Audioslave plan free show in Cuba. In a trip authorized by the U.S. Treasury Department, they'll be the first Yankee rockers to play a free show in Havana


Audioslave may contain three former members of the famously left-leaning band Rage Against the Machine, but don’t think they’ve gone Commie just because they’re playing a free show this weekend in Cuba. For one thing, their trip is sponsored by the U.S. government, specifically the Treasury Department, as part of a musical cultural exchange. Second, it’s a chance for the hard-rocking quartet to make history; Friday night’s show in Havana, for an anticipated audience of 50,000, will make them the first U.S. rock act to play a free outdoor concert in Cuba. Finally, the band says, rock transcends barriers, including political and economic ones.

”Kids are the same all over the world, and we are extremely proud and excited to bring rock and roll to the youth of Cuba,” the band said in a statement. ”It’s all about the music, and free expression of music crosses all barriers. This is a rare opportunity, and we are grateful and honored to have the support of both countries.”

The Cuba trip is part of a mini-tour in support of the band’s second album, Out of Exile, which drops May 24. The musicans tell MTV News that, unlike last time, when they were trying to establish themselves as something other than Rage 2.0 (or Soundgarden 2.0, since their singer is Chris Cornell), they’re happy this time to play old hits from both of their former bands. ”There are very few bands that can, on any given day, walk out on the stage and draw from 10, 11 multiplatinum albums of material to rock their fans’ asses with,” guitarist Tom Morello says. ”But we’re one of those bands.”

If you can’t make it to Cuba or any other stops on the tour, which ends May 20, you can still watch highlights next week on MTV, which has sent its news correspondent John Morris to Havana with the band. The Cuban show is also being filmed for a concert DVD.