Acrassicauda is an Iraqi heavy-metal band — though its members live in a one-bedroom apartment in Elizabeth, N.J. Despite their humble quarters, the band is happy to be together: When they were still based in Iraq, their practice space was bombed and they received death threats. The band first gained widespread notice in a 2007 documentary, Suroosh Alvi’s Heavy Metal in Baghdad, which followed the band in the days after the fall of Saddam Hussein. Initially hopeful, the band members watched their country crumble around them. Two years of exile in Syria and Turkey followed before the men were able to settle in the United States. Now reunited, Acrassicauda is again receiving attention. Recently, band members were VIP guests backstage at a Metallica concert, and after years of dealing with immigration bureaucracy, they’re looking forward to having more time to practice. Lead singer Faisal Talal and drummer Marwan Riyadh and director Suroosh Alvi join Fresh Air to discuss Heavy Metal in Baghdad. The film airs on the Sundance Channel March 19.
Former State Senator Vince Fumo was convicted of more than 130 counts of corruption. Former aide Ruth Arnao was found guilty of 45 counts as well, including fraud. We discuss the trial and verdict with CRAIG MCCOY, Staff writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer and EDWARD OHLBAUM, Professor of Law at Temple University. Listen to the mp3
AIG has received more than 170 billion dollars in bail out money and is planning on handing out 165 million dollars in bonuses to executives, including those at a department responsible for the company’s near collapse. We get reaction to this news from DANIEL GROSS, Moneybox columnist for Slate and the business columnist for Newsweek. He has a new book out called “Dumb Money: How Our Greatest Financial Minds Bankrupted the Nation.” And MICHAEL KAZIN, Professor of history at Georgetown University. His most recent book is “A Godly Hero: The Life of William Jennings Bryant.” Listen to the mp3
As a child, Benjy Ferree dreamed of becoming an actor. After discovering his love of music, he moved to Washington, D.C., and began playing gigs at local clubs. Before long, Feree’s vintage Americana music had caught the eye of a label, which put out Leaving the Nest, a folksy, acoustic and blues-filled album that won Ferree many new fans. Ferree’s new follow-up, Come Back to the Five and Dime Bobby Dee, Bobby Dee, tells the tragic story of Disney actor Bobby Driscoll in song. Though he sticks to Americana, Ferree adds interesting touches of Britpop and ’50s doo-wop while maintaining his idiosyncratic, crooning vocal style.
BENJY FERREE: Fear