LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Members of the Palm Desert rock band caught up in the Paris terror attacks spoke out about their horrifying experience.
Co-founder and lead vocalist Jesse Hughes recounted the night of horror when he came face-to-face with one of the jihadists. “I opened up the hallway door, and that’s when I saw the shooter. And he turned on me, brought his gun down and the barrel hit the door frame.” Hughes said that’s when he had a second to escape.
“I see the shooting. I see it. Pops go off. The lights flashing, sort of dive over and then just have to make that decision of whether do I really run across the stage or do I want to go in this room and hope for the best?” bassist Matt McJunkins said.
Sound engineer Shawn London said the gunman “continue to shoot and shoot and slaughter and just scream at the top of his lungs: ‘Allah Akbar!’ And that’s when I instantly knew what was going on.”
Hughes was able to escape through a side exit door. “I felt so guilty that I had left Matt on stage and maybe Davie too. And I didn’t want anything to have happened to them. And I really needed them to have gotten off the stage because I didn’t see what happened when I got off. And Joshua wouldn’t let me think about that. I just hope you understand Baby Duck that I love you very much. And you are here for us.” Hughes said as his hand reached out to his friend.
Joshua Homme is the other founder of the band, but he was not in Paris the night of the attacks. He was the first person Hughes texted about what happened. The text read: “Everyone is shot. They took hostages. I’ve got blood all over me.” “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,” Hughes said.
All the bandmates made it out alive, except for their British merchandise manager Nick Alexander, who was among 89 people killed at Batalcan. “I think about Nick who protected a friend of his,” Homme said. “He stayed quiet and never called for help until he bled out because he didn’t want anyone else to get hurt,” Hughes sobbed.
The musicians said they will not let the terrorists silence them or keep them from playing the music they love. They hope to be the first band that plays at Bataclan when the concert hall reopens.
“Our friends went there to see rock ‘n roll and died. I’m going to go back there and live,” Hughes said.
The coordinated terror attacks left 129 people dead and 352 injured.
To watch the complete interview, click on the clip below.