Eagles of Death Metal, the American band that was playing at the Bataclan theater on Friday, November 13, is talking about the horrific ISIS Paris attack where 89 people died when terrorists stormed the venue.
Le Bataclan has been a legendary fixture in the Paris music scene for 150 years, but nobody could have envisioned it would become known worldwide because of the unspeakable acts that took place there when terrorists stormed the venue during a performance by Eagles of Death Metal on Friday the 13th.
For the first time, band members are talking in an exclusive interview with Vice. Visibly disturbed, Eagles of Death Metal co-founder and lead singer Jesse Hughes recalls how he sent a desperate text message to fellow co-founder Josh Homme.
“Bro, everyone got shot… Everyone got shot. They took hostages. I’ve got blood all over me.”
The Bataclan a few minutes before the attack. pic.twitter.com/Z2gJSPoWd1
— Doug Coupland (@DougCoupland) November 18, 2015
There are moments that the words don’t reach. Theatre Bataclan, concert by Eagles of Death Metal before the attack pic.twitter.com/cmLzdmWNTb
— Milka (@MilkicaRF) November 14, 2015
At first, when two ISIS gunmen, armed with AK-47 Kalashnikov rifles, entered the premises, Eagles of Death Metal didn’t realize Paris was under attack. Le Bataclan was one of several sites where terrorists carried out the deadliest attack in the City of Lights since World War II.
As soon as members of Eagles of Death Metal realized what was happening, they fled the stage in a panic not knowing whether the rest of the band had made it out alive. Fans were dying in front of their eyes and there was nothing they could do about it.
Bassist Matt McJunkins said that as soon as he realized the gunmen were firing their weapons inside Le Bataclan theater and killing everyone in front of them, he ran through the side stage into a nearby room. Fans followed him, trying to escape the gunmen, and they barricaded inside the room using furniture and a mini fridge, where they found a bottle of champagne the band was planning on drinking after the show and decided to use it as a weapon because it was “all we had.”
“There was a woman in front of me. It was scary because she was bleeding… she got shot…on her upper thigh, and there was nothing to do. There was this guy who was holding her and keeping pressure on her, and she had a friend who was doing the same thing… Her blood was running out on the ground, and there was a leak for some reason, but the whole room was starting to get flooded. And we were worried because water was—it was up to (our ankles), covering our shoes. It started trickling down the stairs, and then we were worried that maybe it would alert someone that there were people in this room.”
— Linda Suhler, Ph.D. (@LindaSuhler) November 15, 2015
According to the Eagles of Metal Death bassist, the ISIS terrorist attack inside Le Bataclan went on for 10 to 15 minutes, which seemed like an eternity. McJunkins says the gunmen would stop, then they would start again, and a very loud explosion happened moments later, which he later found out was one of the gunmen setting off his suicide vest.
Hughes went looking for his fiancée, Tuesday Cross, but instead came face to face with one of the attackers when he opened a hallway door. The ISIS terrorist turned on him.
“And he turned on me, brought his gun down, and the barrel hit the door frame. I was like, ‘Oh, f***’ I could tell (audience members) were following me. You know, this was a situation where everyone was looking for the place to go. I realized that, and I was like, ‘No, no, no, do not f***ing come this way!'”
— Before It’s News (@beforeitsnews) November 16, 2015
As he headed downstairs again, Hughes finally found Cross and drummer Eden Galindo, who helped them away from the carnage at Le Bataclan.
Eagles of Death Metal’s sound engineer Shawn London was working his console in the back of the theater when two ISIS gunmen stormed in and began shooting at the audience, who minutes before were enjoying the band’s performance on a Friday night. London also came face to face with one of the gunmen, who tried to shoot him but failed, instead hitting his console.
An emotional Hughes fought tears as he recalled getting out, but not knowing whether his band members were alive.
“I felt so guilty in a way that, like, I had left Matt on the stage and maybe Davey too, and I didn’t want anything to have happened to them, and I really needed them to have gotten off the stage, because I didn’t see what happened when we got off.”
A total of 89 people were killed in the ISIS Paris attack on Le Bataclan, and members of Eagles of Death Metal said the reason for the high casualty number is that audience members refused to leave injured friends and were shot because of that.
“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, and so many people put themselves in front of people.” Hughes said.
On the night of Friday, November 13, the ISIS Paris attacks claimed the lives of 130 people who were going about their daily lives in the bustling European city. Eagles of Death Metal will probably never forget this day as long as they live.
[Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]