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Why the USA has no IQ

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Thanks to The Ministry of Information for the link to this interview with Martin Orford of IQ which tells us why British Prog Rock bands don’t tour the US. It ain’t pretty.

Interviewer: You may have already partially answered this, but why don’t we see IQ more often in the States? Or Jadis as well?

Martin: Well. Because US Immigration won’t let us in. We’re not allowed to come in. They don’t like overseas bands. They say it takes the work away from US bands. If you turn up to a US airport with a guitar, they’ll put you on the next plane back home. The only people that manage to do it are the Scandinavian bands, and they’ve got sponsorships from their own governments. The only way that you can play the States is to get work permits, which basically they don’t give to people whose main profession is not being in a band. Our main profession is not being in a band, so there’s no way we’re going to get work then to be in a band. The only way that we can do a gig in the States is not-for-profit. You can’t do a tour like that.

Except for possibly Libya and North Korea outside of the US, it’s the most difficult place to come to if you’re in a band. I mean, somewhere like Russia is probably a lot easier. It is the most unwelcoming place that you could possibly find if you’re in a rock band. It’s unbelievably difficult to get an overseas band through Immigration. You can’t do it. The only way you can do it is do it not-for-profit and lie through your teeth when you come in. That’s all you can do.

Nobody in the US knows about this.

Interviewer: But yet our bands can go over there and generate revenue for other countries?

Martin: Yeah. But there is a very aggressive policy to stop overseas bands from coming into the US. So that’s why we don’t come over more often. That’s why we’re playing Mexico and not the US. We can land in a US airport if we’re in transit to somewhere else, but they won’t send us on with our guitars if we’re going to a US destination.

With one or two exceptions, British prog-rock bands part-time affairs; with progressive rock so marginalised, the market just isn’t big enough for more than one or two full time acts. So most progressive musicians must take a day job to pay the rent. This is why bands like IQ only release an album every five years or so; I think they’ve released seven studio albums in a career stretching over 20 years, and only three of those in the past 15.

Sadly bureaucratic officialdom doesn’t recognise things like this. Both European progressive rock bands and US progressive rock audiences are the losers.

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About Tim Hall

  • Randy

    Absolutely Disgusting!
    We allow trash like Eminem to
    play all over the radio &
    pollute our population,
    but,we deny a extremely talented
    non-offensive band like IQ to
    tour here?!
    Makes no sense to me, at all!!!

  • Much about the US makes no sense at all.

  • Terragen

    I’m with you, I was just looking to see if IQ was ever gong to tour here in the land of the Not-So-Free…
    What a biggoted, money-greedy country we are. Shame on us… it always boils down to the bottom dollar with us, doesn’t it?