According to the New York Daily News, UNLOCKING THE TRUTH — the heavy metal band from Flatbush, Brooklyn made up of three African American boys, 13-year-old guitarist Malcolm Brickhouse, 13-year-old bassist Alec Atkins and 12-year-old drummer Jarad Dawkins — has inked a guaranteed two-album deal with Sony. The group will reportedly receive $60,000 to record the first disc and possibly as much as $325,000 for the second CD. Sony also has an option to release four more albums from UNLOCKING THE TRUTH that could push the label's financial investment to around $1.7 million ($325,000 for the second album, $400,000 for the third, $450,000 for the fourth and $550,000 for the fifth). It should be noted, however, that the band will only see the real money after an initial $60,000 advance if their debut album sells more than 250,000 copies, a prospect that seems highly unlikely in an age of diminishing record sales.
Commenting on news reports that UNLOCKING THE TRUTH landed a "$1.7 million-dollar deal with Sony," TRIVIUM bassist Paolo Gregoletto wrote on Facebook: "The young kids that were signed got a $60,000 recording budget for their first album and have to sell 250,000 copies to receive royalties. That isn't a 1.7 million-dollar recording deal. I hope that they got a good lawyer and someone looking out for them."
UNLOCKING THE TRUTH, which is now managed by "Welcome Back, Kotter" co-creator Alan Sacks, has already played the Coachella festival and has supported GUNS N' ROSES. In addition, the band has appeared in a national ad campaign for Verizon Wireless.
"It's so exciting. We're jumping over the moon," says Jarad's mother, Tabatha Dawkins. "What started out as play dates went to Times Square and now this. It's been one great thing after another."
An UNLOCKING THE TRUTH book about the band's rise to success will be released by Penguin around Christmas, and a documentary about the group's experiences is also in the works.
Derrick Green from SEPULTURA told SPIN magazine last year that he found UNLOCKING THE TRUTH on a blog and felt an immediate sense of connection. "When I was growing up, there weren't a lot of black kids listening to metal music or hardcore music," he said. "I would get harassed by other black people and questioned all the time about why I liked this style of music and why was I trying to be white. I was told that black people didn't listen to this style of music. Even back then, it sounded just as ignorant as it does now. I didn't hate them for their stupidity, but it only pushed me to be where I'm at today." Of UNLOCKING THE TRUTH's potential to be a mainstream success, Green said: "Kids can do anything. If they believe in something strong enough and have the passion and drive, yes."
UNLOCKING THE TRUTH credits bands such as METALLICA, SLIPKNOT, DISTURBED, CHELSEA GRIN, MOTIONLESS IN WHITE and ESCAPE THE FATE as its influences.