The U.S. visa system just gets more and more complicated. We are constantly learning of bands having to cancel their tours at the last minute because after months of trying and thousands of dollars spent, their visas were denied. For The Agonist's Chris Kells, turns it out that another non-metal gig that required him to travel to the States led to him being banned for five years from entering the country.
Kells noted that him sitting out The Agonist's upcoming tour is “a result of misguided information given to me, and the CBP [U.S. border control], by my EMPLOYER, at the time of entry,” although does not clarify what exactly that means. Could it be that Kells did not properly declare a piece of equipment or pay a proper tax on importing or exporting something? That's just speculation on my part.
Here is Kells' full statement. Pavlo Haikalis, a longtime collaborator of the band, will be taking over duties for this tour. Dates below.
“Friends, it comes with great disappointment and frustration to announce that I will not be on the 70k of metal cruise, or the upcoming Fleshgod Apocalypse tour this March with The Agonist.
“This comes as a result not of choice but because of US border regulations.
“As some of you already know I work in video production while being home from tour. The corporate video company I work for here in Montreal had me go to the states a couple of times to perform interviews and get video footage of the clients who we were working with.
“Unfortunately, the last time I went to cross into the USA, a CBP (border control) officer deemed me inadmissible and banned me from entering America for 5 years. This was a result of misguided information given to me, and the CBP, by my EMPLOYER, at the time of entry. This essentially led to me being cornered by officers, and forced to sign documents acknowledging my apparent misconduct. (This evidently has nothing to do with playing awesome music for people in our beautiful neighbour country) Sadly I have applied for a waiver from these ridiculous charges but have still been denied entry regardless.
“It has been an extremely aggravating year trying to get all this figured out with Immigration lawyers and has caused me great mental distress, as playing shows with my friends in The Agonist is one of my most cherished experiences of life. I am left at a loss and have no further options but to seek a temporary replacement for all US related shows!
“That being said, I would like to take the time to introduce you all to a great friend of mine, Pavlo Haikalis, who will be filling in for me. Pavlo has always been there on the sidelines for The Agonist. Helping out with gear, pre production process, building my custom PHG basses for me, and just all around being the great dude that he is. Please welcome him with open arms and horns up! I can’t imagine anybody else to better kick ass for me in this trying time.”
Here are the dates for The Agonist opening for Fleshgod Apocalypse:
03/16 Dallas, TX – House of Blues [Tickets]
03/17 Austin, TX – Emo’s [Tickets]
03/19 Atlanta, GA – Buckhead Theatre [Tickets]
03/20 Baltimore, MD – Baltimore Soundstage [Tickets]
03/21 Philadelphia, PA – Theatre of Living Arts [Tickets]
03/22 Brooklyn, NY – The Warsaw [Tickets]
03/23 Quebec City, QC – Le D’Auteuil [Tickets]
03/24 Montreal, QC – Theatre Corona [Tickets]
03/25 Toronto, ON – Phoenix, Concert Theatre [Tickets]
03/26 Cleveland, OH – House of Blues [Tickets]
03/27 Chicago, IL – House of Blues [Tickets]
03/28 Lincoln, NE – The Royal Grove [Tickets]
03/29 Denver, CO – Summit Music Hall [Tickets]
03/31 Vancouver, BC – Rickshaw Theatre [Tickets]
04/01 Seattle, WA – El Corazon [Tickets]
04/02 Portland, OR – Crystal Ballroom [Tickets]
04/04 San Diego, CA – Observatory North Park [Tickets]
04/05 Mesa, AZ – Club Red [Tickets]
04/06 Los Angeles, CA – The Regent Theater [Tickets]