LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - 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 who killed scores of people in what President Francois Hollande described as an unprecedented terrorist assault.
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 group’s U.S.-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 fiancée, 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.”
According to early reports, the Bataclan was believed to have been attacked by two or three gunmen, who were said to have shouted slogans condemning France’s role in Syria as they went through the concert hall shooting people.
The bloodshed comes 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.
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 Touroing, France, on Saturday.
A Paris concert scheduled for Saturday 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.
Reporting and writing by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Additional reporting by Omar Younis in Palm Desert; Editing by Ken Wills & Shri Navaratnam