Orange Goblin drummer not playing US tour due to visa issues; statement posted
As mentioned, UK doom/stoner vets Orange Goblin are about to begin a US tour this week, but in some unfortunate last-minute news, they won't be joined by drummer Chris Turner, who -- despite being a member of the band since day one -- was the only member not able to get a visa issued for this tour. The band were able to find a substitute drummer, Chad Walls, but this is still obviously a pretty major blow. The band issued a statement explaining the very unfortunate situation:
It is with a heavy heart that we have to report that our drummer, and an integral member of the band for 25 years, Chris Turner will not be boarding the plane tomorrow to play the upcoming US tour dates.
Despite starting our visa application process over 3 months ago, despite having one of the top companies put our petition in, despite the endless red tape and hoops we had to jump through we were only given a last minute embassy appointment. At that appointment Chris was told that he would have to provide extra information for ‘Administrative Processing’, this despite having had 6 US working visas previously, as well as a US social security number.
This ‘extra info’ required was 15 years international travel history (every single Orange Goblin show outside the UK plus every single personal and family holiday Chris has taken), 15 years address history, 15 years employment history, all the names and birthdays of his entire family, every phone number and email address he’s used in the last 15 years and all his social media info. Bear in mind Chris has no criminal record (even had a clean driving licence for over 30 years), He is not a member of or affiliated with any political group or organisation and he hasn’t travelled to a blacklisted country.
Chris managed to get all this information emailed over to them within 4 hours of the embassy appointment. Despite this, despite the hard work of our US agent, despite the hard work on Chris’s behalf from our US legal team, despite having a US Senators office supporting his case and contacting the embassy directly, despite all this he still hasn’t had a visa issued and will be unable to travel to the USA, no information has been forthcoming. In fact, as it stands he hasn’t even had his passport returned to him (possibly by next Thursday). He still then wont have a visa and may not ever get a visa.
According to our legal team they’ve seen an increasing amount of these extra info requests since the current administration took over and it’s becoming harder and harder (and more expensive) for touring artists to visit and work in the USA. In this case specifically they can find absolutely no reason why this info was requested of Chris, why the process is taking so long and why there is zero information forthcoming from the embassy/immigration. In their opinion, Chris has just been singled out for reasons or by individuals unknown.
Not only is this a shitty situation for Chris but it’s a terrible one for the band, we’ve already incurred $15-20k costs (visas, flights, accommodation, crew, merch, backline hire etc.) and for the band not to do these shows would bankrupt us – Orange Goblin would cease to exist. Consequently Ben, Martyn and Joe will still be travelling, and have fortunately found a substitute drummer (Mr. Chad Walls) who is learning the set in a few days and will spend all day Monday in a Manhattan rehearsal studio going over the songs ahead of the first show in NYC on Tuesday. It’s not ideal, it’s actually far from ideal for everyone involved but suffice it to say we are all working flat out to make these shows happen.
If you were planning to see Orange Goblin in the USA we need your support now more than ever, come to the shows, show your support to the band, show your support to the substitute drummer, show your support to Chris, buy some merch, drink some beer, and never let the bastards grind ya down…
Chris also issued his own statement, clarifying that he wasn't "denied" a visa, but that being picked out for "Administrative Processing" has delayed the outcome with no guarantee that he will be issued a visa on time. He writes:
Hello everyone - Chris here,
Ben, Martyn & Joe should be somewhere over the Atlantic now on their way to the USA while I'm sat at home typing this. Just a quick follow up from our post yesterday...
Firstly, thanks for the messages of support we've received from around the globe; all greatly appreciated. It's a crappy situation to be stuck in and your support makes the efforts we're taking to sort everything out all the more worthwhile.
Secondly, it's been reported that I've been denied a visa. Not strictly true. My application has been picked out (without explanation) and put into 'Admininistritive Processing', a process which requires a whole load of extra information from me and can take several weeks with no guaranteed outcome and no updates. Technically speaking I may yet receive a visa but not within any useful timescale for our US shows.
Thirdly, the post yesterday wasn't politically motivated. Orange Goblin are not a political band. Whilst we as individuals have our own beliefs and views on the state of things the band is not our platform for them. The only thing we are 'for' is Black Sabbath and Motörhead, we were just highlighting the problems that touring artists as a whole (not just us) are encountering more often when faced with the draconian international work/travel restrictions that are popping up everywhere.
Finally I'd like to ask everyone who has the chance to support the band whilst they're in the US. We welcome everyone at our shows regardless of your political leanings, your race/nationality, the colour of your skin, religious beliefs, your sexual orientation, whatever gender you identify as and whatever dietary choices you make. Just check your attitude and opinons in at the door and have a good time with everyone else...
I'd like to thank Erik & Angela at Tone Deaf Touring, everyone at Covey Law and all at Senator Gillibrands office who worked tirelessly to try to get me on that flight. I'd also like to thank Chad for stepping in last minute to keep the drum stool warm - just don't get too comfy...
Orange Goblin -- 2019 US Tour Dates
08/27 New York, NY – Gramercy Theatre (feat. The Skull)
08/29 Chicago, IL – Thalia Hall (feat. The Skull)
08/39 Cookeville, TN – June Bug Boogie Ranch (‘Muddy Roots Festival‘)
08/31 Dallas, TX – Gas Monkey Bar And Grill (feat. The Skull, Mothership & Wo Fat)
09/01 Austin, TX – Come And Take It Live (feat. The Skull & Mothership)
09/02 Los Angeles, CA – Regent Theatre (feat. Black Cobra)