Holy Left Field Batman! Who expected to read that a German promoter and club would dump supporting the Briggs‘ upcoming German / Austrian tour based on Joey Briggs’ connection to Scientology? Not me, that’s for sure.
According to a statement released through German punk magazine Ox, “We have nothing personal against Joey Briggs, nor do we think, that he’s out on tour to spread the message of Scientology, but as an active member he ideologically and financially supports the supression of people and an organization that stands against our beliefs”.
Disdain for Scientology in Germany is far from limited to punk rock fanzines. The German government has officially refused to recognize the Church of Scientology as a religion, “calling it less a church than a business that uses coercion to take advantage of vulnerable people”.
The Briggs are currently working on a new album, the follow-up to 2008’s “Come All You Madmen” released on Side One Dummy Records. No release date has yet been set. The band most recently released a new single entitled “Panic” on Itunes May 1st.
As a collective putting on shows there are many individuals involved and therefore also different tastes, despite punk rock as a common ground. So when a show is put on, it’s usually booked by one or two people, with the rest of us helping out doing flyers, cooking for the show, doing doors and whatnot.
Today we found out that singer/songwriter Joey Briggs is an avowing member of Scientology. Germany’s Ox Fanzine pulled out of presenting his tour and it was because of their statement we learned about it. Joey himself talks openly about his membership in at least one interview. Mails were sent, calls were made and our collective, together with the owner of the bar that would’ve hosted the show, decided we didn’t want to present an artist to our crowd, that is associated with this organization. We are talking about an organization that directly exploits the hopes and dispair of people that are often in a dark place in their life when they are approached. The main goal is quite obviously to gain money. The accusations range from Scientology being run anti-democratic, members being brainwashed and tied to the organization by facing huge amounts of debt, in case they want to leave (e.g. return money for classes they first got offered for free) to punishing members, if they violate the rules or don’t live up to the expectations (e.g. the “Rehabilitation Project Force” → working camps as punishment!). We feel that those practises violate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
We have nothing personal against Joey Briggs, nor do we think, that he’s out on tour to spread the message of Scientology, but as an active member he ideologically and financially supports the supression of people and an organization that stands against our beliefs. This is not an internet witch hunt of the scene police, but it just wouldn’t feel right to us. It’s obvious that the cancellation is short notice and that the Austrian bands he’s on tour with put a lot of effort and passion in booking the trip, so that’s unfortunate. We are still in touch and see how things go and maybe we don’t have to cancel the whole show.
Extreme Life Wasting (DIY collective from Regensburg, Germany)
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