Removal plots European return

Local instrumental-rock outfit Removal has been forced to cancel a planned spring tour of Europe for financial reasons. When the band was in Germany last March, guitarist Bill Johnston had a run-in with the Munich police, who pulled him over while he was piloting the Removal tour van under the influence of, well, nothing in particular. The guitarist's urine, however, still contained traces of THC, a substance Johnston admits to having ingested some four days earlier. The full story is posted on Removal's Web site (www.remove, but the upshot of it is that the guitarist still has an unpaid fine preventing his entry into Germany, and interest has been accruing for more than a year. "We had the tour booked; we were all ready to go," Removal drummer Ernie Hawkins told the Straight. "We were going from Turkey to Norway. It was gonna be great, and they said, 'Oh, by the way, it's 3,800 [euros, roughly CDN$5,300] now.' There was no way we could pay 3,800. We don't even make that much on a tour."

According to Hawkins, a tour of Europe with no stops in Germany isn't feasible, because a large part of Removal's European fan base is German. The band has not given up hope, though. Hawkins said he's asking fans to donate funds so that Removal can pay off the fine and reschedule its European trek for the fall. The group is accepting cheques and money orders (see the Web site for Johnston's mailing address), and is also taking donations through PayPal at the following e-mail address: