Rotting Christ Cancels Psycho Las Vegas and California Shows: A Different Perspective
On the 9th of August, Psycho Las Vegas announced that Greek Black Metal veterans Rotting Christ would be cancelling their appearance at one of the biggest Summer metal music festivals in the US. The event organizers prepared a statement firing shots at the band and their management:
Psychos, we regret to inform you that Rotting Christ has decided to cancel their appearance at Psycho Las Vegas and their subsequent shows in Los Angeles and San Diego. Although there will inevitably be a statement on behalf of the band at some point soon, it's important that you know that this was not a case of Immigration stalling or denying their visas, which is far too often used as an excuse––instead, this cancellation is due to procrastination and poor planning by the band's label and petitioner.
Rotting Christ was confirmed for Psycho Las Vegas at the beginning of 2019 and announced on the festival in February, with the two additional shows announced in May. Since the visa process has only proven to be more difficult in recent years, we offer the option for all bands playing the festival to let Psycho handle their visas––in fact, this year alone we've secured visas for Lucifer, Mork, Arthur Brown, Truckfighters and many of the international acts on the festival with our own in-house team. Rotting Christ declined our offer and ignored our emails in May and July which requested an update on their application process (if the application was in transit, there would be several options for speeding up the process with a 6-week buffer). Instead, their record label and petitioner chose to wait until July 18th to submit their visa application, and didn't inform Psycho of this until July 30th. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the visa process, it is close to impossible to secure a working visa in four weeks, and without expedition, visas can take anywhere from 90-days to 7-months to obtain. Applying one-month out was a completely pointless gesture.
Over the past week, we have urged the band and their label to file for expedited processing, which would be the only way to get the visas granted within this short time frame (only the petitioner can file this, otherwise we would have done it ourselves). When the label refused, we offered to pay the processing fee out of our own pocket, and they have since ignored our phone calls and emails––as of today, it is simply too late to proceed. We fought as hard as we could to make this happen, but their label made a business decision to skip Psycho and that fucking sucks for all of us.
This entire situation was completely avoidable, and we're sorry that those involved with the band in this matter didn't care enough about the festival and its fans to try to make this work.
The next day, the Rotting Christ released their own statement in regards to the cancellation:
The band’s management and label, Season Of Mist, were not as friendly as founder Michael Berberbian fired shots back at the Psycho Las Vegas event organizers as well as the metal music “dirtsheet” websites, who were very quick to pick up on this story:
So Rotting Christ cancelled Psycho fest.
Festival made a statement blaming us (??) and the great journalists at metal sucks and some others mud dwellers were all too happy to relay it.
A few points
- Rotting Christ barely canceled a single show in a decade. They are road monsters. They live on the road. They are on tour and festivals 150 days a year. This week end? 4 festivals, 4 countries with exhausting 15 hours drive between some. I saw the yesterday in CZ playing and driving to Belgium to play the next day... It's insane.
You really gonna blame that band, one of the hardest working out there, who doesn't cancel a show out a of thousand and try to hurt their image?
- Did it occur to you that Rotting Christ changed band members for the first time in over a decade? And that every time you change a band member, you have to restart the visa process. Rotting tried a few people since Feb. You know how "fast" US administration is.
- Do you know how many bands we have on tour and fest in the US per year? Yeah exactly, a ton. Ever saw a SOM band cancel for visa issue? Barely. We've been lucky I guess.
- I wasn't a part of this visa process. I just talked to Sakis yesterday, asked my US office who explained me what happened. Administration delay and unforeseen circumstances.
RC made a neutral statement. They didn't understand the Psycho reaction and were genuinely sorry not to go there.. For real.
So as far as the Procrastination comments goes and this statement from Psycho fest. I don't know. I have been to this fest once, had a good time - what's their issue there I have no clue to be honest?? It sounds almost personal..
We know how long and hard it is to get visas. Procrastination? Incompetence? Seriously - we're not supermen. We make mistakes. But look at Rotting Christ tour history and how many bands we had canceling for visas. Pretty much none. And there was nothing any of us could have done, in Rotting Christ or in SOM.
So to resume : in the interesting new social media drama of the day, a festival made an accusatory statement over one of the nicest band out there and us, and some great "journalists" were happy to relay without any sort of background check. Moving on.
A Different Perspective
I personally see this as a HUGE miscommunication on both ends. I don’t really put this on Rotting Christ themselves as it’s not their job to do all the red tape and paperwork in obtaining new visas because of the lineup change. That falls on the promoters and band management/label. Hence the defensive statement from Season Of Mist. I wouldn’t have been surprised if they got a “What the fuck…” phone call once the cancellation news broke out.
This isn’t a fresh young band in Greece, Rotting Christ are very seasoned veterans of the scene with a career spanning at least 30 years, so these guys are pros. Given the more recent (and tougher) US immigration policies, the snails pace that the US government actually processes this documentation, whether expedited or not, and two very busy parties; one trying to organize a huge event and one running a label. These are all the makings of an unintentional “oops” type of moment.
While I get PLV’s reasoning in explaining the cancellation, I read a lot of unnecessary and deflective “Don’t blame us, it’s them” type of statements. I do believe that if what they say is true, they truly did everything they could.
PLV announced Rotting Christ joining the event months ago and the visa documents should have been processing THAT DAY. If Season Of Mist waited until the last minute as the event organizers accused, then this falls solely on the label, who should have been more on the ball.
What PLV did wrong here was share too much information and point too many fingers. No need to shame the band and label in any way shape or form. Just say a short statement:
Rotting Christ has cancelled their appearance at Psycho Las Vegas as well as their Los Angeles and Sacramento shows due to visa issues. We deeply apologies for any inconvenience this causes attendees and are in hopes that everyone still has a great time.
Hell, they could have even blamed Trump for tightening immigration policies in securing visas instead of shaming the band and label.
Season Of Mist’s statement was pretty much the same extensive public finger pointing (I personally would have kept my mouth shut if I was Michael, but that’s just me), but at the same time, the label’s founder is on the defense and, as I previously stated, probably got an earful somewhere down the line, which he should have. Slacking on US visas for one of your label’s biggest acts is a no-no. Regardless of reason. If there are circumstances that may put a fly in the ointment, then the label should have been in touch with the PLV organizers. After all, shit happens.
Either way, regardless who’s to blame, the innocent victims in all of this is Rotting Christ and the fans coming to see them live. A happy ending in all this is that after the event, this will all basically be forgotten and once the band’s visa documentations are worked out, I would almost guarantee that they will make up for this with an awesome US tour, because of the three statements, Rotting Christ’s seems the most genuine in all of this. Fuck the rest of this drama.