Barely teenagers, the band Unlocking the Truth have already played the main stage at Coachella, performed at the AFROPUNK festival, played dates with Metallica, Queens of the Stone Age and Guns N’ Roses and performed on the Vans Warped Tour 2014. Guitarist Malcolm Brickhouse (13), drummer Jarad Dawkins (12) and bassist Alec Atkins (13) are a metal trio from Brooklyn, NY that has been steadily building a brand since 2007.
Brickhouse and Dawkins kicked up their public persona a notch in March 2012 when they were finalists in an amateur talent show at Harlem’s Apollo Theater. From there they partnered with friend Alec Atkins and gained exposure when a video of the boys busking
“We’re gonna play metal
because we like it!”
in Times Square got over a million hits on Youtube. Their career got in gear when manager Alan Sacks came aboard. Sacks’ resume includes co-creating ‘70s sitcom Welcome Back Kotter and producing films and television for Disney and the Jonas Brothers. Sacks saw a piece online about three African American kids playing heavy metal music and immediately thought it would make a great television series. He contacted Malcolm’s parents and flew to New York for a meeting with the band.“About two months into my relationship with the boys we got another email to our website from Debby Dill who wanted to set up a showcase,” says Sacks. “When I saw she was working with Jolene Cherry—who just set up a label at Sony—I got actively involved in pushing this.” In short order the band was whisked off to Los Angeles for a showcase at the club Zanzibar in Santa Monica. Cherry was enamored with the band and offered them a multi-album deal that afternoon. What has followed includes production of a documentary on the group as well as a book deal with Penguin Books. Their debut album will be helmed by Grammy-winning producer Johnny K (Sevendust, Disturbed, Megadeth).“I think the press really took to these kids because of their message,” says Sacks. “And their message is ‘we’re gonna do what we wanna do. If you want us to play hip-hop, we’re not gonna play hip-hop. We’ve been listening to metal in wrestling matches and Japanese anime since we were three years old. We’re gonna play metal because we like it!’”– Eric A. Harabadian