Flowers of Hell Leader Greg Jarvis Mistaken for Spy in Papua New Guinea, Forced to Play for His Life

Flowers of Hell Leader Greg Jarvis Mistaken for Spy in Papua New Guinea, Forced to Play for His Life
Last month, we reported that transatlantic space rockers Flowers of Hell were preparing to release a new album, O, containing one 45-minute track. As it turns out, band leader Greg Jarvis almost didn't live to see his album released, as his life was put in jeopardy after being mistaken for a spy while in Papa New Guinea.

Toronto resident Jarvis told NME that he was on holiday in the country's Sentani region when he witnessed a protest by the Organisasi Papua Merdeka (OPM) movement. He began filming the protestors, who took exception to being on camera. Being a member of the OPM is illegal, so they chased him back to his hotel.

Once they caught up with him, Jarvis had to convince the angry protestors that he wasn't a threat. "I just kept feeding them Elvis's old Vietnam War-era line," he said. "'Look, I'm just a musician; I don't know anything about politics.'"

Eventually, Jarvis convinced them that he wasn't a spy. "I knew the OPM has a history of kidnapping and in some cases killing foreigners. So I asked if I could go to my room at get an instrument - I had a travel ukulele," he explained. "In that moment I just wanted to play, for it didn't look like I'd ever get to play again."

He continued, "I started playing a version of 'Opt Out,' our usual set-closer, and I played good, like my life depended on it - because it did! Almost immediately the tense atmosphere dissipated. After a couple minutes one of them stood up and yelled and they all left abruptly!"

It's with a new appreciation for life that Flowers of Hell will be playing an acoustic show this weekend (October 17) in Toronto. O is due out on November 16 via Optical Sounds/Outside Music.

Tour dates:

10/17 Toronto, ON - High Park
11/13 Toronto, ON - TBA *

* with the Hoa Hoas

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