Rock band Nuclear Valdez was formed in Miami in 1985 by singer/guitarist Froilan Sossa (aka Fro Sosa) and bassist Juan Diaz. They gigged around building a grassroots following and linking up with lead guitarist Jorge Barcala and drummer Robert Slade LeMont. Contrary to a common assumption, their moniker had nothing to do with the Exxon oil tanker disaster, but was simply a joking nickname for a former coworker of Diaz’s with an explosive temper. The band signed with Epic Records at the end of the ’80s and released their debut I Am I in July 1989. I Am I’s ringing guitars and earnest political themes quickly linked them with socially conscious rockers like the Alarm, with whom they would soon split a stage on an early episode of MTV Unplugged. Lead single “Summer,” a soaring commentary on the Cuban revolution of 1959 (Diaz, Barcala, and LeMont are all Cuban-American), received substantial MTV airplay but was not a chart success.

Their follow-up, 1991’s Dream Another Dream, was far more complicated in structure, drawing on the band’s Latin roots; the shift in style failed to click with U.S. fans and the group went on an extended hiatus. At the end of the ’90s they began writing together, and in 2000, with Dan Ceratelli taking over Barcala’s guitar duties, they began recording the tracks that would become their 2002 indie label release In a Minute All Could Change.

Artist Biography by Joseph McCombs