BENEDICTION bassist Frank Healy has released the following statement to BLABBERMOUTH.NET regarding the cancellation of the British band's previously announced U.S. tour:
"In response to some of the comments on Blabbermouth concerning this matter, we will clear it up now so as to stop speculation as to why we have had to pull the tour. The reason is simple: working visas.
"In the current political climate in the USA, because of past events (no need to be pointed out), the government there (and who can blame them for this) have become extremely strict over matters of immigration/visas. We do, however, feel that in our case things might be a bit of overkill. To get working visas you have to prove that you are in fact a band (well, we did play the USA as a band in 1994!). This involves sending at least 30 pages of press, recording contracts, album sales figures, album releases, etc. OK, no problem there. Then onto individual people: 'Have you in the last 20 years been arrested for any reason (even if you were not charged with the offence in the end)?' This includes non/late payment of fines, drunk in public etc. 'Have you in the last 20 years appeared in court (even if you were found not guilty of any felony)? This can include disputing parking fines, marital matters. Well, you will be incredibly surprised to know that some of us have!!! The exact reasons for refusal of entry are very minor and revolve around those reasons stated above.
"We will do our best to get over there somehow. The sales were good at such an early stage (the promoters' and venues' words, not ours). But what do you do? I'm sure we will find a way to get there in the end but it takes about three months at the moment to sort work visas out with no problems at all, never mind being drunk or not paying a parking fine more than 15 years ago!!!
"As a footnote, Nick Barker [former CRADLE OF FILTH/DIMMU BORGIR and current TESTAMENT drummer] was going to be drumming on the tour.
"Many apologies to all the good people who were going to go to any of these shows. Like us or not, we will get there in the end. Money is not an issue in this matter either. The finance was in place, the advance sales were good, the other bands for the tour were booked, the travel and accomodation were sorted. We just aren't allowed in at the moment!!!"
BENEDICTION's new album, "Killing Music", is tentatively scheduled to be released later in the year via Nuclear Blast Records.