US band Eagles Of Death Metal unlikely symbol after Paris attacks

Jesse Hughes (far left) of Eagles Of Death Metal performing with drummer Joey Castillo (left) in Los Angeles in a photo taken last year.
Jesse Hughes (left) of Eagles Of Death Metal performing with drummer Joey Castillo (right) in Los Angeles in a photo taken last year.PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS • Earlier known for their energetic guitar riffs and raunchy humour, California rockers Eagles Of Death Metal have become an unlikely symbol of freedom after their fans were cut down in the Paris attacks.

The Facebook page of the band has become a repository for hundreds of tributes to the rock group as well as dramatic accounts of survival by fans at the Bataclan club, where 89 people were killed on Nov 13 in the citywide assault claimed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Lorelei Fisher wrote in the comments section that she, her boyfriend and another man were able to jump for safety behind the band's cases stacked on the side of the stage, hiding for more than an hour as the attackers opened fire and set off bombs.

"The boxes and gear protected us from being shredded to pieces. In a way, our lives were saved because of you," she wrote.

Edwige Pannier, another survivor of the "dreadful night", hailed "the compassion and kindness" of Eagles Of Death Metal frontman Jesse Hughes, who went to the Paris police headquarters with traumatised fans who escaped.

"We appreciated his help and efforts to provide comfort as much as he could to all of us," she wrote.

The flurry of tributes came after Eagles Of Death Metal released a first statement on Wednesday, in which the rockers said they felt united with fans and with "all those affected by terrorism" in a "common goal of love and compassion".

"Vive la musique, vive la liberte, vive la France and vive EODM," the band wrote, playing on France's national slogan.

Despite their name the rockers play a hard-charging garage rock, rather than death metal, although it remains unclear whether the show was targeted because of the artists.

Hughes formed the band nearly 20 years ago with his friend Josh Homme, who also fronts the band Queens Of The Stone Age and who plays with Eagles Of Death Metal only when his schedule allows.

Homme was absent from the show at the Bataclan, where Hughes played with guitarist Dave Catching, drummer Julian Dorio and bassist Matt McJunkins.

Eagles Of Death Metal, who had been due to perform across Europe until Dec 10 in Portugal, have put the tour on hold. But a number of online postings by French fans have appealed to the band to return.

British fans have launched a campaign to push the band's version of Duran Duran's Save A Prayer, played moments before the attack, to No. 1 on the weekly chart coming out on Fridays.

In another sign of newfound interest in Eagles Of Death Metal, the band have rapidly grown in popularity on major streaming platforms in France. Two of their songs were on Thursday among the most streamed in France on Spotify and the band's album Zipper Down, released last month, entered the top five in France on Deezer.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 21, 2015, with the headline 'US band unlikely symbol after Paris attacks'. Print Edition | Subscribe