New York: Eagles of Death Metal, the US band whose audience was massacred in the Paris attacks, on Wednesday called for "love and compassion" and put its shows on hold. The California rock band, in its first full statement since Friday's bloodbath, said it was "horrified" and "still trying to come to terms with what happened."
"Although bonded in grief with the victims, the fans, the families, the citizens of Paris, and all those affected by terrorism, we are proud to stand together, with our new family, now united by a common goal of love and compassion," the band said in a statement.
"We would like to thank the French police, the FBI, the US and French state departments, and especially all those at ground zero with us who helped each other as best they could during this unimaginable ordeal, proving once again that love overshadows evil," it said.
The band appeared eager to preserve at least a touch of its tongue-in-cheek spirit after the tragedy, posting pictures on social media of the California-style hand greetings that appeared on the cover of its debut album "Peace, Love and Death Metal" and placing them over the tricolour French flag.
"Vive la musique, vive la liberte, vive la France and vive EODM," the band wrote, playing with France's slogan of "liberty, equality and fraternity." The band, which confirmed it had returned home, said it was suspending shows until further notice.
Charity for victims
The Sweet Stuff Foundation, a charity linked to the band in their home of Palm Desert, California, said it would dedicate all donations until the end of the year to families affected by the attack. Josh Homme, a founder of the band alongside Jesse Hughes and also the frontman of Queens of the Stone Age, had set up the foundation to support musicians, recording engineers and their families when they fall on hard times.
Three suspected Islamic extremists opened fire as the band performed at the Bataclan concert hall, killing 89 people before dying from their suicide vests. The concert venue experienced the deadliest carnage in a series of simultaneous attacks around Paris that left a total of 129 people dead and more than 350 injured.
Eagles of Death Metal are known for free-spirited garage rock and raunchy humor but are not generally known for politics. While it remained unclear whether the band was singled out, Eagles of Death Metal had earlier defied boycott calls and performed in Israel.
The band members themselves left safely but the statement mourned Nick Alexander, a British merchandise vendor for the group who was killed, as well as three slain employees of its Universal record group, Thomas Ayad, Marie Mosser and Manu Perez. Ayad was prominent in music circles as a France-based international product manager for Mercury Records.
"Words cannot express the horror of what happened in Paris," said Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, who posted a picture of himself with Ayad on social media. Pop star Justin Bieber, whose latest album had come out hours before the attack also hailed Ayad. "He was a part of the team for years and I wish I would've had more time to thank him. Make sure to appreciate people while you have them," Bieber wrote.
Since the tragedy, British fans have led a drive to bring "Save a Prayer," which the band apparently had just played before the assault, to the top of the chart. Duran Duran, the pop legends who wrote the original 1982 song, said the band would donate royalties from increased sales to charity.
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