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Valient Thorr almost smuggled seven refugees across a border

Posted by on July 17, 2014

Illegal immigration is a hot button topic here in the states, what with the house speaker calling for President Obama to be sued over it. However, it’s not only just the Mexican/American border where it’s happening, and Valient Thorr found themselves caught up in some of their own in Europe. The band tells Kim Kelly, writing for Indyweek, that they were all set to cross into England from France for their first show ever with new guitarist Eidan Thorr. Upon arriving at the border crossing at Calais, they were asked to open up their trailer. They weren’t prepared for what they found. Here’s drummer Lucian Thorr:

Right after everyone went to sleep, “I heard a clink kind of sound and felt the bus sort of shake,” he says. “We all went outside to check to make sure no one was trying to get into our trailer to steal shit. Everything seemed fine.” They get to the ferry a short time later. While examining the group’s passports, officials asked to look inside the trailer. 

“I went to open it for the agents,” Thorr says, “and when I picked up the lock, it kind of fell apart in my hand and I thought, ‘Oh no, I heard that sound. They took all our stuff!’ So I opened it up, and when the door opened, there were just dudes sitting on top of our gear, hiding in there, sweating their asses off! They looked like young, teenage-to-early 20s East Indian guys.”

Valient [Himself] chimes back in.

“I was already in the customs area with the other dudes,” he says. “Lucian comes in and I start telling him about an issue with our visas and he’s all, ‘No, no, there’s some illegal dudes in our van!’ His eyeballs were huge. My first question was, ‘Is my guitar there? Did they steal anything?’ I went outside and saw them all coming out, and it was this group of really tall dudes that looked like a basketball team piling out of the trailer like a clown car.”

“The trailer’s about 8 feet long and 5 feet high, and packed with gear, full stacks, drums, everything, and they’re just crammed into the top,” Valient continues. “It was so humid in there that there was water condensed on the ceiling. The customs agent told us that the guys were so dehydrated they were about to die. It would’ve been three-and-a-half hours before we got to land and another two-and-a-half hours [after that], so they probably would’ve busted out at some point.”

Wow. That’s not something that normally happens here, but then again, there aren’t too many bands crossing borders. Thorr said that the cops told him it’s a common occurrence overseas, and most would-be border crossers wind up where they came from, usually Italy or Greece. The band’s European tour is continuing on, presumably without any illegal immigrants in their trailer.

[photo: Jeremy M. Lange]

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Categorised in: News, Touring