Suicidal Tendencies’ Mike Muir + Exodus’ Steve ‘Zetro’ Souza Discuss Fan Deaths at 2014 Shows
During our recent roundtable discussion with Slayer's Tom Araya, Suicidal Tendencies' Mike Muir and Exodus' Steve 'Zetro' Souza, we talked about a lot of topics. We've already posted the trio's discussion about the latest leg of their 2014 tour together, along with a piece where Araya and Muir praised the skills of Eminem, but this part gets into the tragic subject of fans suffering fatal trauma at live shows.
Zetro and Muir share an extremely unfortunate connection. During 2014, fans have died following incidents at concerts headlined by both Suicidal Tendencies and Exodus. Back in January, a man suffered fatal injuries during the Switzerland stop of the 2014 Persistence tour, which was headlined by Suicidal Tendencies. After an ill-fated stage dive, the fan was hospitalized and died two days later. As for Exodus, a fan collapsed during the end of the band's Buenos Aires gig on Oct. 9. The young metalhead went into cardiac arrest, passing away after being placed in an ambulance.
Both events are heartbreaking for not only the deceased fans' loved ones, but for the bands, as well. With both Muir and Zetro on the phone, we asked how a group can continue on performing after such tragedies.
"We found out the next morning," Zetro told us about the Argentinian fan's death. "I remember of the crew came up and one of our techs came and said a fan died last night after the show. This was just recently in Buenos Aires. Jack, our bass player was like, 'I saw it, I saw that.' They were tending to a guy, who was a 21-year-old kid. He had a heart attack and I guess they brought him to the hospital and he died there later that night -- 21 years old."
He continued, "For three days we were like, 'No way.' We don't even want anybody to get hurt at our shows. When they're in the pit, I know that things happen. I tell them to take care of each other, pick each other up, we're all in this together. We always said, "Good, friendly, violent fun." It is what it is, but that's the last thing that we want to hear, so for a few days we were all really affected by that. We were all like, 'Can you believe that?' Someone's last notion -- he came to my show and that's it. It's just very hard to swallow."
Muir began to address the earlier Swiss fan's death. "For us, it's one of those ones with time. When I was young, going to shows, there would be some really, really crazy stuff and somehow people didn't get hurt. I don't know how, you know? Or you got hurt and it was just a souvenir; a scar, that type of thing. Stage diving; I was doing that when I was 15, that was what you did. We were on the Persistence tour in Europe and when you hear someone passes away you're like, "Oh, no," and it's kind of a surreal thing and then you're trying to get information and you're like remembering everything. Unfortunately, it happened at the show."
Muir adds, "We weren't playing when it happened, but it could've happened to any of the bands that were playing, and apparently, what happened was nothing that anybody would have thought, if you saw footage, the guy was hurt, you know? If you saw someone jumping from a 20-foot speaker and you're like, 'Oh, crap!' and people move and you can really get hurt. Things happen all the time and it's sad and you obviously don't want to have that as a part of the show. When we were younger, everybody used to think that people got killed at our shows all the time, now we talk about that and it didn't really happen. That's not the purpose of the show. I don't mind if my kids are young, I can't tell them, 'Hey, if you go to show you can't stage dive.' It's like football, my dad played football in Oakland. He played football in college and his brother did. You just go out there and you play."
The Suicidal Tendencies vocalist concludes, "When you get down to it, [death at a concert] makes a lot of news because it happens so rarely, fortunately. Believe me, especially in the old days, punk rock and thrash and stuff like that, if there were people that were dying, it would have been on 'Donahue' and all that and they would have tried to shut it down really quick. The whole thing about the kid that died in Switzerland is when they were talking about lawsuits and this and that, they actually said, 'That's where he wanted to be.' That's what it's about."
Slayer, Suicidal Tendencies and Exodus began their U.S. tour on Nov. 11 in Oakland, Calif. There are a ton of shows left, so check out the full list of dates here.