Breaking Artist: Black Tide

April 30, 2008 5:43 PM ET

Who: Miami's Black Tide, a foursome of headbanging, Iron Maiden-loving underagers led by 15-year-old metal prodigy Gabriel Garcia.

Sounds Like: Everything you love about Eighties metal gods like Judas Priest and Guns n' Roses without all the irony. In a town dominated by rap and reggaeton, Black Tide began making their mark with blistering all-ages shows, eventually grabbing the attention of major labels like Interscope, who released the band's debut Light From Above.

Vital Stats:

• For the band, school's out. "Fuck school. I was a really bad student, dude," says Garcia. Drummer Steven Spence adds, "Well, it's hard to keep your motivation when you're in seventh grade and you have a record deal." However, Garcia credits his poor grades to a love of marijuana.

• Obviously, releasing an album on a major label will boost your fanbase. "The day the record came out in March, we were playing to 30 kids," says guitarist Lexx Nunez. "The next day, we played to 300." Their MySpace page can look forward to a lot more friends as the band will join Disturbed, Mastodon and Slipknot on this year's traveling Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival.

• Despite being under legal age, the band has developed a love of booze and strip clubs. "We see the world, and people give us free alcohol sometimes," says bassist Zakk Sandler. "We're not on the fuckin' Disney Channel," adds Nunez.

Hear It Now: Light From Above is in stores now, and first single "Shockwave" is thundering its way onto the radio (but not Radio Disney, obviously.) Click above to see a special behind-the-scenes video on the making of the clip for "Shockwave."

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

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