The Used have cancelled all of the Canadian dates on their North American tour, after frontman Bert McCracken was denied entry into the country earlier this month due to his criminal record.
“They won’t let me in,” McCracken told Rolling Stone backstage at the Irvine, California stop of the Warped tour on Thursday. “They said not for ten years. It’s weird, they’re like, ‘You need to rehabilitate these crimes before you come back to Canada.’ I’m like, ‘What does that mean?'”
According to McCracken, his transgressions occurred several years ago. “When I say criminal record, I’m talking teensy, eensy misdemeanors they still have on my record from, like, 2001 and 2003 – trespassing,” he explained. “We’ve been denied many times,” added bandmate Jeph Howard. “Half of our crew couldn’t get in either.”
The Used are fans of Canada, despite the trouble they have entering the country. “It’s nice once we get up there, but trying to get in is a nightmare every time,” McCracken said. “We’ve been strip-searched. They made us spread our butt cheeks” – though Howard pointed out that this may have been McCracken’s fault. “I left some weed on the bus,” McCracken agreed, laughing. “I just wanted to show someone my butt.”
To make up for the cancelled gig, the band came up with a creative solution. “We’re gonna do border tours,” Howard said. Added McCracken, “Detroit, Buffalo, Fargo, Seattle, Billings, Montana … or, we can do the Fuck Canada tour and play the borders, and all the Canadians get in for free with their passports.”
“The people that can get into Canada, we’ll play there with a hologram of Bert,” joked Howard.
After Warped, the band will head overseas to tour South America and Europe; they’ll return to the States at the top of next year for another headlining tour in support of Vulnerable, their fifth album released in March. The LP’s latest single is “Put Me Out,” and though Howard admitted it wasn’t his first choice, he said the fans’ response to the track swayed him.
“I was a little iffy on that at the beginning,” he says. “We just finished the video, and I have so much love after playing the song live and finding out how much our fans love this song.”
McCracken added that the video will be a bit of a departure for the band. “All our videos are pretty serious up to this point, so we thought we’d do something that’s kind of silly and fun,” he said. “The whole concept of the video is this kid is in a cigarette costume, and he’s being treated like shit everywhere he goes. People give him dirty looks, he tries to take a cab and there’s a big “No Smoking” sign – then he sees a flier for the Used concert, comes to the Used show, moshes around, crowd surfs, I bring him up onstage, put a guitar on him and he starts rocking out with the Used.”