By Alex HudsonLast 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.
10/17 Toronto, ON - High Park 11/13 Toronto, ON - TBA *