Californian rock band the Eagles of Death Metal were playing at the Le Bataclan in Paris on 13 November when an hour into their show terrorists carrying grenades, automatic rifles and suicide vests opened fire on the audience killing 89 people including their merchandise manager.
The band spoke for the first time with VICE magazine on 25 November, recounting the horrific experience they endured. They spoke in great detail about how they survived despite being split from one another and explained the chaos inside the venue with people attempting to escape, help each other and avoid the gunmen.
After recounting how they individually escaped death, they told VICE of some of the stories that have since emerged from their fans: “Several people – because there was mass confusion and the hallways became a labyrinth – several people hid in our dressing room, and the killers were able to get in and kill everyone of them, except for a kid who was hiding under my leather jacket.”
Despite the severe trauma they experienced with their fans they are resolute about returning to performing and resuming their European tour.
“Music is what we do, it’s our lives…Playing every night and seeing those smiling faces out in the crowd, that’s what keeps us going…there’s no way we are not going to keep doing it because we both need it, we all need it.”
Matt McJunkins, bassist for Eagles of Death Metal
This week the band resumed their 2015 tour renaming it the ‘Nos Amis’ tour, meaning ‘our friends’ in French. On 16 February they and their support band at the Bataclan, Austrian duo White Miles, played in Paris at the Olympia, offering free tickets to fellow survivors. The Bataclan is set to remain closed until further notice.
Rolling Stone journalist Talia Soghomonian was at their Paris show this week and spoke of the “strange mix of sadness and relief”, however noting how the band and crowd were fiercely determined to have a good time. As Soghomonian observed, “They reclaimed the stage, and the survivors reclaimed a part of their lives.”