LAMB OF GOD frontman Randy Blythe has been sitting in a Czech Republic prison for 10 days now under a bizarre set of circumstances that has him detained for suspicion of manslaughter. Authorities allege that in May 2010, during a show at Prague’s Modra Vopice music club, the singer threw from the stage a fan that later slipped into a two-week coma before dying. Last week, in the midst of a European tour to promote their latest release, Resolution, the band was met at the airport and Blythe was brought in for questioning.
Videos that purport to be of the incident have surfaced on YouTube, posted above, and show the same person, known only as “Daniel N.,” getting onstage three times. The first time he stage-dives, the second he appears to be running to do it again and is given a bit of an extra push from Blythe and an unnamed security guard. The third time he barely climbs up on the stage when security pulls him back and onto the ground. Today, Lamb of God released a statement which reads in part, “The best we can do is to stay positive and continue to support our friend that we know is innocent” [full statement is below].
The metal community at large has been extremely vocal at what it perceives as an injustice, imploring the media to focus more attention and the government to step in and do something about the situation. Dave Brockie, better known as Gwar leader Oderus Urungus, told a CBS affiliate in Richmond, Va. (home to both bands), that “If it was Justin Bieber, there'd be an army of shrieking 14-year-olds that would tear down the walls of the prison and bust him out of there. Sony [would call] up the President: 'Oh, Mr. President! We gotta to get Justin Bieber out - record sales are going down!' [The President would say] 'Send in the Marines!' Everyone would love him; his re-election would be assured.'"
For fans of the genre, there may be additional ramifications, including bans on stage-diving. Some are connecting what has happened to Blythe to the 2004 fatal shooting of Damageplan/ex-Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell by a crazed fan who walked onstage unimpeded as one more reason why no one should be permitted to get that close to the artists. “Now fans can see first-hand why there's no stage-diving anymore, especially in the post-Darrell world we live in,” tweeted Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian. “It's all fun and games until people get murdered, die and get arrested… the repercussions from this are going to make shows even more stringent than they already are."
“Everybody knows what happened to Dimebag,” Exodus bassist Jack Gibson told the blog Peek from the Pit. “You know, you get up, you can headbang, you can even come over and give us [a quick pat on the back], and run, and then you've gotta go -- you've gotta go. And I can't imagine that a good lawyer isn't gonna get this settled, because it's like, if you come on stage, you're trespassing, you know what I mean?"
Rolling Stone scribe Greg Prato, who authored the book Grunge is Dead: The Oral History of Seattle Rock Music, talked to Lamb of God manager Larry Mazer this week who said, “For some reason, kids feel that the purchase of a ticket enables them to go up onstage. What's Randy Blythe supposed to do? How does he know the guy's not coming at him with a gun or a knife?”
Prato echoed those sentiments, telling The Phoenix, “This should do it for idiots jumping up onstage during concerts.”
Earlier this year, Boston police cited the House of Blues for a license violation after witnessing fans taking part in “dangerous behavior” at a Flogging Molly show –- basically moshing, which has been the norm at hard rock and metal shows along with stage-diving, both growing out of mid-'80s hardcore and slam dancing.
It’s going to be interesting to see what happens at the Refused show at the HOB later this month – that’s for certain.
Statement from Lamb of God, released earlier today:
“First of all, thanks to everyone who has reached out in support of Randy and each of us in this terrible situation. It’s noted and very much appreciated.
We have been keeping our heads down and not speaking out due to the fluid nature of the situation and the constantly changing information that even we receive daily.
Within an hour things can do endless 180’s. It’s maddening to try and make heads or tails.
We’re taking the time to speak to you as it has been a significant period of time since this situation began and while nothing is immediately clear to any of us, we are not trying to keep anyone in the dark.
We have reached out and are making use of the resources we have acquired to help our brother who is still detained in Czech jail.
In the two years since, we were never notified of anything related to this incident.
Randy is our brother and we assure you, we are all staying very positive for him, working endlessly behind the scenes to provide any and all assistance possible.
The best we can do is to stay positive and continue to support our friend that we know is innocent.
We know that justice will prevail and we will continue to do our part to support our friend.”