Why the Handsome Furs Couldn’t Get Into the U.S.


If you’ve been using something other than the Voice as your San Loco placemat (try holding the Onion on that burrito, friend), you probably missed a rather snifferific piece in last week’s paper that explained why your favorite Canucks keep canceling their U.S. tours. Personally, I always suspected “VISA problems” was to “creative differences” as “prior convictions” was to “We hate each others’ fucking guts,” but apparently that’s not so.

Handsome Furs, “What We Had” (MP3)
From Plague Park (Sub Pop)
Sunset Rubdown, “Stadiums and Shrines II” (MP3)
From Shut Up I Am Dreaming (Absolutely Kosher)

Turns out it’s not only criminal records or naming yourself after a scary epidemic—A.I.D.S. Wolf, what were you thinking?—that stops you from touring the States. In a post-9/11 world, the U.S. government’s actually pretty nit-picky about these sorts of territorial things (yes, really). For one, the US doesn’t want to outsource its rock-club jobs to a pile of dirty foreign maple leaves. Also, the necessary lead time on the standard-application pay-for-play visa is decidedly not rock-and-roll—four months in advance. Third, a big problem for lesser-known bands is that you have to prove you’re established via press clippings; Internet love to a Customs official is tantamount to a note from yr mom:

“When you apply for your P-1 visa, if you don’t have hard press, you can spend a shit-ton of money and still get denied,” explains Dan Boeckner of Wolf Parade and Handsome Furs, the latter an upstart Sub Pop duo that recently scrapped a U.S. tour after visa difficulties. “They don’t take Internet press seriously—you have to send them a magazine they’ve heard of, like Spin or Rolling Stone.”

Anyway, the piece is worth a read, if only because it’s a reminder that the Handsome Furs are finally headlining the Mercury three weeks from today. That and a couple of other Wolf Parade-associated dates right here before your eyes:

Handsome Furs
Tues, 08/07/07 @ Mercury Lounge
Wolf Parade
Sun, 08/19/07@ Warsaw [SOLD OUT]
Sunset Rubdown
Mon, 10/08/07 @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
Tue, 10/09/07 @ Bowery Ballroom