LAMB OF GOD frontman Randy Blythe was interviewed on this morning’s (Friday, August 10) edition of the KROQ morning radio program “The Kevin Bean Show”. You can now listen to the chat using the audio player below.
Blythe was released from a prison in Prague, the Czech Republic, on August 2, more than a month after he was arrested and incarcerated on charges of alleged manslaughter. Blythe was facing the possibility of conviction and a long-term jail sentence after a 2010 incident in which a fan attending a LAMB OF GOD show died almost a month later, allegedly from injuries sustained when he was thrown off the stage. Blythe‘s predicament galvanized the heavy rock community, with artists across the hard rock genre pledging their support.
On the alleged incident at a LAMB OF GOD concert that resulted in the death of a fan:
Randy: “We played a show in Prague and a young man was injured and fell into a coma and died a month later. And then the Czech police started to investigate this and contacted our government and said, ‘Hey, we wanna investigate this guy on possible manslaughter charges.’
“It was a heavy metal show; people jump up on stage and go crazy and all this other stuff — it’s standard. [It happens] every single day.
“The young man in question left the stage and hit his head, and the young man’s family — rightfully so — asked the Czech police to investigate this.
“I don’t think the Czech police, or police probably in general, have a pretty firm grasp on what a heavy metal show is like and what goes on. So there’s a lot of really questionable evidence about this young man’s injury. Regardless, I was charged with manslaughter.”
On how he ended up getting arrested:
Randy: “Apparently, the Czech police wrote to our Justice Department and contacted them, perhaps the FBI as well, and said, ‘We have this charge and this investigation against this young man for manslaughter. And our government basically told them, ‘No way. Get out of here.’ I don’t know if they thought the charge was unwarranted enough for them to even bother to pursue it. And that’s okay; I understand that. But our government never notified me. I’m kind of perturbed about that.
“So we booked [another] gig [in Prague], no problem, two years later and went back to play, and I was met by a S.W.A.T. team at the airport when I walked off the ramp to carry me away; there were guys with masks and machine guns — it was pretty intense.
“I understand if our government didn’t wanna comply ’cause they didn’t think it was worth their time, but they could have let me know. If the IRS can find me and the Justice Department can’t, then our contry is in trouble.”
“For the first two or three minutes [after I was detained], I was completely in shock. I’m standing there and it looks like with the people they’d sent to come get me, but they’re there to pick up al-Qaeda. They had on full-on masks, machine guns, big knives, all this stuff. I came off the plane, actually, and they took our passports, which was a little bit unusual, but I’ve seen it before, ’cause we travel all the time… With people getting deported, or whatever — that’s generally what it is; people hopping borders illegally or whatever. So I come off the plane and I see all these guys, great, big guys with guns, and I look at my bass player and I start singing KOOL THE GANG. I’m like, ‘It’s a party going on right here.’ And he goes, ‘No, dude. This isn’t a party. This is not good.’ [So] they took me away and it was very… it was startling more than terrifying, ’cause everything was so surreal.”
On his time in the Czech prison:
Randy: “The Czech legal system works different than ours — really different than ours — because they granted me bail at my initial court hearing. In the United States, when you’re granted bail, if the judge decided to give you bail, you post bail and then you walk out of jail. Your wife comes and gets you, or whatever, and you say you’re sorry… And the Czech Republic doesn’t quite work that way. The judge granted me bail, my band got the money together, posted it, and then the prosecuting attorney said, ‘No, I don’t really like that.’ So he raised an objection. So it went to an appeal court. The appeal court doubled my bail. We’re talking about $400,000 at this point. So they had to kind of scramble to get that money together. Then the prosecuting attorney, after I paid it a second time, objected and said, ‘I don’t really like this. I don’t think he should get out on bail.’ So I sat in jail some more and it went to another appeal court and then I got out.”
On whether anyone from the U.S. government offered any assistance to him while he was in the Czech prison:
Randy: “I saw a woman from the [American] embassy in Prague once. To my knowledge, I was the only American in prison there in Pankrác in Prague. So it wasn’t like they had a whole slew of guys — from Colorado to New Jersey to Texas, or whatever — in there. [but they didn’t really do anything for me], and I’m not very pleased about that either. I mean, I understand it’s due process and there was an investigation, but the judicial system there is kind of messed up.”
On whether any of his fellow prisoners knew who he was:
Randy: “Some [of the other people in prison] did — I had some fans in there. [And] that could be good and it could be bad; it depends on whether or not they like your music.”
On where the case stands right now:
Randy: “If it gets to trial, I don’t know yet. It could be right before Christmas, it could be after Christmas, it could be the beginning of next year. It’s not for certain that [the case] will go to trial, because I’ve been charged by the police, but then, as I said, the Czech judicial system is weird, the prosecuting attorney hasn’t charged me yet. So you’ve gotta get charged by a whole bunch of guys before things start going through. But if I have to go, I will go.”
On whether he was aware of the support he was receiving back home from his fans and the rest of the music community:
Randy: “I had minimal news of the progression of my case, because almost nobody in there spoke English and I couldn’t read a Czech newspaper. But my lawyer told me, ‘Your hometown is really standing behind you, all your fans are. There’s a lot of people in the music industry standing behind you.’ And I didn’t realize how much it was until I got out. ‘Cause in there, prisoners would just give me little tidbits, who spoke broken English. I’d come out to our hourly walk and they’d be like [adopting Czech accent], ‘Ozzy Osbourne said something good for you.’ Slash from GUNS N’ ROSES… all sorts of people, who are just legends in the music industry, were really supportive and speaking out, and our fans were certainly supportive.”