Two years ago, Venezuelan hardcore act, The Zeta filed with US Customs as touring musicians so that they could legally work in the US. Once approved, the boys started touring the United States extensively and literally haven’t stopped since. After being here for a year or so, they made the decision to become permanent residents and began the arduous process of applying for a resident petition. After months and months of back and forth emails and calls in an attempt to prove their legitimacy, providing evidence of their illustrious fifteen year career in a five hundred page deposition that had to be translated word for word from their native language into English, all members were approved with the exception of guitarist and founding member Dani. With there being no evidence found on his record that would negate his petition, the US Government’s only reasoning for unilaterally denying his application (after formally recognizing the band’s international acclaim and legitimacy) was that they didn’t see why Dani was an integral piece of the band. They literally told him that they didn’t see why, as a founding member of a band who is almost sixteen years old, his role as a guitar player was vital to the band’s continued success. Now, he has only a few days to appeal the decision or leave the country.
I first heard Dani’s unfortunate situation a few days ago story from a friend who had played a few shows with them a couple years ago. They asked if I could help in any way, telling me “We played with The Zeta over three years ago in Miami, Florida. We didn’t know much about them besides that they were from Venezuela. Before the show, they made us and all of the other bands playing that night, ceviche. Who does that? Then they absolutely blew our minds with their performance. I say ‘performance’ because it’s not your typical show. Literally, the best I’ve seen in my four years of touring and Dani was a huge part of it. On top of that, he’s a genuine guy who cares about the well being of others. During their sets, he stops in between songs to make sure everyone has had enough water that day to stay hydrated and that they’ve had enough fruits and vegetables to keep healthy. He also talks a lot about ideas of sustainability and working together to benefit one’s own self. A lot of people ask ‘How are you’ but Dani actually cares.”
Since I too, was unfamiliar with the South Americans, I decided to do some digging before agreeing to do a write up. Before I could even get full two days into my research, I started receiving multiple unsolicited emails, comments and DMs from other concerned fans that wanted to speak up on behalf of Dani and the band, pleading for any help I could give. One of the first DMs I received was from a local photographer here in Denver “The Zeta has made a huge impact on the Colorado music scene and there would be a void left on the calendar if they couldn’t play here anymore because Dani had to leave.” Shortly after that, I got an email that read “I first saw The Zeta at a show in Austin and have been a fan ever since. The music is perfectly aggressive and has a unique sound, in part due the ethereal playing style of Dani.“. Then on a Facebook thread regarding the topic, a commenter replied “If you’ve ever gotten to see them, you’d know that what they have is pure magic. It’s nothing that’s ever been done before—truly special. It would be a shame to lose a narrative like theirs (if Dani had to leave).“
It was then that I realized, that all of these fans that have been to shows and know these guys on a personal level, recognize something that the US Government doesn’t see from their sheltered, safe little bubble. The Zeta is a one of a kind talent whose sound is defined by Dani’s passionate guitar playing and the years of tireless work he put into creating it as a founding member. There’s nothing you can quantify or isolate as a specific reason why he’s a necessity to the band. He IS the band. His DNA is woven into the fabric of The Zeta and the two are inseparable. What defines you as a person? Show me. On paper. It’s not easy, is it? The fact that this rabid fan base would be robbed of a chance to see this talented group of musicians because of something as stupid and insignificant as red tape would be untenable and unfair to both the band as well as those fans. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t ever want a government deciding who is and isn’t a vital part of a band I enjoy. It’s overreach at it’s finest. Do what you can, people.