Swedish "progressive power metal" band EVERGREY have been forced to look for a new producer to man the knobs during the recording sessions for their upcoming fourth full-length album after US immigration-related issues prevented original choice, British-born Neil Kernon (i.e. CANNIBAL CORPSE, NEVERMORE, QUEENSRŸCHE), from travelling abroad at this time.
Here is Kernon's official statement on the matter:
"I sadly regret that I have to announce that I am unable to produce the new EVERGREY album. The reasons are as follows:
"Back in mid-January, when I returned from my Christmas vacation in Asia, I re-entered the US in San Francisco. In immigration, the agent I had the dubious privilege to encounter was obviously not having a good day, and while examining my papers decided to void out my Green Card (that I've had since 1986) as it was slightly frayed along the top edge, the edge that is most exposed in a typical wallet. Granted, it WAS in need of attention, which I assured him I would take care of...however, he appeared to not take my assurances seriously and decided to void the card out with a ballpoint pen, and also stamped an advisory notice in my passport telling me I had to renew the card immediately.
"So, in early February, I went to the Chicago office of the INS, filled out the form, paid my money, and since then have been patiently waiting for my replacement Green Card. I've been told many times that all INS business is very slow due to September 11th. Also, early in the year visas were approved for some of the terrorists that flew the planes...since that time all INS - related business has apparently ground almost to a halt. I've called them repeatedly about this, but so far my case is not even on the INS radar...
"This is so upsetting to me, and I have been in touch on a week by week basis with Tom from EVERGREY. He has been sympathetic, for which I thank him so much. However, this is a situation I have absolutely no control over, and therefore today, after receiving an email from EVERGREY's manager in Sweden asking for an update, I had to tell them all I am still unable to leave the US. They obviously need to make other arrangements to make their new album, so it is not fair to keep the process on hold just on the off-chance that I might get my new card in the mail. Incidentally, I have sadly had to cancel or reject 3 other project offers I have had from Europe during this same time period. Not only is this an inconvenience to everyone, it is also a severe drain on my potential income, as one might imagine. On top of that, I am unable to even go home to see my family. It's a messed up situation, but typical of the INS bureaucracy. It took me 5 years to get my original Green Card (1981-1986), so this is nothing compared to that situation...
"So, it is with a heavy heart that I have to announce this sad news. I know that not all of you were terribly enthusiastic about this collaboration, but I was so looking forward to having the opportunity to work with EVERGREY, who I think are a great band. I honestly feel that I could do a great job with them. I hope that I have an opportunity to work with them in the future. However, this situation might well have left a bad taste in their mouths, for which I humbly apologize. Sadly. this situation has been 100% out of my control.
"I wish them all the luck in the world with the new album."
As previously reported, EVERGREY are tentatively scheduled to begin recording the album, tentatively titled Recreation Day, in mid-September for an early 2003 release through Inside Out Music. A replacement producer has yet to be announced.