After months of hanging around Istanbul, waiting in endless lines and worrying about having to return to Iraq, our friends, musicians and stars of the documentary Heavy Metal in Baghdad have left the building. All four members of Acrassicauda, Baghdad's only heavy metal band, have arrived in metal heaven -- Elizabeth, New Jersey. They received refugee status from the US and will be eligible to apply for green cards in a few years.
Here's how we met the band and although we haven't provided many updates lately, this is where they were a year ago.
Since arriving in the US, they've attended their second heavy metal show (the first was Testament, in Turkey) and met Metallica's guitarist backstage (in the photo), who gave them one of his guitars. That's already a big improvement over playing to Turkish biker gangs and unappreciative drunk yabancis in Kemanci.
There were lots of times when the bureaucratic obstacles seemed insurmountable and the money impossible to find. It's also easy to imagine the problems that lie ahead. But these boys have balls the size of cantaloupes, proven perseverance, charm, wit and despite everything, phenomenal luck. They're gonna do just fine and we admire them tremendously.
Marwan, Faisal, Tony and Firas -- maşallah from İstanbul! We wish you the best and expect you to play Meadowlands someday.