Death Cab's Walla: Feds Took My Music
By GENE JOHNSON
The Associated Press
Wednesday, October 17, 2007; 11:19 PM
SEATTLE -- The guitarist for indie pop rockers Death Cab for Cutie still expects to release his solo album in January even though federal border agents seized a computer hard drive containing the master tracks.
A courier was headed to Seattle-based Barsuk Records from a studio in Vancouver, British Columbia, when U.S. Border Patrol agents seized the hard drive Sept. 19, Chris Walla said Wednesday.
"I don't know what red flag could possibly have gone up at the border," Walla said in a phone interview from Portland, Ore. "It's so baffling to me."
Walla said he had been in British Columbia working on the album called "Field Manual." Barsuk needed the music to meet its production schedule, and a Hipposonic Studios employee volunteered to drive the mixed songs, on tape, and the original master tracks, on a computer hard drive.
Guards at the Peace Arch border crossing in Blaine let the courier keep the tapes but seized the hard drive for examination by computer forensics experts, according to Walla and Hipposonic President Rob Darch.
Mike Milne, a spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, said late Wednesday that Immigration and Customs Enforcement forensics experts had examined it and decided it could be released.
"We have attempted to make two notifications to the importer to pick it up, that it's free to go, but we haven't heard back from him," Milne said, adding it appeared those were phone messages left between Sept. 19 and Oct. 1.
Walla said he believed the confiscation was random.
Walla had the seized files on a backup hard drive on Vancouver Island, which was copied and shipped to Seattle. The lost time prevented Walla from finishing the album on time, but it's still expected to be released Jan. 29, said Josh Rosenfeld, the label's co-founder.
© 2007 The Associated Press