On Nov. 13, the band Eagles of Death Metal found themselves in the midst of one of the most horrific events ever to happen at rock concert. As they were playing their headlining gig at Le Bataclan theater in Paris, the venue came under attack by terrorists and at least 89 people were killed. Overall, 130 people were killed in a number of coordinated terror attacks that night throughout Paris.
While all of the band members made it out alive, the experience has obviously left them shaken, as is evident in their first video interview since the attack. In speaking with VICE about the incident, the band is visibly emotional, breaking down at times as they retell the horror that unfolded that night.
Frontman Jesse Hughes recalls trying to find his girlfriend after gunshots rang out at the venue. He went to his dressing room, and didn’t see her there, then went back into the hallway, and as he tells it: “That’s when I saw the shooter, and he turned on me. He brought his gun down, and his barrel hit the door frame, and I was like, ‘Oh, f—,’ and I turned around … I was like, ‘No, no, no, no, no. Do not f–king come this way, do not,’ and we started heading back down.”
Eventually a number of fans made it into the band’s dressing room, but the results were tragic. “The killers were able to get in and killed every one of them, except for a kid who was hiding under my leather jacket,” reveals Hughes as he breaks down in tears.
Meanwhile, Josh Homme, who is in the band but was not on tour with them in Europe, mourns the band’s merchandise manager, Nick Alexander, and the others who lost their lives that night. “I think about Nick, who protected a friend of his,” says Homme, who also fronts Queens of the Stone Age. “We have a podium right now because we’re in the freaking band, but we represent the fans that did not make, the people who did not make it, whose stories may never get told.”
Bassist Matt McJunkins recalls, “When the shooting started, I threw down my bass and hid for a second, sort of behind the curtains … The gunfire went on for 10, 15 minutes. Then it would stop and there was this sense of relief, and it would start again. And then there was an explosion that just shook the whole room.”
Hughes, meanwhile, says he’s determined to play Le Bataclan theater again, stating, “I cannot wait to get back to Paris, I want to be the first band to play at the Bataclan when it reopens, because I was there when it went silent for a minute.”
Watch the emotional and sometimes gut-wrenching 26-minute video interview with Eagles of Death Metal above.