In this Crazy Tour Stories segment, the alternative band, Bizou, gives the details of one of their crazy stories from touring. You can check out the story and stream their newest single, “Call Of The Wild”, after the break.
Nicki and I (Josiah) were on our first European tour together in our previous band Light FM. We toured Germany, Denmark, and had one show in London that we almost didn’t get to play.
We were flying from Germany to London and arrived at the Stansted airport. When we went through customs, they immediately saw our guitars and started asking us about them. “Why are you here”? They asked. I said, “to play a show”. Apparently, this is the wrong thing to say unless you had previously gotten a visa or a “Certificate of sponsorship”.
They immediately pulled myself and Nicki aside and we were then escorted by Customs officers to be questioned in separate rooms.
They took our phones, passports, instruments, and money and brought us into another room. It had a bench and a television and some really nasty food. I thought it would be a great idea to partake in some veggie chili and a couple of cheese sandwiches. Thank god the room also had a bathroom. Poor Nicki.
This is where we would stay for the next 13 hours. We were basically in airport jail. This is the same place they take suspicious characters, terrorists, etc. They treated us as such.
We were allowed to make phone calls on the pay phone and called a record label manager who said he could get a booking agent to fax a letter over to allow us to play the show that night. It’d cost us each 150 pounds. We didn’t care. We had to get out of there.
In order to get the certificate that would free us from airport jail, they had to have our passport numbers. Our passports had been confiscated and the guard on duty would not let us get the numbers of our passports. He wouldn’t even acknowledge us. We had to yell at him but he still would not respond. He seemed to almost enjoy not letting us get out of there. He had an evil smirk.
We eventually got our certificate faxed over fifteen minutes before we were to be deported back to Germany (Thank you Lojinx records!!!) and were allowed to play our show but, not before having our fingers and hands inked and a big entry denied stamp on our passports – which will probably affect our travels to London for the rest of our lives!
We were so tired and hating on the UK so much but we managed to perform the show. There were about 10 people in the audience and it didn’t seem worth all that trouble but it made for one damn good tour story.
Here’s a story from Erin Tidwell, our drummer:
My previous band was on our way to play a Subpop show in NY at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. It was the dead of winter. Driving through Illinois during a blizzard, we hit black ice and flew off the highway, into a ravine, and crashed through a fence. All the windows ripped out and my drums were in a tree! Thank god everyone was ok. Magically, we still made it to the show and got to hang out with Sonic Youth!