Rock and roll is a dish best served live. It relies on the body heat and energy exchange between the band onstage and a sweaty audience to create a magic you can only experience, and lose yourself in, when you're watching it unfold in person. Emir Mohsseni knows that cardinal rule, but to his unending frustration, the 28-year-old Iranian musician hasn't been able to share the trippy psychedelic grooves of his band The Muckers with American fans.
And now, thanks to President Trump's controversial temporary 90-day ban on immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries -- Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen -- his dream has been deferred yet again on the eve of what was to be his first American tour. With no U.S. embassy in Tehran, each time he's tried to book a tour, Mohsseni has been forced to leave the country in search of a visa, a lengthy, expensive process that involves securing lawyers, undergoing numerous background checks and, as he's learned over and over, the very real risk of rejection. He knows that music has the power to cross cultural and international borders and create a unique connection. He just wishes President Trump would realize that.
Billboard spoke to Mohsseni via email on Wednesday, and he shared his feelings about the new president's executive action and how it has muddled, and once again delayed, his rock and roll fantasy. (Comments have been edited for clarity and length, but not for language.)