American rock group Eagles of Death Metal performs onstage late Friday at the Bataclan concert hall in Paris, few moments before four men armed with assault rifles stormed into the venue. — AFP photos
American rock group Eagles of Death Metal performs onstage late Friday at the Bataclan concert hall in Paris, few moments before four men armed with assault rifles stormed into the venue. — AFP photos

The California-based rock band Eagles of Death Metal was in the midst of a European tour, promoting its fourth album release, when the musicians found themselves caught up in a terror attack at the Paris concert hall where they had begun to perform on Friday. The Bataclan music hall was one of several entertainment sites around Paris targeted by gunmen and bombers in a coordinated assault that killed 127 people. Islamic State claimed responsibility yesterday for the attacks.

A Paris city hall official said at least 87 young people were slaughtered at the Bataclan concert hall before anti-terrorist commandos launched an assault on the building. Early indications were that members of the band, which also goes by the acronym EODM, were all safe. The group was formed in the late 1990s by lifelong friends Jesse Hughes and Josh Homme, the group’s only two permanent members.

Hughes’ mother, Jo Ellen Hughes, told a Reuters correspondent outside her home in Palm Desert, California, 125 miles east of Los Angeles, that she had spoken to her son by telephone and that he was unhurt but “very upset and shaken”. “From my understanding, I think the whole band’s been accounted for,” she said, adding that she was not sure about the whereabouts or wellbeing of the rest of the entourage because the band and crew became separated in the pandemonium.

Hughes’ mother also said she believed the band had just gone on stage when the attack began, but she had no other details, except that the musicians were taken into protective custody at a police station afterward. A person close to the band confirmed that the group was onstage performing when the deadly assault began. The Washington Post interviewed Mary Lou Dorio, mother of one member of the band, who said her son and the other members of the group escaped the concert hall as the attack began. “It was awful,” she told The Post, adding that her son, drummer Julian Dorio, had been able to phone his wife from a local police station after the ordeal.

Co-Founder Absent From Show
The group’s US-based publicist, Jennifer Ballantyne of Universal Music Enterprises, told Reuters by email that Homme was not in Paris with the band on Friday. His absence was not unusual as Homme is known for sitting out many of the group’s live shows due to multiple commitments to other projects. Ballantyne said another EODM member, guitarist-vocalist Eden Galindo, was reportedly safe and not inside the venue, citing a Facebook post by yet another associate that said: “Hey everyone.  I just spoke with Eden. He is fine.”

The French band Red Lemons appeared to indicate Hughes’s fiancee, porn star Tuesday Cross, was with Hughes and unharmed, too, saying: “we were with your mates Jesse, Tuesday, the other musicians outside, they’re safe, too, they took a cab.” A statement posted on the band’s Facebook page attributed to EODM, said: “We are still currently trying to determine the safety and whereabouts of all our band and crew. Our thoughts are with all of the people involved in this tragic situation.”
The bloodshed came about a month after the release of EODM’s fourth album, “Unzipped”, which was followed by the group’s appearance and performance on the late-night ABC television show “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” Homme, 42, and Hughes, 43, both from Palm Desert, met as teenagers. They perform with a wide range of others who play under the EODM banner, both in the studio and in live concerts, including actor-musician Jack Black and Dave Grohl, the Foo Fighters frontman and former Nirvana drummer. The band’s lyricism – and shows – are often known for lasciviousness, with the two men seeing themselves in the tradition of sex, drugs and rock and roll.

According to band lore, the group took its name from Homme’s joking description of the Polish band Vader as “the Eagles of Death Metal”, a reference he and Hughes ultimately adopted for their own musical collaboration that critics say is more in keeping with garage band rock than death metal rock. Homme also founded the band Queens of the Stone Age. EODM had last performed Wednesday in Glasgow and was due to play next in Tourcoing, France yesterday. A Paris concert scheduled for yesterday night by Irish band U2 was canceled due to the state of emergency across France, according to a statement from HBO, which had planned to broadcast the show. – Agencies