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Eagles of Death Metal singer: 'I want everyone to have guns'
Jesse Hughes is a firm advocate for access to guns. Photo: AFP

Eagles of Death Metal singer: 'I want everyone to have guns'

AFP/The Local · 16 Feb 2016, 07:43

Published: 16 Feb 2016 07:43 GMT+01:00

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Eagles of Death Metal frontman Jesse Hughes said on the eve of the band's return to Paris that until "no one has guns then everyone should have them."

Hughes, a long-time advocate for people to have free access to guns, told French TV channel I-Tele that his view have not changed since three jihadists killed 90 of the bands fans at  their concert in November.

"Did French gun control stop a single fucking person from dying at the Bataclan? And if anyone can answer yes, I'd like to hear it, because I don't think so.

"The only thing that stopped it was some of the bravest men I have ever seen charging head-first into the face of death with their guns," said the singer.

"I know people will disagree, but it seems like God made men and women and that night guns made them equal," said Hughes, a member of the National Rifle Association and supporter of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

"I think the only way that my mind has been changed is that until nobody has guns, then everyone needs them... I want everyone to have access to them and I saw people die that could have lived," he said.

Hughes, who "doesn't go anywhere in America without a gun" was speaking the night before the toughest gig of his life, when the band will on Tuesday play again in front of many of the fans who survived November's massacre at the Bataclan concert hall in Paris.

The area around the city's Olympia theatre is being locked down by police, and a psychologist who has been treating the victims warns the gig could trigger panic. A team of 30 volunteer counsellors and psychologists will be on hand in the theatre.

Those fans have been given free tickets, but may not go, because like the lead signer, the fear and the trauma has not subsided three months on.

"I am scared, I am really scared," Hughes told AFP in a highly emotional interview.

"I hope I can walk out on that stage and be stronger than I am being right now. I don't want to fall to pieces in front of everyone. That is my biggest fear.

"I can't let my friends down," he said, referring to the band's fans, 90 of whom died in the bloodbath. "Because they haven't let me down.

(The band lay flowers outside the Bataclan theatre. Photo: Screengrab Skynews)

"The moment (the killing) was happening, as I was running for my life down the alleyway, a guy was next to me and he was having trouble walking. I could see he was bleeding heavily from his side and I still don't know what happened to him.

"He sucked in a breath and he said: 'Your last show was a lot better'."

Hughes let out a loud throaty laugh, letting his box of 200 Camel cigarettes drop to the floor, only for the tears once again to appear in his eyes.

'So incredibly brave'

"That is so incredibly brave," he said, "to make a joke, to keep it light... They were facing death and their mind was on lightening the mood.

That is the example I am going to endeavour to follow (at the gig)... It is going to be regular rock show.

"It is heavy enough as it is," he said, knowing that some of the band's fans will have to be helped into the Olympia theatre in wheelchairs and crutches, while others are as yet too traumatized to go.

(Eagles of Death Metal play on stage with U2 in Paris last year. PHoto: AFP)

Story continues below…

"I want to see my friends smile again," Hughes added, choking back the tears. "I want to see all those smiles that greeted me in Paris that night. I really need to see those faces smiling again."

He believed destiny was driving the band to return, only three months after 130 people were killed across Paris by jihadist gunmen.

"Does it really matter if I feel it is too early? The time is now. Some people think it is too early for cancer surgery, but the time is now to cut it out.

"This is a psychological, emotional cancer that infected the whole world and I think we are in the midst of seeing one of the most beautiful things that you can see... a group of people refusing to let this cancer take over.

"It is not supposed to be easy. It is supposed to be hard," he said.

"I understand what the people who cannot come are feeling. I know in my heart the right thing to do is the hardest thing to do. And the thing that is going to achieve the exponential amount of healing is the thing that is hardest."

He said the concert was one way to battle their demons: "I hope and pray everyone is going to leave some shit there and make room for some new good stuff."

AFP/The Local (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

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