TheVine story: ‘Top 10 deported/exiled musicians’, June 2012

Pop cultural history is littered with musicians who have been kicked out of a country for one reason or another. I rounded up ten of them for TheVine. Excerpt below.

Getting deported used to be a rite of passage for any self-respecting musician. Through acts of either ill-timed lewdness or just flat-out cultural insensitivity, you could find yourself passing through the latexed hands of local authorities and back towards your dustbin bachelor pad of origin quicker than one can say “I have nothing to declare.”

The itinerary typically went something like this: catch flight, land in country, don’t declare drugs, get deported. Or this: catch flight, land in country, buy drugs, wee on icon of national importance, get deported. Or perhaps this: catch flight, land in country, play concert, buy drugs, buy more drugs, stay in country, stay in country, stay in country, flash penis, get deported. The options were endless.

Of course, some artists have been forced to leave a country (often their own) for reasons far heavier than a few pounds of weed. Dictators, fascist regimes and the United States of America all think musicians are pretty crap.

It may no longer be the 1960s but touring artists still occasionally find themselves in hot water after forgetting to flush their uppers down the toilet. So in honour of our favourite revolutionaries, rebels and idiots, TheVine have dug out the top ten deported and exiled musicians. Boarding passes at the ready.

10. Slick Rick
Year: 1991-2008
Country: United States
Offence: Attempted murder and weapons charges, looking like a pirate

A cheat because Slick Rick never actually got deported, but this saga is nothing short of legendary. The British-born rapper moved to the States when he was just 11 years old, but wound up in jail in 1991 after being convicted on attempted murder and weapons charges. Rick was paroled for good behaviour after just five years, but a law that threatens to deport immigrants convicted of aggravated felonies always loomed large. He was picked up by the Immigration and Naturalisation Service in 2002 and spent a year in detention before a judge ruled that he could go free. Still, it took a 2008 pardon from New York Governor David Paterson to confirm that Rick could once and for all stay in the United States.

9. Paul McCartney
Year: 1980
Country: Japan
Offence: Weed carrying

If Paul McCartney isn’t banging on about how great marijuana is, he’s getting deported for trying to spirit half a pound of the stuff into Japan. Half a pound! That’s 230 grams – he might as well have used the bag for carry-on luggage. Incidentally, McCartney was once also deported from Germany for setting fire to condoms. The man’s a terrorist, basically.

For the full article, visit TheVine.

Leave a Reply