Bataclan Openers Break Silence: ‘We Didn’t Get Knocked Down’
Four months have passed since an Eagles of Death Metal concert in Paris was the target of a terrorist attack. The opening band, White Miles – an Austrian, gritty garage-rock two-piece – had already played and departed the venue when the shooting began, but frontwoman Medina Rekic still vividly remembers the panic she felt that November evening. “It was the worst feeling I ever had in my life,” she tells Rolling Stone. “I didn’t know where my friends were, and there were all these wonderful people still in there.”
As White Miles prep for their first-ever U.S. show – a South by Southwest gig at Austin’s BD Rileys Saturday – Rekic says immersing herself in music helped her cope. Since 2011, she and her bandmate, drummer Hansjörg “Lofi” Loferer, have been bashing out raw, throbbing, punky blues-rock worthy enough to earn them shows with Courtney Love, former Kyuss frotman John Garcia and the Answer. Although they’ve previously put out a debut album in Europe, they’ll be issuing their first international release, The Duel, which they recorded with producer Micko Larkin (Hole), on April 15th. Music has been their escape.
Rekic is at her parents’ home in Tyrol – a sparsely inhabited Austrian state roughly the same size as Connecticut – in early March, when she speaks with Rolling Stone. The singer and guitarist – whose band hails from Walchsee, a small municipality with a population of less than 2,000 in the north of Tyrol – describes the area as beautiful and says she has been enjoying “mountain life.” “It’s full of valleys and landscapes,” the typically effervescent singer says. “I love it. It’s just a place to hang with family and friends.”
“This guy ran over. He was full of blood everywhere.”
She met the drummer about a decade ago at a battle of the bands, where they were both playing in separate groups. “I’d seen his band sitting in a corner, and I was like, ‘Aww, these are some nice dudes, I’m just going to walk over and start a conversation,'” she remembers. “And we totally clicked.” Both her and Lofi’s band won the contest, as she recalls, and they sparked a friendship. After he grew disillusioned with this group, he phoned up his friend and proposed they play together. They named their duo after the blur of white separating lines on roads that bands see when speeding toward gigs. “It’s the color of freedom,” Rekic says.
Touring brought White Miles all around mainland Europe and as far from home as the U.K. An offer to expand their audience by opening for Eagles of Death Metal, as they supported their Zipper Down release, promised the band gigs in England and Ireland, as well as central Europe, Scandinavia and the southwest of the continent. Everything stopped in Paris.
On November 13th, the band played a sweaty, electric opening set at the Bataclan. Afterward, Rekic and Lofi said hello to their friends at the merch table — including Eagles merch manager Nick Alexander who would mind their wares while they stepped out — had a beer, showered off and stepped outside for a bite, Eagles of Death Metal’s boogie-rock still ringing in the air. They had a smoke and spotted a Greek fast-food joint next to the venue and grabbed takeout.
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