Wednesday, June 20, 2007

visa woes, extortion by unions, and more

i'm sooo frustrated! by my honesty, by the US visa red-tape bs, by 9-11 "security" measures, by the musicians unions, by the rich, by all of this!

so this is shaping up to be a nice rant. i thought we had a nice little thing going. ran into a friend from south africa when we were in amsterdam. we have a nice little tour going on this summer with hip hop artists from all over the place who are all based in the us. so we threw this guy on the bill. it was going to be a nice extra flavor, a chance to get him some publicity, some love in the us, to open up some new markets for all of us. this tour, however, was already at the break-even point, in that we're doing this for promo, not for cash. so bringing someone else on was additional weight without immediate financial return.

anyway, i write a nice little letter to this guy and his management team. invite dude to come over and be part of this promo tour. this letter is also to help get him into the country. but i forgot one thing. i forgot i live in the USA. and that we don't like people coming into our country to share culture. that if you want to come into the USA and perform music, you have to pay $190 (going up to $260 or something ridiculous in July) for the visa, PLUS you have to pay a damn union $250 to tell you that you're not taking some american's job, and if you want an answer before 45 days, you have to pay a $1000 expediting fee. then they'll get you an answer in 15 days. otherwise, due to 9-11 back-ups, general gutting of our federal government by bush and his cronies, you won't get an answer for months, literally. meaning i'm SOL. meaning my friend is SOL. (shit-out-of-luck if you want the full version)

now, if i had just said - dude, come visit me! it would all be cool. he could jump on stage, do his thing, and have a great time. we'd have all been cool. but no, i had to be honest. and now, to double my frustration, i'm pissed at the unions! now, you may know that i ORGANIZED unions for 3 years! so i'm down with solidarity, the unions, and all that. i'd be happy to be paying dues right now if i had any job where i had co-workers and a boss that wasn't me. but this is BS. straight-up. the unions have ZERO influence in the music industry, especially the underground, new artist side of things. now, if there was an artist union here that would provide me and my artists with benefits, reduced health care, access to resources and all that, i'd be a happy camper. but if all this union does for my scene is charge me to bring in foreign artists, then fuck 'em. i'm not sure if they've looked out at the scene lately, but if you're playing a club, you're happy to get $75 and a pitcher for the whole band. more often, it's pay to play. or rent a VFW, take the door, dodge the cops, the city, and ASCAP, RIAA, BMI and the rest of the mob.


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