by Jeff Niesel
Mike James, host of the sports-themed local radio show “Defend Cleveland,” has taken on the cause of Pere Ubu, the famous pro to-punk act that originally formed in Cleveland. While the group regularly tours the globe, it's recently had trouble securing visas for two of its members who live in the UK. “[It] reeks of absurdity and extortion,” says James who had band leader David Thomas, who currently lives in England, call his show this morning to talk about the situation. Thomas explained that he refuses to pay the American Federation of Musicians in order to expedite the process and referred to the situation as “absurdly complex. He admitted it all stems from the fact that he won’t “pay off the union.” With or without those two key members, the band is slated to start its U.S. tour on Sept. 6 and has a tentative gig booked for the Beachland Ballroom. The Defend Cleveland Show airs on WRUW-FM 91.1 on Mondays from 9-11:30 a.m. The show with David Thomas will be archived here.Here's the official press release statement from the Ubu camp: "Pere Ubu has added Cleveland guitar maestro Dave Cintron to the lineup for its September tour of the eastern USA and Canada. Mr. Cintron substitutes for British guitarist Keith Moliné, who is unable to enter the US due to the visa approval process delays, ongoing since May. The group's second synthesizer, Gagarin, is also unable to join the band on tour, but plans are in progress to produce a remote performance live from their homes in London, by way of a complex cell/broadband system."