When Lamb of God frontman Randy Blythe appeared in court on Saturday facing charges of manslaughter, he wore a variation on his stage clothes: camo shorts and a hoodie repping the death-metal band Obituary, but his glasses underscored the seriousness of the charges. Czech authorities arrested the singer last Wednesday, alleging the 41-year-old, Richmond, Virginia-based singer pushed a fan, identified in the Czech press only as 19-year-old “Daniel N.,” from the stage at a May 2010 concert in Prague and that the fan hurt his head in the fall. Daniel died two weeks later after going into a coma from a brain hemorrhage. A statement from the Prague police is charging Blythe with “the crime of bodily harm of the fourth degree resulting in the death of the fan,” according to The New York Times.
Lamb of God’s management issued a statement Friday saying, “This incident deals with a fan that three times during the concert jumped the barricade and rushed Randy during the performance. It is alleged that the third time, security was not able to reach him and that Randy pushed him back into the audience where supposedly he fell and hit his head.” The management promised to issue another statement later this week.
Over the weekend, video surfaced online via the Czech Republic’s TV Nova, which you can watch below, of Blythe pushing a fan off the stage. The video does not depict the event in question, according to the TV station, but is meant to illustrate how Blythe behaves onstage.
If found guilty, Blythe could be looking at five to 10 years in a Czech prison. As a result of the arrest, the group missed their gig Thursday and instead Blythe appeared before a judge, who, ruling the singer a flight risk, set his bail at 4 million Czech korun, which equals a little less than U.S. $200,000. According to the Czech media website blesk.cz, the frontman commented that that is what he makes in a year. Because banks in the Czech Republic were closed over the weekend, Blythe was ordered to stay in the country until he could get the funds today.
According to the blesk.cz via Blabbermouth, Blythe posted the bail but must remain in the prison for at least 10 days. Beyond that, the singer likely won’t be going much farther. Judge Petr Fassati reportedly said, “There may well be certain conditions placed upon [the frontman’s] release, such as staying in the Czech Republic, or the availability of a specific address. If the conditions are violated, it could lead to an international arrest warrant being issued.”
On Sunday, Blythe’s bandmates returned to the States. Guitarist Mark Morton tweeted, “Finally home! Four fifths of us anyway. I can’t wait to give Randy a big bear hug and kiss his pointy, stubbly face!” He also encouraged his fans to wear Lamb of God shirts to show their solidarity with Blythe on the Fourth of July, using the hashtag #FreeRandyBlythe.
Since the arrest, Blythe’s peers in metal bands have been commenting on the incident. Anthrax’s Scott Ian tweeted, “It’s complete and utter bullshit for Randy to be treated like a criminal for something he didn’t do. Now fans can see first-hand why there’s no stagediving anymore. Especially in the post-Darrell world we live in [referring to late Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell, who was shot and killed onstage in 2004]. It’s all fun and games until people get murdered, die and get arrested.” On the more cautious side, Slayer’s Dave Lombardo told Loudwire, “You’ve got to be gentle with these kids. You can’t just push them offstage. We’re talking five feet, sometimes six feet off the ground. That’s a hard fall and if he’s going up against a guardrail or something, you never know what he hit on his way down. I just don’t know what to say, but I see it happening.”