie culturecrats. If you wanted to mosh not mambo, you did it by breaking the law.

As ever, the time-tested adage that what is forbidden is all the more desired proved true and underground rock music flourished.

Time passed and it became a bit easier to tune in and turn up if not drop out in Cuban society. The biggest problem was coming into the right gear to bring the noise, so most artists stuck with traditional acoustic brass and percussion combos playing to tourists. Since 2008, Edmonton, Alta.-based grass roots group Solidarity Rock has worked to establish connections between Canadian and Cuban bands in the city of Sancti Spiritus. To date, four tours by Canadian bands from Albterta to Cuba have enriched cross-cultural gigging and also delivered much needed equipement donations to musicians on the island nation. This year, Vancouver motorcycle punks the Vicious Cycles head to a seven-date/10 day-long Cuban tour with metallists Arrabio. The band features Solidarity Rock’s Cuban counterpart William Garcia who is booking the tour through the Hermanos Saiz Association. Most of the dates across the country will include local acts and the Havana date (Jan. 13) is an eight-group tribute to the late William Fabian of Eskoria, a popular punk unit. None of these acts is anywhere in the mainstream.

For the Vicious Cycles, the tour is a dream come true. Bassist Rob Wright is looking forward to the kickoff this weekend with Rich Hope & His Evil Doers and the AK-747s.

“We’ve been together about four years and haven’t toured anywhere but B.C. and Alberta,” says Wright. “Other members were in groups like the Blackjacks and Raised By Wolves, which did tour extensively in the U.S. as well, but this is a big deal.”

“Drew McIntosh, a key organizer from Solidarity Rock, is an old friend of mine from Edmonton and I really wanted to do this and he helped it happen. As far as I know, prior to this organization no Western bands were touring Cuba, they just did one-offs in Havana or Veradero.”

The five-piece combo’s full name is the Vicious Cycles Motorcycle Club. It specializes in high-energy punk that would put a Social Distortion fan in a good mood. The quintet has its riffs in a row. They have an album out titled the Strange and Terrible Saga Of with a cover depicting a bar brawl with colours-sporting bikers. Wright says that there is a subculture of punk rock motorcycle clubs in Vancouver now. And they ride a dizzying array of brands.

“The guys in the cover photo are good friends of ours and followers of the band called the Nightfighters. Then there is the all-female Majestic Unicorns, Filth Mode, the Scorpions — I probably left some out who will be pissed, sorry. It’s just neat that we have this under-the-radar thing happening.”

The Vicious Cycles also has some deep family ties. It’s Theramin and keyboard player Norman Anderson is the father of the drummer, Jared Anderson. Wright says it’s an unusual situation, but one that works just fine.

“The age range in this band is from 22 to 51 and we all get along great. It helps that Norman is kind of like the world’s oldest teenager. But really, we have day jobs and kid realities and the real goal is to just have a good time and make sure everyone else does.”

He expects that thrashing away in Cuba will wind up being one for the storybook to tell the family down the road. To listen to the Vicious Cycles, visit Solidarity Rock is at

One Night, Three Cities, No Doubt

Solidarity Rock is making some great strides across Western Canada in our lead up to the 5th ever rock n roll tour in Cuba. Our pals, Vancouver’s Vicious Cycles are currently revving their engines getting ready for the ride of their lives.


Last weekend, there was a show at the Palomino room in Calgary where The Mandates collected some donated strings and other pieces pieces and donated their band pay to the Cuban effort. Jimmy Gamble of the Mandates and Knucklehead is coming with us on the road in January. A good friend of the Vicious Cycles, he’s also really excited about establishing a Solidarity Rock presence in that fine city to our south. We are also organizing to set up a regular Solidarity Rock network of musicians and artists in Vancouver, which means we will soon have most of Western Canada’s independent music and art scenes working together to do something special. That’s pretty amazing. (What up Saskatchewan?)

Coming up on Friday, December 16 Solidarity Rock is proud to present three (3) simultaneous events in Vancouver, BC, Edmonton, AB and Sancti Spiritus, Cuba.

VCMC - Dec 16VancouverVicious Cycles Cuba tour kick off at the Media Club, Vancouver, BC – Vicious Cycles, Rich Hope and His Evil Doers & AK-747’s at will be The Media Club rockin in solidarity with their Cuban friends. This will be the big push for Solidarity Rock into Vancouver, and we hope to meet a lot of new people and get Solidarity Rock happening in a big way on Canada’s pacific coast.

Interestingly enough, our friend and AK’s front man Rob Nuclear spent his honeymoon in Cuba and met up with our friends in Sancti Spiritus, Trinidad and Santa Clara. He will be playing with the full knowledge of what it means to the Cuban rock bands that we have been able to support their progress. The VC’s are going, part of the AK’s has been and Rich Hope totally rules. This is exciting.

We have curated a 30 image photography show which features the work of Sandy Phimester (Edmonton, AB), Aaron Bocanegra (Los Angeles, CA), Samuel Calvo (Sancti Spiritus, Cuba) and me, Drew McIntosh (Edmonton, AB). We have compiled this show from our previous journeys to the beautiful island and hope to show you the Cuba we see. With this photographic reflection, we show our work in establishing a vibrant rocknroll culture in a country firmly rooted in tradition. Truly, we are pleased with our collection and we’re sure you will enjoy it as well. In addition to showing the photos, we will be selling prints. Each of the photos on the wall will be for sale. These 12”x18” framed photos will be available for only $60. There will only be one copy of each photo sold at each show, so they are a very limited item, and at $60, they are priced for you to enjoy. We will also have unframed 8x10’s for $20.

The Vicious Cycles (VCMC)
Rich Hope and His Evil Doers

BSCEdmontonDiehatsu Hijets, Book of Caverns, Morals and Camembert At the Baby Seal Club - Our pal Elliott is celebrating his birthday, so he put together a totally killer show which is going down at the Baby Seal Club. Diehatsu Hijets, Book of Caverns, Morals and Camembert will be doing what they do best and creating an evening not to be missed. These are some of Edmonton’s best underground bands in Edmonton’s most legit private members club.

We’re going to be putting up a smaller version of the show on the walls at the BSC, and also projecting hundreds of images from the SLATES, Kids on Fire and Hangloose tours. Again, we will be selling the photos on the wall for $60, as well as selected 8x10 prints for $20. Come check it out.


Sancti Spiritus PosterSancti Spiritus – Our pals Sam Calvo and William Garcia in Sancti Spiritus are putting up their own version of the Solidarity Rock photo show in the AHS gallery. This is a really special event in that we will get the chance to show our work to people who have been involved with it in one way or another since the begining. It’s also a very special because it’s our friend Sam’s first photographic show, and we’re all really happy that we get to be represented there with him on that night. If you’re in any of these cities, come check out our photography and music, and take part in a really great night knowing that there we’re in this together. SOLIDARITY ROCK

Check out some of the images from our photography show.

Vicious Cycles estará de gira por Cuba del 5 al 15 del mes de Enero del 2012 junto al proyecto Solidarity Rock. // Vicious Cycles will be touring Cuba from January 5 to 15, 2012 as part of the Solidarity Rock project. Estas son las fechas y los lugares del tour // These are the dates and venues for the tour:

January 6 - Official welcome to the band Vicious Cycles and Solidarity Rock. Giving the AHS 25 years award at the A.H.S in Sancti Spíritus to Drew McIntosh and Solidarity Rock.

January 7- Sancti Spíritus.

January 8- Trinidad show at the A.H.S.

January 10 - Santa Clara show in El Mejunje. A.H.S TV program ¨ La Casa por la Ventana ¨ Sancti Spíritus in the afternoon.

January 11 - Jatibonico show at the A.H.S. 

January 12 - Cienfuegos show at the A.H.S.

January 13 - Havana show at La Madriguera. A.H.S.

January 14 - Varadero show at Casa de la Cultura.