This Article is From Nov 15, 2015

A Band Known for Wit, Now Linked to Tragedy

A Band Known for Wit, Now Linked to Tragedy

People bring flowers and light candles at the Republic square during a vigil for victims of the terror attacks in Paris, November 14, 2015.

The band that was playing Friday evening at The Bataclan concert hall in Paris, where about 100 people were killed in one of a wave of attacks on the city, has an inadvertently alarming name: Eagles of Death Metal.

Some people on social media found the name disturbing. Others mistook it as an indication that the group plays death metal - a particularly dark subgenre of heavy metal - leading to a few insistent corrections on Twitter as well as carefully worded explanations from television news anchors.

In fact, the group, from Palm Desert, California, mixes driving blues-rock of 1970s vintage with a heavy dose of humor. For fans of Eagles of Death Metal, the band's name is part of its irreverent charm.

"We kind of have a rule with Eagles of Death Metal that it's the fun show, and we want everyone to belong," Jesse Hughes, one of the group's two leaders, said in a recent interview with Rolling Stone.

But as news spread across social media, fans - as well as many more who had probably never heard of the group before - expressed horror over the scene at The Bataclan. Witnesses said gunmen fired into the audience, and French television and news services reported that at least 100 people had been killed.

The band's members were reported safe Friday night.

"No members of the band were killed," said a statement from Universal, the band's label. "That is confirmed."

The Bataclan, which can hold about 1,500 people, dates from the 1860s and was named after an operetta by Jacques Offenbach, a 19th-century master of French light opera. But in recent years, the space has become known for rock concerts and, according to some reports, Eagles of Death Metal were playing to a sold-out house Friday night.

The band, formed in 1998, is closely associated with Queens of the Stone Age, which specializes in the fuzzy guitar sounds of 1970s metal. Joshua Homme, the leader of Queens of the Stone Age, is the other primary member of Eagles of Death Metal, which was on a European tour for "Zipper Down," its first album in seven years.

Homme, who rarely tours with Eagles of Death Metal, was not with the group in Paris.

The music industry was largely stunned by the news of the massacre. The band U2 announced that it had canceled a concert scheduled in Paris on Saturday. HBO was to have broadcast it live.

"We watched in disbelief and shock at the unfolding events in Paris and our hearts go out to all the victims and their families across the city tonight," the band said in a statement. "We are devastated at the loss of life at the Eagles of Death Metal concert and our thoughts and prayers are with the band and their fans."
© 2015, The New York Times News Service