JUMPING DARKNESS PARADE: EYAL VS. CUSTOMS OFFICIALS
Wanna know what’s worse than cops that have decided to ruin your day? Customs officials that have decided to make an example out of you.
I’m going to tell you a story of a local band that was trying to do things that local bands don’t usually do, and how we fell flat on our fucking faces! Back when DAATH was an unsigned band, we used to do everything possible to get attention from labels and industry people, so that we could get a deal and get on with it. We used to hand out thousands and thousands of free CDs. I’m talking like 25,000 CD samplers. We would jump on DIY tours with whoever would let us. (Thank you Arsis. Thank you Misery Index.) We tried whatever we could.
Well, in the summer of 2004, we got the idea to do a UK tour. Our friend’s band had done it and it worked out well for them. We just had to come up with the cost of the flights out of our pockets. We wouldn’t make any money out there, but there would be enough money for transportation, food, and lodging. Hey man, that shit sounded GREAT to us! Unsigned band from Atlanta gets to tour the UK? FUCK YEAH!
So we went ahead working with the British “promoter,” who was really just a college student, and got twelve dates booked. We bought our tickets out of pocket, which was painful but ultimately worth it. Everything seemed set to go. I asked the “promoter” about work permits. He said, “Don’t worry about work permits. Just say you’re going there on vacation.” I asked him if he was sure about that. He said “Yes, I’ve done it before. Just say you’re there on vacation visiting friends.”
Okay. Well. When we landed at the Birmingham airport there were two lines. One line for foreigners and one for nationals. Somehow, there were only fifteen people in the foreigners’ line. That meant that we couldn’t spread out. So we came in looking like a band. The first two guys got through because they had short hair. The third couldn’t get his story straight, causing the customs officials to swarm on him like a pack of lions. “Where are you staying? Why do you have all this equipment? Why do you look like a band? What is the name of your band?” Etc., etc., etc.
They put us in a waiting area and there we sat. I remember that waiting area being FUCKING COLD. We were so pissed and let down. We had worked soooo fucking hard and invested so much money into this, and we were watching it get flushed down the toilet. What a horrible feeling, man. It was one of those “Is this actually happening?” moments where you know you’re awake and it’s not a dream, but you just can’t believe that this is happening to you.
I decided to go up to the counter and try to find out what was going on. I have a dual citizenship and am an EU member, so I technically could have passed through. But there’s no way I’d leave the group behind. So I went to the counter and tried talking to them. Right as I did that, some lady came out with our tour poster and told us how these are REPUTABLE clubs and that we will be making serious money. They then told us how they kicked out 50 Cent one week before for improper work papers. I’m sorry, but how is 100 British Pounds a night taking from your economy? If anything, we would have ended up spending money. But that’s neither here nor there.
We started getting the speech about how our government would deal with it if they tried to come over without proper papers, and at that point I knew it was over. They were going to send us home. FUCKING BUMMER. The only cool part was that they let us out of the airport for two days because they couldn’t get us all on a flight any sooner. So we actually played the first show of the tour, which was a lot of fun. Then we went and watched DevilDriver and Lamb of God the next night. We partied with them and they were very sympathetic to our shit-ass situation. Good times were made out of a shitty situation.
Back at the airport, I convinced the authorities to send us to Amsterdam instead of straight back home. Shit, if we weren’t going to tour, we were at least going to have some fun, right? So us and the other band went to Amsterdam for a week. One long lost week… What happened there is the topic of a stoned conversation maybe we can have one day.
Moral of the story? Don’t fuck up. Go with your gut.
If you don’t visit Daath on MySpace, Eyal will have you deported.