The days when audience members could go onstage at metal shows could very well be over. The latest controversy occurred last week, when Lamb of God singer Randy Blythe was arrested in the Czech Republic on suspicion of manslaughter. The charge stems from an incident at a Lamb of God performance on May 24th, 2010 in Prague, when a fan who repeatedly came onstage was pushed, and eventually died.
With Lamb of God touring in support of their latest album, Resolution, the band was set to play the Czech Republic on June 28th. They arrived the day before, at which time Blythe was arrested. Since then, it has become a legal snafu. As the band’s manager, Larry Mazer, told Rolling Stone on Tuesday, “We were told on Saturday that he had been approved by the judge for bail – $200,000 – and if we paid it, he would be released probably this morning. We all went to bed thinking that he would be out. I had flights booked for him to come back. And then at 4 o’clock this morning – because they’re six hours ahead – I received a call from the lawyer in the Czech Republic telling us that the prosecution was challenging the bail, and because of that, he wouldn’t be released today.”
Mazer has spoken to Blythe’s bandmates, and no one recalls the incident in question. “However, there are YouTube videos, which 100 percent show Randy’s innocence. As a matter of fact, all of those videos have now been sent to our lawyer, and he’s presenting it to the judge tomorrow morning [July 4th]. This case is so full of holes. Nobody reported an injury of any kind at the concert, or after the concert. It was at least an hour to two hours later, supposedly, when this kid went to a hospital.
“So that’s number one – why did nothing occur during the show? Number two, he had supposedly been in a coma for 30 days, but it wasn’t [until] a couple of months later that they contacted the promoter to ask his understanding of the events. He said the same thing – that the show went on fine, no nothing, no incidents. They told him that a person had been injured, which led to a death, which he had no knowledge of whatsoever. And then it went away. Two years go by, and Randy gets arrested.”
Mazer sent Rolling Stone the aforementioned YouTube video, which shows the fan coming onstage three times. “I got sent this video, which clearly shows a security guy sitting at the edge of the stage,” said the band’s manager. “This kid, by the way, climbed up onstage twice prior. The third time, he tried to climb up onstage, the security guard grabs him, throws him down the stage. You see him thrown on the floor. How does the prosecution in the Czech Republic do an investigation of this, charge Randy Blythe with manslaughter, when this video shows a security guy throwing the guy onto the floor?”
Presumably, this incident will result in less onstage interaction between performers and audience members. As Mazer said, “This has got to be a wake-up call to every performer in the world, that what you thought was your safe haven is absolutely – as witnessed by the Dimebag Darrell thing and now this – no longer your safe haven. 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?
“Let’s not forget, a Lamb of God fan did die, which is a tragedy. But having said that, every performer should look at this now and be very concerned about what their rights are on a stage, when someone comes running at you.”