Interview: Adam Pasulka
In the early 1980s, Roger Miret helped shape New York hardcore as the frontman of the band Agnostic Front. Thirty years later, the hardcore genre and lifestyle are global phenomena, and Roger is respected as a veteran.
As a Cuban-American, Roger was excited about the opportunity to sit for an interview alongside his mother Alicia (who spoke mostly in Spanish). Roger shed blood, sweat, and tears for everything he’s accomplished, but he also understands how hard his mother worked just to give him the opportunity to excel.
Frank151: When and where were you born, Alicia?
Alicia Gonzalez: I was born in Havana, Cuba, on February 7, 1948.
F151: Roger, when and where were you born?
Roger Miret: I was born on June 30, 1964, in Havana.
F151: When did your family come to the United States?
AG: April 30, 1968.
F151: Who all came with you?
RM: It was my mom—Alicia—myself, my brother Rudy, and my sister Myra.
F151: Alicia, why did you leave Cuba and come to the US?
AG: To give my children a better life.
RM: My uncle Leo was living in New York, in Queens, and he became American because he married an American woman in the ’50s. He claimed us as family, and they let us leave. It took years for all the paperwork to get through. I was the only one who had a passport, of the kids. I was four years old. My brother Rudy and my sister Myra had no passports, but they let them go. It would have taken another two years, all the paperwork.
F151: Did you fly straight from Cuba to New York?
RM: We went to Miami first, and then the same day we went to New York.
F151: Alicia, do you still have family in Cuba?
AG: Yes. I have brothers and sisters.
F151: Is it true that one of your brothers is well known in Cuba?
AG: Yes. He was a model, and my sister was in a film.
RM: My brother Freddy [of Madball] used a picture of my uncle in his clothing line, Familia. There’s a man with two ladies around him, that’s my mother’s brother. I have an aunt who did a movie in Cuba, too.
F151: Alicia, what were some of your favorite things to do in Cuba?
AG: Go to the beach, go to the parks…. Cuba is very pretty.
F151: What do you miss most?
AG: My family.
F151: Have you been back to visit?
AG: Yes, six times.
F151: Is it difficult to travel back?
AG: Before, yes. I couldn’t go for 16 years. But now it’s not difficult.
F151: How did you get there?
AG: Before, you’d go through Mexico or another country, but now you can go direct, from Miami.
F151: How long ago did that change?
AG: Six years ago.
RM: I haven’t been back. I had a Cuban passport till four years ago when I became a citizen of the United States, so I really didn’t want to take any chances going back to Cuba with a Cuban passport, if you know what I mean. I probably could now, but since I became a citizen, I moved to Arizona and I started a family with my wife Emily.
F151: Would you ever want to take your family to visit Cuba?
RM: I would love to. That’s definitely one of my dreams. I want to go back and just walk the earth where I started.
My earliest memories are of Cuba. I remember being on the beach. It was a rocky beach, there was a really tall lighthouse there, and I remember being there with my father. I remember being at home with my dog. I remember being on the balcony of my house.
To read the whole article, cop Chapter 42: Cuba.