INTERVIEW: Eagles of Death Metal recall details of tragic moment ISIS attacked them in Paris
Eagles of Death Metal during an appearance on The Jimmy Kimmel Show. (Facebook)
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The Eagles of Death Metal have emotionally recounted how each of them escaped the Paris music venue where their show was attacked by terrorists - and how their British merchandise manager 'bled out' in silence to save those around him.
Members of the Californian rock band, who were playing the Bataclan theatre when it was stormed by jihadist gunmen, described coming face-to-face with the men who killed 89 of their fans and colleagues before blowing themselves up.
Lead singer Jesse Hughes said he came seconds from death when an attacker tried to aim his rifle at him, but caught the barrel on a door frame, giving him the chance to escape.
Drummer Julian Dorio described hiding behind his kit and crawling across the stage in the hope of avoiding the killers, while bass player Matt McJunkins ended up huddled in a back room with fans listening to the slaughter outside.
Hughes, Dorio and other band members spoke out about the attacks to VICE in a video interview with founder Shane Smith.
All of the musicians who were on-stage survived the attack, but a member of their crew - British merchandise manager Nick Alexander - was caught in the gunfire and died.
Speaking about his death, Hughes revealed that 36-year-old Alexander, from Colchester, Essex, kept silent despite his agonising injuries to protect his friends from the gunman.
Fighting back tears, he said: 'I think about Nick who protected a friend of his. He stayed quiet and never called for help until he bled out because he didn't want anyone else to get hurt.'
Hughes and co-founder Josh Homme, who was not at the Paris show, previously told how many fans died because they weren't willing to leave their friends behind - even though it meant facing the gunmen.
In a trailer for the interview released last week, they said: 'Several people hid in our dressing room and the killers were able to get in and killed every one of them except for a kid who was hiding under my leather jacket.
'People were playing dead and they were so scared. A great reason why so many were killed was because so many people wouldn't leave their friends. So many people put themselves in front of people.'
Each band member also detailed their own escape from the venue. Hughes told how he ran through the 'labyrinth' of the venue's back corners looking for his girlfriend Tuesday Cross before he was forced into the street without her.
He said: 'I didn't see her on the side of the stage so I ran up to the dressing room and I threw the door open - she wasn't in there.
'Then I opened up the hallway door - and that's when I saw the shooter. He turned on me and brought his gun down and the barrel hit the door frame.
'And I was like "oh f**k". And I turned around because I could tell people were following me.
'And I was like "no, no, no, no, no, do not f**king come this way", and we started heading back down and we got to that exit door and I still hadn't seen Tuesday'.
The two were reunited outside the venue, where they escaped to a police station with hundreds of distraught fans, some of whom were bleeding badly from bullet wounds.
Meanwhile, Dorio described being stuck on stage before fleeing with fans to the back of the theatre.
He said: 'The initial shots were so powerful for me that I immediately I knew something was wrong.
'I kinda bailed off of my stool almost immediately. I turned, looked through my drum hardware to the side of an amp... and I saw two guys up front... them just relentlessly shooting into the audience.
'That's when I started crawling, I basically stayed on my chin, crawling tot he right side of the stage behind the drum riser, keeping all that gear in front of me and once I got to the other side of the stage... I hopped up and I ran right behind them.'
He escaped out into the street to safety through a side exit.
Meanwhile bass player Matt McJunkins was trapped in the venue for the duration of the attack, which ended when police stormed in and killed one gunmen, while two more detonated suicide vests.
He said: 'When the shooting started I threw down my bass, hid for a second behind the curtains and immediately people started pouring through a door to get up to the stage.
'People were coming, Steve our tour manager, he was there. We both had the same thought - there's no exit.
'Everyone started going into this room to escape the gunfire - I see the pops go off, the lights flashing, sort of dive over. Then I have to make that decision - do I really want to run across the stage? Or go in this room and hope for the best?
'There's a bunch of people helping each other to get up there. There were a few people who had been shot, bleeding. People started grabbing chairs to barricade the door.
'There was like a little mini-fridge - someone had left a bottle of champagne in the room for like a post-show thing. We had that to use [as a weapon] in case someone came in. That's all we had.
'There was a woman in front of me who - it was scary because she was bleeding - she'd got shot in her upper thigh.
'There was nothing to do except for there was this guy who was holding her and keeping pressure on her - she had a friend who was doing the same thing. This guy was trying to keep her comfortable.
'Her blood was running out on the ground. There was a leak for some reason, and the whole room was starting to get flooded. It was covering our shoes and started trickling down the stairs - we worried it would alert someone.'
McJunkins and the fans were trapped inside until the rescuers stopped the attackers - a length of some three hours.
Sound engineer Shawn London told how he hid behind a sound console before surrounded by bodies before fleeing under heavy fire, carrying a wounded woman.
All the while a gunman was unloading bullets into other concertgoers and shouting 'Allahu akbar' - Arabic for 'God is great'.
He said: 'They came in the door instantly started blasting, there was two of them. Random. Instantly people started dropping - injuries, death.
'I can see the gunman. He looked right at me - and he shot at me, and he missed. And it hit my console, and buttons went flying everywhere, the console caught a shot.
'I went instantly down to the ground and we all just huddled. I think he thought I probably got hit because I went down so quickly. Everyone else around me was injured. There was blood all over.
'He stayed there and continued to shoot and shoot and slaughter and just scream at the top of his lungs "Allahu akbar" and I instantly knew what was going on.
'A girl behind me got hit in the upper torso and she got hit in the leg, and I was trying to tell her to be quiet, not to bring any attention to us.
'We listened, he ran out of bullets again, clipped out, threw his bandolier down, and I could hear him rustling around, I think he had a backpack on. That's when I said: "He's reloading, let's go".
'We jumped up, six of us took off in the right direction and got away, then the guy started shooting again because he had reloaded so we pulled back again and waited for the next round, another 30 rounds.
'Then after that I noticed that he wasn't really near us anymore, by the sound of his gunshots he was moving towards the stage.
'He reloaded again, that's when we all ran. I picked the girl up and basically had to push her forward to get her to go because she was in such shock. And this other guy helped me. Once we got through he turned on us - I could hear the gunshots hitting through the walls to the front doors. He was shooting at us.
'The front doors are glass - I went to push it, and a foot away from me it shattered as the bullet hit. We got out. We had to jog over bodies that were dead out front.'
Hughes concluded by saying that - despite being 'scared' of more attacks - he wants the band to return to Paris soon, and be the first band to play the Batalcan theatre again when it re-opens.
He said: 'I cannot wait to get back to Paris, I cannot wait to play. I wanna be the first band to play in the Bataclan when it opens back up.
'Because I was there when it went silent for a minute. Our friends went there to see rock 'n' roll and died. I'm gonna go back there and live.'
By KIERAN CORCORAN
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