Velvet Revolver rock band says denied Japan visas

TOKYO Tue Nov 20, 2007 12:48am EST

Velvet Revolver, with Slash on guitar, performs at Virgin Festival at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland August 5, 2007. REUTERS/Bill Auth

Velvet Revolver, with Slash on guitar, performs at Virgin Festival at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland August 5, 2007.

Credit: Reuters/Bill Auth

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TOKYO (Reuters) - Grammy Award-winning U.S. hard rock band Velvet Revolver said it would not perform in Japan this month as scheduled because the authorities had refused them visas due to previous run-ins with the law.

Japanese immigration officials appear to have taken exception to the backgrounds of various band members "which have included arrests", the band said in a statement on its Web site (www.velvetrevolver.com).

"We want to apologize to our fans in Japan that we won't be able to perform our scheduled concerts," it said.

"We don't understand why the authorities won't give us visas when they granted them for us in 2005. We love Japan and look forward to our return there."

A spokesman for the immigration department at the Justice Ministry said he could not comment on individual cases.

But under Japanese law, anyone with a drug conviction can be refused entry.

Velvet Revolver features three members of rowdy rock legends Guns N' Roses and the Stone Temple Pilots' volatile former frontman Scott Weiland, who has been arrested several times on drug-related charges.

The band had been due to perform four concerts between November 26 and November 30 in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and Yokohama to promote its current album "Libertad".

The band said it was appealing against the immigration authorities' decision, but the process would take months. Velvet Revolver will start their Australian tour as scheduled on December 4.

(Writing by Miral Fahmy and Isabel Reynolds; editing by Roger Crabb)

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