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French live industry appeals for state assistance in wake of Paris attacks, as Vice publishes Eagles Of Death Metal interview

By | Published on Thursday 26 November 2015

Eagles Of Death Metal

The French live industry has appealed for €50 million in state aid to help the sector weather the storm that has followed the attacks on Paris earlier this month.

The worst of those attacks, of course, was at the French capital’s Bataclan theatre, where gunmen killed 89 audience members at an Eagles Of Death Metal concert. Shows at venues across the city were cancelled in the immediate wake of the attacks, and while most venues are now open again, trade group Prodiss says that its members need support because of a significant slump in ticket sales, and the need to step up security measures at smaller venues in order to reassure the public.

French culture minister Fleur Pellerin has already released €4 million in emergency funding for the live sector, which Prodiss welcomed. But, the group said, it was far from enough to compensate for the “shockwave” that has hit its industry. “Directly affected by this national tragedy”, it continued, “our sector today needs the support of all players in our ecosystem, including that of public authorities”.

Ticket sales in Paris were down 80% year-on-year in the week after the attacks, and while things have since improved, last weekend was still 50% down on the same period last year.

Noting that the gunmen who struck Paris on 13 Nov staged an attack on the “symbols of our lifestyle and youth”, the live industry trade group also thanked those audience members who have turned out for concerts and theatre shows in the last week, saying that everyone needed to work together to restore the French capital’s cultural scene, which would provide “the real proof that we can pick ourselves up and get back life”.

In addition to requesting state assistance for its industry, Prodiss is also proposing that its members across France donate one euro from each ticket sold in December to funds supporting the victims of the Paris attacks and their families.

In related news, Vice has published its interview with the members of Eagles Of Death Metal – including the band’s co-founder Josh Homme, who wasn’t at the Paris show – about the attacks.

Band members describe the events that occurred in the Bataclan as the attacks unfolded in harrowing detail in an emotional interview, with frontman Jesse Hughes revealing he came face to face with one of the gunmen as he and his bandmates attempted to flee. “He turned on me, brought his gun down, and the barrel hit the doorframe”, Hughes says. He and most of the band then managed to exit the building.

Bassist Matt McJunkins, who found himself on the side of the stage with no exit route, hid with fans in a backstage room as the gunmen continued to run rampage. “The gunfire got closer, it went on for maybe ten, fifteen minutes, it just didn’t stop”, he explains. “And then it would stop and there was a sense of relief and then it would start up again”. Then came an explosion “that just shook the whole room and probably the whole building” as one of the gunmen detonated his bomb belt.

Despite their experiences, the band have vowed to continue performing. McJunkins says “music is what we do, it’s our lives, and there’s no way we’re not going to keep doing it”.

Meanwhile Hughes adds: “I want to be the first band to play in the Bataclan when it opens back up. Our friends went there to see rock n roll and died. I want to go back there and live”.

You can watch the full interview, conducted by Vice founder Shane Smith, here: