Published May 23, 2012Canadian music fans are already familiar with Vancouver's Edo Van Breeman as the frontman of the forward-thinking indie ensemble Brasstronaut, as well as one of the minds behind the electro project Resorts and Canadian imprint Unfamiliar Records. Well, here's a new addition to his resume: Swiss convict.
No, really. The singer-keyboardist received a speeding ticket while in Switzerland in 2011 and, rather than pay an elevated fine, plans to serve one day in prison.
While speaking to Exclaim! in a recent interview, Van Breeman had this to say about his upcoming jail time:
I've been sentenced to one day in jail in Switzerland. I was doing 109 kilometres an hour in a rented car outside of Basel last summer. The grace headroom is six kilometres an hour, so I went three kilometres an hour above the legal grace limit. They kept sending me letters saying I needed to pay this fine, and I just thought, "I'm not going to pay this." It was like 80 francs [$86 Canadian] or something. And I kept ignoring letters. And then last week, I got a registered letter that I had to sign for at the door saying that my judgment had been passed. There was a hand-written signature from a Swiss judge saying that I was going to have to serve one day in jail or pay 385 euros [$493.49].
I phoned the office that it came from and I asked to see whether it would make a difference on my record whether I spent the day in jail or I paid the fine. They said it makes no difference. So I figure, it's an opportunity to spend a day in jail -- and what better country to spend a day in jail in than Switzerland?
He admits that, although he was initially upset by the sentence, his friends quickly showed him that it was "the best joke of the year." He plans to make a short documentary about the experience when he visits Switzerland this summer.
"I thought it'd be cool if they could actually arrest me onstage, but I figure that with a criminal record, which is what I have now, I might not even be allowed into the country," he explains. "I might just be arrested at the border. So my plan is to go without the band, because I'm going there to visit some friends in July, and show up at the border and see if I get arrested."
Before Van Breeman heads to Swiss jail (presumably), Brasstronaut will spend the coming weeks promoting their new album, Mean Sun, on tour in Canada. And, hey, by the time the band get around to making another new record, maybe the singer will have written some Johnny Cash-style prison ballads about his experiences.