Anne Sutherland of The Montreal Gazette reports that a criminal record can give you street cred in the punk-music business, but it's also enough to get you turned back at the border.
That's what happened when customs officials refused entry to seven members of two punk groups expected to play the Medley Tuesday night.
"Two vehicles carrying 11 people arrived at the Lacolle border crossing at 7 p.m. Tuesday," Robert Gervais of Citizenship and Immigration Canada said.
"Customs officers referred these individuals to immigration services, and in the course of interviews (it was discovered that) three of the people had serious criminal files and four others gave false information. Seven of the 11 were refused entry, and the other four decided to return to the U.S. as well."
He defined "serious criminal files" as acts that would be punishable with jail terms of 10 years or more had the crimes been committed in Canada.
The two bands — Britain's THE EXPLOITED and California's TOTAL CHAOS — were en route to Montreal from a gig in Providence, R.I. "We started to be worried about where the band was at 5 o'clock (Tuesday)," Medley owner Paul Matte said. "We got definitive confirmation from Immigration Canada at 7:15 p.m. They said the bands wouldn't be able to cross the border.
"(Immigration Canada) was not allowed to tell us why, but they told us it was a good enough reason to not let them in, even if we told them it was not a good idea for us to cancel the show.
"They didn't really care." Read more.