Paris Attacks

Eagles Of Death Metal keen to return to Bataclan

Eagles Of Death Metal singer Jesse Hughes (far left, with the band’s cofounder Josh Homme) says he cannot wait to go back to perform at Bataclan.
Eagles Of Death Metal singer Jesse Hughes (far left, with the band’s cofounder Josh Homme) says he cannot wait to go back to perform at Bataclan.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

NEW YORK • California rockers Eagles Of Death Metal want to be the first band to play at the Bataclan theatre when the Paris venue reopens after the November attacks targeted their gig.

"I cannot wait to get back to Paris," singer Jesse Hughes said in the band's first media interview since the attack.

"I cannot wait to play. I want to come back. I want to be the first band to play in the Bataclan when it comes back up. Because I was there when it went silent for a minute. Our friends went there to see rock 'n' roll and died. I want to go back there and live."

Speaking to news and media organisation Vice in a video posted on Wednesday, he broke down while describing coming face to face with one of the gunmen and the horrors that the audience endured.

The band were on stage at the Bataclan on Nov 13 when the militants attacked, killing 89 people.

He said he ran offstage after the gunfire erupted and looked for his girlfriend in a dressing room. Not finding her, he opened a door to a hallway and came face to face with a gunman.

"He turned on me, brought his gun down and the barrel hit the door frame."

He said he rushed down a set of stairs and through an exit door and found his girlfriend outside.

The band members recounted the moments, about an hour into their set, when they realised something was wrong and scrambled to escape, seizing opportunities to flee the stage when the gunmen paused to reload.

Bassist Matt Jenkins said he escaped to a room backstage where people barricaded the door with chairs and had only a bottle of champagne as a weapon.

Drummer Julian Dorio said he hit the floor as soon as he heard gunshots and peered through his drums.

"I saw two guys out front and that might be just the most awful thing ever, them just relentlessly shooting into the audience," he told Vice.

Shawn London, the band's sound engineer, was near the front doors, near where the gunmen burst in. "People started dropping to the ground," he said. "Injuries, death."

He said one of the gunmen looked directly at him and fired a shot that hit his mixing console; he dropped to the ground and tried to calm a woman nearby who had been struck, to avoid drawing the shooter's attention.

Hughes also spoke about Nick Alexander, the band's merchandise manager, who was killed in the attack. He said Alexander behaved valiantly, "and never called for help until he bled out because he didn't want anybody else to get hurt".

The band had been due to perform across Europe until Dec 10, but have put on hold all further concerts. A number of French fans have appealed to them online to return to play.

"We don't really have a chance. We have to finish the tour," said Josh Homme, Death Metal co-founder who was not in Paris.

"We have a song called I Love You All The Time. If you're a country artist, if you're death metal, if you're a DJ, it doesn't matter, cover that song and we'll donate the publishing (royalties)," he told Vice.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS, NEW YORK TIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 27, 2015, with the headline 'Band keen to return to Bataclan'. Print Edition | Subscribe