It’s one of the craziest and saddest stories to ever come out of the Vancouver music scene: a punk vet famous for donning greasepaint and fronting an Iron Maiden-obsessed tribute band called Powerclown ends up arrested in Japan after attempting to smuggle $7 million worth of stimulant drugs into Japan.
That’s what happened to Daniel Burton Whitmore last December at Narita International Airport outisde of Tokyo. The musician also known as Dan Scumm disembarked from a plane that took off from Vancouver only to have authorities search his guitar case. The then-44-year-old later explained that he agreed to smuggle the drugs because he needed the money.
Flash forward 11 months, and Whitmore—who has also fronted a reformed Death Sentence—is now in a Yokohama jail where, according to a Facebook post from his brother, he’s one of four inmates in a six-person cell.
“He is finding many aspects very hard,” the post reads, “the yelling of guards (made only slightly less irritating because he doesn’t understand what they’re saying), marching, sitting cross legged and Japanese everywhere. The embassy staff tell him this stage of adjustment is the hardest and he is truly very down.”
To help raise Whitmore’s spirits, his brother is asking friends, Vancouver music scenesters, and anyone with a thing for clowns to write letters of support and encouragement to the musician. Although Whitmore is only allowed to write four letters per month to family members, he is allowed to receive them.
Here’s the full post.