Randy Blythe

The international metal scene took a big hit this summer when Lamb of God vocalist Randy Blythe was arrested in the Czech Republic. On June 28th, a Czech news website reported that Blythe was arrested in Prague on charges of manslaughter. In 2010, Blythe was allegedly involved in an incident that resulted in the death of Czech fan Daniel Nosek who, after falling into a coma, died about a month after the concert. Many Czech blogs accused Randy of attacking Daniel. Roughly translated, SicMaggot says that Randy “hit [Daniel] a lot, then jumped on him and held him down while he continued singing? When the fan got up, Randy took him by the hair and threw down again – quite quickly…. It took him a little while to realize what happened and as he struggled to get his breathe back.”

Lamb of God’s publicist quickly commented on the matter: “Under no circumstances was there a fight of any kind involved. This incident deals with a fan that three times during the concert jumped the barricade and rushed Randy during the performance. It is alleged that the third time, security was not able to reach him and that Randy pushed him back into the audience where supposedly he fell and hit his head.”

Based on footage of the show in question, it seems clear that a security guard is to blame for Daniel’s injuries. Debates quickly popped up regarding the whole situation. What rights do fans have while attending shows? What was security doing? Most importantly, what rights do performers have to protect themselves while on stage? At a metal show it is commonplace for fans to be physical and crazy. It is normal for fans to jump on stage and jump off into the crowd – stage diving is part of the scene. It gets tricky when fans try to directly interact with musicians.

Metal Injection notes that “musicians can get quite defensive if they’re feeling attacked on stage, especially after the tragic shooting of Dimebag.” This refers to the death of Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell in 2004 when a crazed fan shot him onstage. Randy’s manager makes an excellent point: “What’s [he] supposed to do? How does he know the guy’s not coming at him with a gun or a knife?” Disturbed vocalist David Draiman also commented on the situation, saying, “I feel for the child and for the family and for Randy, but you have to understand that ever since Dimebag Darrell was assaulted, shot, and murdered on stage by a ‘fan,’ all of us have been very defensive/cautious of anyone jumping up onstage.”

Many international tours are worried about setting up shows in the Czech Republic, or skipping the country altogether. The Czech government didn’t help their case by doubling Randy’s bail twice and holding him even after bail was paid.

Eventually, Randy was freed and returned to the United States. He has stated that he will return to the Czech Republic for trial when necessary.