MetalInsider.net: What was Randy's [Blythe, Lamb Of God singer] arrest like from your perspective?
Chris: We'd been playing all these big festivals in Europe. We were about five weeks into the tour with just one day off a week. Every day we'd wake up and fly or wake up and drive for ten hours and set up and play. That's what we're used to, but it's a little harder in Europe because it's not our own backyard, so we were all pretty burnt out. We had maybe a week left before we went home and were seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. We'd played the Hove festival in Norway the night before, and there were three flights to get to Prague. We'd left at 7 or 8 in the morning and got in around 7 or 8 at night. Of the seven days we were playing, this was going to be our one night off, so it wasn't like we were getting off the plane and going right to the show. As soon as we walked off the plane, there were these two plainclothes officers pulling people aside. Initially, I didn't notice it was only our band and crew, because there's always random checks for passports or immigration.
It was kind of odd because once the plane had stopped at the gate and the seat belt sign went off, it was almost an hour before they let people off the plane. I guess now it was the authorities trying to figure out how to handle the situation and not scare the shit out of people on the plane. So we're getting off the plane along with everyone else, and they're pulling us aside one at a time.
At first I didn't think anything of it, and then they pulled me aside and I still didn't think anything of it. Then I notice that it's not random and it's just the band and the crew. I still wasn't thinking anything of it since we all check in together, maybe somebody forgot something that they shouldn't have put in their bag on an airplane and they're going to want to talk to us all about it. Then once they had us all corralled together, the 12 of us, they opened a door behind us to another room, and I assumed it was just to begin the process of telling us what the deal was or what the fine was for carrying liquor or a joint in a bag or something. So we walk in this room and there's ten guys that look like they're ready for the apocalypse. Scary, scary dudes with black ski masks on, huge machine guns, full body armor, guns strapped to thighs, calves and chests, and mace out. This is where it gets very scary, and we realized it was something far more than what someone had in their bag.
The plainclothes officer explained to us in broken English that they were investigating a homicide. Even when they said that, of course it became much more serious than someone pissing in public, but still, we'd been flying around the world for the last 5 ½ weeks, maybe something happened at one of these festivals and they're talking to all of the bands, or someone we know might be in trouble we never thought they were investigating us. Then they hand us all a piece of paper that explains in broken English about the situation that happened in 2010. They said they needed us all for interrogation, but they're taking Randy with us now. That's when it hit us.
No one had heard anything about this, it was very very scary to be involved in, and we realized with the SWAT team standing around us that there was nothing we could do about it. And that's exactly how we felt for the next five weeks. Every day the information that we got was different from the day before. They'd ask for a certain amount of money, they'd change it the next day, we'd pay it, then nothing would happen. We did everything we could from this side to try to get him out. We stayed there the next night and the band and crew was interrogated the entire next day. As soon as we were let out, we drove to the German border and stayed there for the next two days, assuming common sense would sink in and they would let him out, because this is crazy.
The news from the lawyers was getting worse and worse, and we were advised to go home before anything might happen to one of us. So we did we came home and did our best to pool our resources and do what we could from here to help out. We were all working very hard behind the scenes and hiring legal people and private investigators and trying to do what we could to get our guy out of there. As far as we were concerned, and still are, it's such a random series of events that led to what's obviously a tragedy. It's very hard for us to accept responsibility for something so random.
How surreal was it for those several days when you were in a different country awaiting word of his fate?
There's a mix of emotions. We were first told that someone passed away at one of our shows. That in itself is pretty devastating news. We certainly don't go into our shows with any malice or wanting to hurt anybody, we're having a good time. And the people that come to our shows are having a good time. That's what it's all about. I've heard about other incidents like these happening before, and I imagine how terrible the family must feel for something like this. But the band, and not just our band, but any entertainer, has to feel terrible, because that's the exact opposite of why anyone would go there. At the same time, being given the information that it's your fault, and we're arresting you, and that could be the end of your career, you're immediately defensive, like, "What the fuck are you talking about? How could this be our fault?" But you want to be sensitive to the fact that someone was hurt or died at a show. Those two emotions don't mix well together, so it was a very confusing time.
Has the Prague situation led you to take a look at onstage security and second guess what you're doing?
It has. We sat down and discussed this with our management. We talked about what we could have done differently, and what we could do differently going forward to make sure this doesn't happen again. Basically, what we came up with is that we really are doing everything we can to make sure the situation doesn't happen. In all the contracts the promoters get from the booking agents and management, it includes the need for proper security to put on a safe show. Even at the show we had there, there was security hired. This was just a fluke accident, and I don't know that if we changed everything we did, and made everyone that walked through the door sign a waiver, and had the band walking around in bubble suits, and had the ground padded with foam, I don't think there's anything we could really do that would create an environment where something this random couldn't happen again. It really was so far out of the realm of impossibility to begin with that I don't think us changing anything would necessarily fix the situation.
Read the entire interview from MetalInsider.net.