The terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13 left 130 dead and hundreds more injured. Many of those killed were attending Eagles Of Death Metal’s gig at the Bataclan venue in Paris’ 11th arrondissement, where gunmen opened fire on the audience mid-show. U2’s Bono labelled the attack “the first direct hit on music”, and the outpouring of shock, support and sympathy from the music world continues two weeks after the event. This is how bands, performers and rappers reacted to the tragedy.
THE KILLERS’ FRONTMAN BRANDON FLOWERS
“Some of the greatest experiences in my life have been at concerts. To think that people will be afraid to go to concerts now is a shame. I hope we don’t let what happened get the better of us. I’m not the ambassador for all musicians, and I totally understand why some people have been cancelling tours. What happened was heartbreaking. My heart goes out to the people who died. But I feel it’s important to try not to be afraid.”
Metallica paid tribute to Thomas Ayad, the Universal Music France employee killed at the Eagles of Death Metal gig. “We had great fortune to work with Thomas Ayad at Universal Music France for the past eight years and while Thomas had the official title of being our ‘project manager,’ we knew him as a member of our Metallica family, a fan, a friend… and a warm, helpful, supportive familiar face each time we visited France. Friday we lost Thomas, at the Bataclan theatre, in a way that none of us can begin to comprehend. Our thoughts are with Thomas’ friends, family, co-workers and all Parisians during these very difficult times.”
THE CHARLATANS’ TIM BURGESS
SUM 41 FRONTMAN DERYCK WHIBLEY
“I’ve been at a loss for words since we all heard the news of the attacks in Paris. France has always been a second home to Sum 41 and we have always loved the time we’ve spent there. It’s heartbreaking not being able to see Nick Alexander again. We were looking forward to seeing him soon on the upcoming Kerrang tour in the New Year and he is deeply missed by all of us. We have a lot of great memories that we’ll cherish forever… He was an amazing friend and it won’t be the same without him. Our sympathies go out to his family and loved ones as well as everyone effected by the tragedy in paris.”
FRANCES BEAN COBAIN
FALL OUT BOY
Donald Trump tweeted – after the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January – “Isn’t it interesting that the tragedy in Paris took place in one of the toughest gun control countries in the world?”
When the tweet recirculated following the November 13 attacks, Ocean responded on Tumblr, “On the real though Donald Trump. How is it interesting that these shootings happened in a country that’s tough on guns? Tell us Don? Because it sounds like that vacuous observation was about giving your NRA-loving constituency a handjob and spinning a tragedy for political gain and I’m thinking maybe using a situation where dozens of innocents have just been murdered in the streets isn’t the best time. No?”
He later posted another message, which said, “Love to Paris and any individual or family who’s lost loved ones to evil anywhere in this world. Chill w/ the angles”.
JARED LETO & CÉLINE DION
At the American Music Awards on 22 November, 30 Seconds To Mars frontman Jared Leto introduced a performance of Edith Piaf’s ‘Hymne à l’Amour’ by Celine Dion, with a moving speech in which he paid tribute to friends and former colleagues who had been in Paris, some of whom had been killed. He also quoted Antoine Leiris, a man who lost his wife in the attacks and posted the following statement on Facebook: “Friday night, you took an exceptional life. The love of my life, the mother of my son. But, you will not have my hatred. You’re asking for it, but responding with hatred and anger is falling victim to the same ignorance that has made you what you are. You want me to be scared, to view my countrymen with mistrust, to sacrifice my liberty for my security—you lost. We are just two now, my son and me. But we are stronger than all the armies in the world.”
We love France. We love Paris. MGMT are fortunate enough to have played Le Bataclan four times, including three consecutive nights in the fall of 2010.
The people of France and Paris have always loved us back. Grateful isn’t a word that adequately describes our feelings.
Three people instrumental in our reaching and loving France were at the Eagles of Death Metal show last night at Le Bataclan:
Delphine, our wonderful record label French bulldog, who fought tooth and nail for us to do the things we wanted to do; to be crazy; to go on French TV wearing Thanksgiving costumes with a vat of pudding; who took us to marvelous places in Paris; she was at Le Bataclan. She is okay. Unharmed somehow.
Arnaud, part of the pair of French live music promoters who saw us play a show at Glasslands in NYC in 2007 and said “we want to bring you to France”. They did. Arnaud and his partner Pascal placed a big bet on us and we have never forgotten. Arnaud was shot in the chest last night. We have heard he made it to the hospital, had surgery and will survive.
And we also just found out Nick Alexander, who was one of the top crew members and merch sellers MGMT has had and one of the nicest guys in rock. He sold merch for us on our two European tours in the Fall of 2010, including those three nights at Le Bataclan. We are crushed to find out Nick is one of the victims of last night’s insanity who didn’t make it. If you have a t-shirt from that tour, wear it proudly to honor Nick.
Our thoughts and positive vibes are with anyone who was affected by what happened last night, including our good friend from The Whigs and Eagles Of Death Metal touring drummer Julian Dorio.
We make music and play music to help make people happy. It is what every band we’ve ever met wants to do. Happiness, like music, comes in many different forms and styles. But happiness doesn’t come the way we saw last night. We all need to figure out how to make happiness win. Then the Aliens will come back and smile and bring us many amazing gifts.
We love you France. We love you Paris.”
KINGS OF LEON’S BASSIST JARED FOLLOWILL
At her show in Sweden the day after the attacks (November 14), Madonna made a lengthy speech about why she had decided to perform:
“This whole show is about celebrating life and standing up for your rights, fighting for what you believe in. It’s been very hard for me to get through this show up to this point and not forget about what happened last night so I need to take this moment to acknowledge the tragic killings, assassinations, and the senseless endings of precious life that occurred last night in Paris.
“It’s disturbed me all day, and it’s been really hard to get through the show because in many ways I feel torn. Why am I up here dancing and having fun when people are crying over the loss of their loved ones? That is exactly what these people want to do. They want to shut us up. They want to silence us. And we won’t let them. We will never let them. Because there is power in unity and I do believe that as much chaos, and pain, and senseless violence and terrorism that occurs around this world – not just in Paris – as much of that does occur, there is more goodness in this world. We are here to prove it.
“I was gonna cancel my show tonight, but then I thought to myself ‘why should I give that to them? Why should I allow them to stop me, and to stop us from enjoying freedom?’ All of the places where people were killed were places where people were having fun. People were enjoying themselves. Eating in restaurants, dancing, singing, watching a soccer match. These are freedoms that we take for granted of course, and we must not, but they’re freedoms that we deserve, we work hard and we deserve to have fun and there is no one in this world that should have the right to stop us from doing what we love.
“Yes, there are people who have no respect for human life and there are people that do atrocious, degrading and unforgivable things to other human beings. But we will never, ever, ever change this world that we live in if we do not change ourselves – if we do not change the way that we treat one another on a daily basis. Yes, the way we change the world is not to elect another president, not to kill a hundred more people. The way we change the world is that we change the way we treat one another on a daily basis in the simplest ways. We must start treating every human being with dignity and respect and this is the only thing that will change the world. This is the only thing. Only love will change the world. But it’s very hard to love unconditionally and it’s very hard to love that which we do not understand. or that which is different than we are. But we have to. Or this will go on and on forever.”
On November 16, New Order dedicated their track ‘Atmosphere’ to the victims of the attacks at their show at O2 Academy Brixton. Frontman Bernard Sumner said, “I’d like to dedicate this song – in fact the whole set – to the victims of the appalling, senseless violence.”
ALICE IN CHAINS
“Our former merch vender Nick Alexander has been confirmed as one of the victims of the senseless violence in Paris yesterday.
Nick was a great guy and a true professional.
It was an honor and a pleasure to work with him.
Please keep Nick and his family in your thoughts, along with all of the other victims of yesterday’s brutality.
Life is short. Be good to each other…”
“I know that many, many lives were affected by the tragedies in Paris last night – but Nick Alexander is someone I personally knew and toured with. He added laughs to our bus and worked hard to sell our merch to our fans. I am heartbroken that he innocently lost his life. If you feel inclined to donate, you can do so here. RIP Nick.”
YUSUF ISLAM/CAT STEVENS
FOALS FRONTMAN YANNIS PHILIPPAKIS
A statement from Le Bataclan, the concert venue attacked by gunmen, was tweeted soon after the attack, beginning with “no words sufficient to express the magnitude of our grief,” before adding: “Our thoughts are with the victims, the wounded and their relatives.”
More recently, Dominique Revert, the club’s co-manager who was not present at the time of the shootings, issued the following statement: “It will reopen, no question about it. Hearts will be heavy for a few months, a few years. But we will reopen. We will not surrender.”
Later, on winning the Mercury Prize on 20 November, he said “I’d like to dedicate this to the people of Paris.” Clementine spent time busking in the French capital earlier in his career.
Frontman Jesse Hughes recently spoke about the traumatic experience. “They [fans] were hiding in our dressing room, and the killers were able to get in. They killed all 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 is because so many people wouldn’t leave their friends, and so many people put themselves in front of people.”
Foo Fighters revealed a new, free EP on November 23, whose release had been planned before the attacks.
“This project has now taken on an entirely different tone. As has everything, it seems…” Grohl wrote. “There is a new, hopeful intention that, even in the smallest way, perhaps these songs can bring a little light into this sometimes dark world. To remind us that music is life, and that hope and healing go hand in hand with song. That much can never be taken away.
“To all who were affected by the atrocities in Paris, loved ones and friends, our hearts go out to you and your families. We will return and celebrate life and love with you once again someday with our music. As it should be done.”
Motorhead frontman Lemmy dubbed the attack’s perpetrators “assholes and cowards”. The frontman said he would have played at the Bataclan concert hall the day after 89 people were killed during an Eagles Of Death Metal gig in the French capital as a show of defiance. “We were looking at the TV as it happened and they were filming it. You could still hear gunshots. It’s so dumb. Those people are so dumb. What for? Do you think it’s gonna be a heroic thing to kill innocent people? Assholes. Cowards.
“I would have gone on the day after. If they [the terrorists] stop you, then they win. And they’re not going to beat me. I mean, I do what I’m supposed to do. If the police cancel [the show for us], I can’t do [anything] about that. But we didn’t cancel it.”
“We are devastated at the loss of life at the Eagles of Death Metal concert and our thoughts and prayers are with the band and their fans. And we hope and pray that all of our fans in Paris are safe.”
Bono added “we refuse to hate because love will do a better job.”
“If you think about it,” he said, “the majority of victims last night are music fans. This is the first direct hit on music that we’ve had in this so-called War on Terror. And it’s very upsetting. These are our people… The cold-blooded effect of this slaughter is deeply disturbing and that’s what I can’t get out of my head.”
U2 were rehearsing nearby at the time, and Bono commented, “Our security locked it down quickly and we got our crew out of there safely. Then we watched TV like everyone else in disbelief at what was happening. This could be me at a show, you at a show. It’s a very recognizable situation. All our thoughts are with the Eagles of Death Metal fans.”
Bono also addressed questions about whether he would go back to Paris, saying “I think music is very important and that U2 has a role to play. I can’t wait until we get back to Paris and play. And that’s the feeling we’re getting from fans is these people will not set our agenda. They’ll not organise our lives for us.”
U2 were in a similar situation after 9/11. “We were the first big band allowed back into New York after 9/11,” Bono said. “The feeling in Madison Square Garden was unbelievable. The feeling was, ‘This is who we are. You can’t change us. You’re not going to turn us into haters. You’re not going to change the way we go about our lives.’ I hope that will be the feeling at Bercy when we get back there.”
RUN THE JEWELS’ EL-P
Cocker wrote a spoken-word poem called ‘I Love You’ in response to the attacks – listen to it in full here, from 1:00:50
GREEN DAY’S FRONTMAN BILLIE JOEL ARMSTRONG
MUSE’S FRONTMAN MATT BELLAMY
FLORENCE + THE MACHINE
YEARS & YEARS
JULIAN DORIO, EAGLES OF DEATH METAL’S DRUMMER
November 13, 2015. I, along with my bandmates @eodmofficial, had the privilege to play to one of the most energetic crowds of our tour when, nearly half way through the show, the unimaginable occurred. Absolute and unnecessary evil turned our world on its head. I am beyond grateful that I was able to find a way out of the venue, but I am mourning those who did not, including our mate, Nick Alexander. My thoughts are with their families. I’m home safe. And now I have a new family abroad. To Arthur, who ran for his life right beside me and selflessly put us in a taxi before himself, thank you. To Fabrice, a fan who lent me his phone later that night so I could call @emilydorio and attempt to put her at ease, thank you. To everyone who, in the face of unrelenting evil, went toe to toe using courage, compassion, and love as their weapons. You all are my heroes. Last but certainly not least, the outreach and support back home is appreciated more than you’ll ever know. I will never forget it. I am forever changed but hold fast to the love around us. I’m counting down the days until I get to finish that concert. Peace & love #prayforparis #bataclan #eodm