Eagles of Death Metal, the California band onstage at the Bataclan in Paris when terrorists began their attack two weeks ago, have broken their silence about what happened that night.
The band members spoke to Shane Smith, founder and CEO of Vice, which has a long relationship with the band.
The musicians and crew spoke about the chaos that erupted, about running for cover and hiding, seizing anything they could to use as a weapon in case the gunmen caught up to them–including a champagne bottle.
Sound engineer Shawn London told Smith that the concert had gone well before the attack–and then he heard shots behind him.
“People started dropping to the ground–injuries, death…. There was nowhere to go.” People started hiding under his sound console, he recalled: “I could see the gunman, and he looked right at me, and he shot at me and missed.” The gunman “stayed there, and continued to shoot, and shoot, and slaughter, and scream, at the top of his lungs, ‘Allah Akbar,’ and that’s when I instantly knew what was going on,” he recalled.
One member of the crew, merchandise manager Nick Alexander, was killed in the attack. Band members praised him for hiding someone in the audience, staying quiet as he bled to death in order not to draw attention. All other band and crew members escaped. However, fans who hid in the band’s dressing room were found and killed–except a boy who hit under a leather jacket.
Lead vocalist and band founder Jesse Hughes broke down as he spoke about how he dashed offstage to save himself from gunfire–then felt guilty for leaving his bandmates, not knowing what would happen to them. “I love you very much,” he told them.
Hughes texted co-founder Joshua Homme, who stayed home: “Everyone is shot. They took hostages. I’ve got blood all over me.”
Homme said: “We represent the fans that did not make it, the people that did not make it, whose stories may never get told.”
The band reached out to fellow survivors and vowed to return to Paris, saying they wanted to be the first to play the Bataclan when it re-opens.