Mongrel, the genre-smashing U.K. act led by Reverend & the Makers vocalist Jon McClure, will travel to Venezuela in April to record their second album as official guests of president Hugo Chavez.

McClure tells Bilboard.biz that he first came to the attention of the Venezuelan authorities when he turned down the chance to appear on the David Letterman show with his band Reverend & the Makers last year. The outspoken singer made the decision to perform in Lebanon instead, although he subsequently had to abandon the trip due to safety concerns.

Mongrel was formed in 2008 by McClure alongside former Arctic Monkeys bassist Andy Nicholson, Babyshambles guitarist Drew McConnell and U.K. rapper Lowkey. Approximately 400,000 copies of its debut album "Better Than Heavy" were distributed as a free cover mount with the March 7 edition of British newspaper the Independent. The band released a double CD version via independent label Wall Of Sound this week (March 23).

"We're going to go out there [Venezuela] and launch a musical program, meet [Hugo Chavez] and go on his TV show ["Alo, Presidente"]," McClure tells Billboard.biz. "[Senegalese artist] Baaba Maal is going to come out there hopefully and also Jaz Coleman from [post-punk act] Killing Joke who is a friend of mine."

In addition to Baaba Maal and Jaz Coleman, McClure and his management identified Carl Barat (Libertines, Dirty Pretty Things) and Damian Marley among the guest musicians that will possibly travel to Venezuela, schedules permitting, and feature on the as-yet-untitled album.

"I've got this mad sketch of mixing Venezuelan folk and Jamaican reggae and a few other little things to make it interesting. I can't wait to do it," says McClure. "I don't know if he's [Hugo Chavez] going to fund it but we're certainly going to be out there as guests of the Venezuelan Government. It's going to feature me, Carl Barat, Baaba Maal, Hugo Chavez, Damian Marley."

According to McClure, the band will ship 100,000 copies of its debut "Better Than Heavy" with them to Venezuela to be distributed free throughout the country.

"We've never really been interested in this being a big money making thing," commented David Bianchi of London-based Grand Union Management, who represents both Mongrel and Reverend & The Makers. "We just want to make interesting music and make as many people hear it as humanly possible."

He added: "The next Mongrel album won't sound anything like this one. This album is a U.K. MC record. The next one will be a Venezuelan/Afrobeat album. There's talk of the third one being a Russian punk album.

"The next time may be a deal with a mobile content provider. We're pretty intent on giving the music away on this project all the way through. We just want to always find a relevant vehicle."

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