Back at the end of July, the Canadian government quietly enacted a piece of legislative shit that, essentially overnight, made it exponentially (and in most cases, prohibitively) more expensive for bands to tour our country. Basically, where once a band consisting of anywhere between three and fourteen members would have had to collectively pay $450 for permits to play in Canada, now bands are being hosed for a $425 per person application/processing fee with no guarantee of entry and no refund of that money if entry is denied. Now, there are a shit ton of loopholes and complications that can make this bullshit cash-grab and “protection of Canadian jobs” non-applicable: membership in the American Federation of Musicians; the type of venue you’re playing (there are lists of venues across the country that are considered exempt from LMO (Labour Market Opinion) fees and even work permits; whether you’re doing a tour or a one-off; how extensive that tour is, and so on and so forth. For a spelling out of most of the details, check out this.
Anyway, this coming Thursday is the first night of a month-long cross Canada run featuring Winnipeg’s KEN Mode with Maryland’s Full of Hell in the direct support spot. A few weeks ago, this package was in jeopardy when it was looking like the Full of Hell boys were going to protect their bank accounts instead of worrying about playing for a bunch of yahoos more concerned about this sort of bullshit happening on the first night of the 2013 season than anything else.
But as FoH’s Dylan Walker explains below, the band is going to bite the bullet, solider forward and the allow the show to go on as planned. They do have some new merch available to help offset the costs of simply doing this tour, so check it out here. This tour should be a good one for a variety of reasons including it being KEN Mode’s first cross country jaunt since the release of Entrench earlier this year and I also believe it’s going to be their first national tour since winning the inaugural Best Metal Album JUNO award for Venerable a year or two back. As well, it’ll be the first time Full of Hell gets to roam across the “entire” country (my heartfelt apologies to those in Newfoundland, P.E.I. and the territories. The band’s booking agent may have forgotten about you, but I haven’t) and compare which drives between which cities are the most boring. As well, yours truly will be slinging merch for KEN Mode, so come on up and say “hey” and feel free to give me shit about anything I’ve ever written.
There’s been a whole to-do in Canada about the changes to work permit regulations. What were your thoughts when you heard about it and did you think you were going to have to drop off the run?
Dylan Walker: Well, my initial thought was that it wasn’t real. A lot of what I tend to read on the internet through third party news sources is usually complete shit. I was really surprised that the new regulations had been passed without any real notice given to local business owners or anything. In fact, from what I heard, it was huge news for everyone involved when bands started having problems at the border in the months following it’s passing. It seems like this is negatively affecting everyone, and it’s a shame that it’s harder to get into Canada than Croatia. The worst part was that in the past, we played venues that were always exempt from these regulations. That made it a little sketchier to get across the border, even with an invitation, but it was cost-free. Unfortunately though, this tour was booked in almost all non-exempt venues. The costs involved here were going to make us drop the tour. We had every intention of doing so until the promoters came up with a really cool and generous solution.
I heard your agent pulled some strings in order to avoid the extra fees and allow you to do this tour. What did (s)he do?
We actually aren’t avoiding the extra fees. We have to pay a pretty giant application fee, along with the normal fees that come along with the work licenses when we get to the border. Promoters at a few of the shows are doing their best to help us combat some of the fees, but it’s very expensive.
Have you ever been to/played in Canada before? What do you know about our home and native land and what are you expecting or wanting to do, if anything?
Full of Hell has been to eastern Canada several times. The first time we came with a band called Vestiges from Washington, the second time with Code Orange Kids from Pittsburgh and the third and final time with Gaza (RIP) and Code Orange Kids. This will be our first time in the central and western provinces. I can’t say that I know a whole lot outside of the ordinary. I do know a little bit of your national anthem, I know that I like poutine and I know that you can get a McRib in Quebec. When we come up, I just want to see a lot of wilderness, avoid the snow and play to new people in new areas of the world.
(McRib? He’s gonna shit when he sees McLobster’s when he gets to the Maritime provinces…)