Eagles of Death Metal Recall Moments of Bravery, Heartache at Paris’ Bataclan
By the time it was over, nearly 90 people were dead at the venue, among them Nick Alexander, the band's beloved merchandise manager, as well as a three employees from Eagles of Death Metal's record label. Grief and guilt wrack the band members as they return to that night during this talk with Vice, though they say the Eagles of Death Metal will continue – and that they want to return to Paris.
The musicians scattered as gunmen opened fire, leaving them separated and unsure of one another's fate. Matt McJunkins, their bass player, ended up trapped with a group of fans in a side room at the venue, with nothing but a hastily barracaded door and a leftover bottle of champagne to defend themselves against certain death. “The gunfire got closer. It went on for 10-15 minutes," McJunkins says. "It just didn’t stop, and then it would stop and there was a sense of relief – and then it would start up again.”
The ones who got outside the Bataclan concert hall were stumbling over other wounded and murdered people, trying to escape. Another group of fans, left behind at a separate hiding spot inside, was viciously mowed down.
"Several people hid in our dressing room and the killers were able to get in and killed every one of them – except for a kid who was hiding under my leather jacket," Jesse Hughes, the group's co-founding frontman, told Vice. "People were playing dead and they were so scared. A great reason why so many were killed is because so many people wouldn’t leave their friends. So many people put themselves in front of people.”
Fellow co-founder Josh Homme, who also fronts Queens of the Stone Age, was not in Paris and describes the frantic efforts to bring them home. An emotional Hughes can be seen breaking down; later, bandmates console him. Ultimately, however, he intends to lead the group back on tour – and, hopefully, to reopen the Bataclan.
“I cannot wait to get back to Paris,” Hughes said. “I want to play again. I was there when it went silent. Our friends went there to see rock 'n' roll and died. I want to go back there and live.”
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