Music world, at least the metal aspect of it, was shaken by news of the arrest of the first man of American metal band Lamb Of God, Randy Blythe, on the Prague airport, story soon developing into a big legal battle and all in all, an unsure future of Blythe, as well as the band’s future too.
Everyone who followed the story from the day of the arrest knows that Randy Blythe was met on the Czech airport and arrested under suspicion for manslaughter almost two years after a fan died, two months after a Lamb Of God show in Prag in 2010, over massive hemorrhage in the brain caused by a fall from the stage after Blythe himself allegedly showed him off of it. This is why it is not surprising that Randy Blythe’s case soon awakened international media attention, for all the 37 days Blythe spent in jail up until August 3rd when he was released to his home in Virginia.
In an interview given a week after he came home, Blythe talked about the support he got during his imprisonment, not only from fans and fellow musicians but also from the citizens of his home town Richmond, who did not doubt, not for a second, in his innocence, emphasizing once more that he feels absolutely innocent, but also a responsible man who will come back to the trial in Prague should the charge be officially raised and if it comes to trial which could bring him behind bars for the next 10 years.
However, why are we repeating a story we have been following for over a month now? For one simple reason, Randy Blythe is a star of metal music, an idol to many metal kids around the world and a man whose band plays music which the average listener would call „aggressive“. Has Randy Blythe spent 37 days in Czech prison exactly for this reason – prejudice of „aggressiveness“, has he been behind bars because there are evidence indicating his guilt or was there a „short circuit“ in the legal systems of Czech Republic and the USA? And how easy it is today, inspite of all the security measures and guards on shows, to be a „star“ and deal with what fans think of as ordinary and their right – to get closer to their music idols? Remember how many times, after not getting an autogramme and/or photograph with your music favourites, have you yourself concluded they are „arrogant“, not thinking that behind all those security lines, bodyguards, ‘running’ to tour buses etc. the first thing is really first – safety, our own, sometimes wishing to be a part of their world for a moment, as well as theirs, safety of our favourite musicians. Had Lamb Of God, on which shows fans jumping on the stage is ordinary, the security in front of the stage, as well as fans on the show in Prague in 2010 thought about safety first and probably health and life risks of everyone, today the legal systems of Czech Republic and the USA would not determine the clear and less clear facts and circumstances in the case of Randy Blythe, and Blythe would, instead of adjusting to normal life in Richmond, play an American tour after a successful European leg with his Lamb Of God. Instead, Blythe is waiting whether or not charges against him will be raised by the Czech Prosecutor’s Office and a date of a possible trial, waiting to get back on stage with Lamb Of God, which will happen on a two-day Knotfest.
Regardless of the stance you took on the Randy Blythe case, one thing is clear: the man spent 37 days in jail without charges by the Prosecutor’s Office. Would the same thing happen if it was one of the world’s pop/rock stars whose music does not evoke „aggressiveness“ in their average listener? Or would the diplomacy and justice play a different card were that the case? Those are some of many questions whose answers we will have to wait for until the Randy Blythe case is officially closed. Until then – listen and respect your music idols, enjoy music and think about yours and their safety regardless of how emotiones sometimes carry you. Safety comes first! That is the best thing we can learn from Randy’s experience.
Comment: Ivana Sataić