In an intensely emotional interview with the French channel, iTélé, Hughes recounted the horrific attack at Bataclan that left 89 people dead and the trauma he’s experienced since. “When I’m awake is when I see things that are nightmares,” Hughes said. The musician also said it was his “sacred responsibility” to finish that Eagles of Death Metal show, as well as the rest of the band’s tour, noting at one point: “I can’t let the bad guys win.” (The full interview below features Hughes’ answers in English, though a French translator does speak over them.)
Hughes, an outspoken proponent of the rights of gun owners, was later asked whether the attack had changed his views on the issue, to which he initially responded, “Gun control kind of doesn’t have anything to do with it.” But he then added: “Did your French gun control stop a single person from dying at the Bataclan? If anyone can answer yes, I’d like to hear it, because I don’t think so. I think the only thing that stopped it was some of the bravest men that I’ve ever seen in my life charging head-first into the face of death with their firearms.
“I know people will disagree with me, but it just seems like God made men and women, and that night guns made them equal,” he continued (cribbing an old adage-turned-bumper-sticker slogan about revolver manufacturer Sam Colt). “I think the only way that my mind has been changed is that maybe that until nobody has guns everybody has to have them, because I don’t want to see anything like this ever happen again, and I want everyone to have the best chance to live. I saw people die that maybe could have lived. I don’t know, but I wish I knew for sure that if they could have had a better chance, because there were some real angels, real wonderful people at that show.”
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Eagles of Death Metal played their first full show since the November attacks in Stockholm Saturday, and are set to perform at the Olympia in Paris tonight, February 16th. The group, however, did return to Paris in December to join U2 on stage for a cover of Patti Smith’s “People Have the Power.” The Irish rockers then stepped aside to let Eagles of Death Metal play their own cut, “I Love You All the Time.”