Friday the 13th of November 2015 is a date that will stay with Parisians for a long time to come. It is also one that will stay with the members of US band Eagles Of Death Metal. The group were playing at the Bataclan concert venue in the city, one of several locations attacked by terrorists, when gunfire rang out.
In their first public interview since the tragedies in Paris, members of the band have spoken to VICE about what happened on that fateful night.
Guitarist Eddie Galindo told of how when the shooting first started:
“I thought it was the PA cracking up. And then I realized real quick that it wasn’t, and I recognized what it was. … We weren’t sure if they were targeting us or what was going on.”
Sound engineer Shawn London recalled how a night that everyone was enjoying so quickly turned to tragedy saying:
“These kids were having a blast – they were having a great time. The smiling, the dancing, the singing along with each song. And then, out of nowhere, I heard what I thought were these firecrackers directly behind me.”
He went on to add that the gunmen:
“…came in the door, instantly walked in and just started blasting. There was two of them, and instantly people started dropping to the ground. Injuries, death.”
London was also shot at, after he made eye contact with one of the attackers. He remembers:
“He stayed there and continued to shoot and shoot – and slaughter. And just scream at the top of his lungs, ‘Allah akbar.’ That’s when I instantly knew what was going on.”
Jesse Hughes, the band’s co-founder along with Josh Homme who wasn’t present at the show, recalled how:
“…several people hid in our dressing room, and the killers were able to get in and they killed everyone except for a kid who was hiding under my leather jacket. 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.”
Eighty-nine people, including the bands’ merchandising manager Nick Alexander, died at the Bataclan concert venue, with a further 41 individuals losing their lives at other targeted locations while hundreds more were wounded, many critically.
When asked about the future of the band, Hughes went on to make an emphatic statement, declaring:
“I want to be the first band to play in le Bataclan when it opens 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’m gonna go back there and live.”
You can watch the whole interview with the band below.