Given our fondness for her 2015 album I Want To Grow Up, we’ve been waiting eagerly for some news out of Colleen Green’s camp. This is not the news we were hoping for. As the Sydney Morning Herald points out, Green was detained and deported by Australian immigration services this week while trying to enter the country for a tour.
Apparently her Australian tour promoter had instructed her to tell authorities she was in the country to visit friends — a common practice among musicians touring in foreign countries, according to Green — and when the authorities decided she was lying, things got very intense. In a darkly comic note on Facebook, Green described the ordeal, which involved patdowns, fingerprinting, multiple interrogations, a mugshot, and a night in a detention center resembling a minimum security prison. Here’s her whole account:
So as some of you have noticed, I am not on tour in Australia right now as was planned. I am back home in LA and since a lot of people are asking me what happened, I figured I’d just post about it right here and tell you all at once what has gone on over the past few emotional, exhausting, and tumultuous days. I’ll spare you the details and try to keep it brief and informational.
I left on Monday the 28th. I flew for 13 hours to Auckland, New Zealand. I had a 2 hour layover. I flew for another 3 hours to Melbourne. I had no guitar, but a few pieces of luggage including a large rollie with some records and Colleen Green hats. The promoter of my Australian tour told me he had secured a visa for me and to just say I’m visiting friends and everything would be fine. I really had no reason to doubt this as I have traveled all over the world to perform and have done so many times under the pretense of “tourism” with no incident. After a very thorough search of my bags, the officers decided I was lying. They took my ipad, phone and passport. They looked up my tour dates on the internet (and no doubt also peeped the few n00dz I had left – luckily I had deleted the REALLY scandalous ones just one day before in order to clear up space so I could download the movie “Joy Ride”). They took me to an interrogation room where I waited, was interrogated on tape, waited more, was interrogated more, waited more, and finally was told that my visa was being canceled. This alone took about 7 hours from the time I got off the plane. I was not allowed to leave the room and I was extremely hungry but all they had to offer me was McDonald’s and “biscuits” which I very politely refused. I was allowed 2 phone calls. Several different officers arrived and again tore through all of my belongings, which were then itemized, sealed and taken away from me. I was patted down and searched. I was escorted by the arms by two officers who led me to a van which was parked right out on the tarmac. After about a half hour of driving we arrived at a barracks which I learned was an immigration detention center. I was fingerprinted and had my photo taken. I did not look good in the photo. I was given some mashed potatoes, corn, and cantaloupe. My medication was taken from me and placed in the custody of an infirmary of sorts which I had to be escorted to in order to get it every 4 hours as is my need. I was taken to a small room with a bunk bed (bottom already occupied by a fellow detainee from China) and a bathroom. These grounds seemed akin to a very very minimum security prison (although I did notice another bunks-only area that was fenced in on all sides and guarded 24/7). There was a small courtyard with a basketball hoop and some exercise equipment, a Multifaith room, and a common room with books, a TV, a pool table, some computers and phones, and a kitchen area with a microwave and refrigerator. Initially I had been told that I would most likely be going home in the morning, but many of the guards at the center expressed doubt at this and believed it would probably take at least 2 days. I met a couple there who couldn’t get their visas and had been at the center so long that they ended up becoming employees. I went to bed. In the morning to my elation they told me I’d be going home at 9:30. At that time, I was again patted and searched and loaded into the van with 6-7 officers. I was escorted once again by the arms to the interrogation room. After some waiting, I was escorted by the arms through the airport to my gate. This was actually pretty sick because I didn’t have to wait in any of those wack ass lines, and I also got to board the plane first, but I also felt like a totally busted criminal dummy, when all I had been trying to do was play music and see a new country. Anyway, this was supposed to be the short version, but a lot happened in those few days. Only after I got on my last plane from Auckland back to Los Angeles did I get my passport, ipad, and phone back. I returned, free but defeated, and took the Fly Away home.
I’m glad she got her stuff back! On the bright side, this situation could be the basis for a fantastic Colleen Green concept album.
As for the other party in this debacle, a spokesman for the promotional company, Bone Soup, told the Morning Herald they were “deeply saddened” and “deeply embarrassed” about failing to secure Green’s documentation in time: “Letting down an artist and having her experience what she has, as well as letting her fans down, is a terrible thing. This has been a harsh lesson and we have made a mistake that we will never make again. We are doing our best to allay the situation and reschedule a tour for the future.”