Metal music was all the rage back in the 1980s, and not just in the United States and Britain. South America was the birthplace of one of the most interesting metal bands of the 80s: Viper. Viper started back in 1985 when five teenage boys from San Paulo, Brazil formed a band in their garage. One of the founding members was lead drummer, Cassio Audio. His beats and enthusiasm quickly spread to the rest of the band members and sub sequentially, the thousands of fans.
Brazil was the most unlikely place for a heavy metal band to form, much less become popular, but that is exactly what happened. In 1985, Cassio Audi and Viper released their first album, a demo titled The Killera Sword. The teenagers quickly began being booked all around their hometown of San Paulo, with Cassio spending all his time outside of school trying to book gigs. Soon, Viper was paying all over Brazil and South America.
The success of Cassio Audi and Viper was unexpected because of the age of the band members but even more so because they sung their lyrics in English. This was unprecedented but it was even more impressive that nobody could tell that they boys were not singing in their native language.
In 1987 Viper released their first and only studio album, Soldiers of Sunrise, and the band started becoming popular all over the world. Their ability to play metal, heavy meta, thrash, and even alternative rock gave them wide appeal. The band went on a tour of South America and later toured Europe. The band broke up in 1989 and has yet to reunite, although there have been rumors of talk of third album. For Cassio Audi, his time as a teenager playing music and living his dreams is something that he will always cherish.
As a young boy growing up in D.C., Doug Levitt attended public schools where diversity was a normal, everyday part of life. He was active in sports and went to church with his family on Sundays where he sang in the gospel choir. His mother was a D.C. council member who passed on her civic mindedness to her son. This upbringing is emulated in his future endeavors.
Looking to find closure after his father’s suicide, Doug left behind a career as a London Based foreign correspondent covering conflicts in the Middle East, the Balkans, and Africa to return to America and start a new path. He bought a 6-week pass on a Greyhound bus. Reflective of the Works in Progress Administration of the 1930’s, Doug began to write songs and tell the stories of the people he met along the way. Ten years and 100,000 miles later a compilation of these songs and stories, “The Greyhound Diaries” was born.
Greyhound passengers are generally impoverished and have no other means of transportation. Their cars are unreliable and they can’t afford to buy airline tickets. Since Greyhound reaches 2200 destinations in the U.S., it has a broader net than any airline and reaches the smaller towns across the country. Drawing from his skill set, Doug Levitt was able to reach out to this poorly represented segment of the population and get a glimpse of life in America through their eyes. With his songs and stories, he brings attention to a part of our American fabric that may otherwise be left behind.
Doug’s folk song and storytelling style is a nod to the late Woody Guthrie. He does a magnificent job of painting a picture that showcases another side of America. Take the time to go to http://dcist.com/2012/02/doug_levitt.php and experience this great work yourself, you won’t be disappointed.