Lamb of God Vocalist Randy Blythe Found Not Guilty in Concert Accident

March 6th, 2013

Liberty Mosh Pit

The Lamb of God song “Omerta” begins with the following quoted interpretation of the Italian honor code of the same name, “Whoever appeals to the law against his fellow man is either a fool or a coward. Whoever cannot take care of himself without that law is both. For a wounded man shall say to his assailant, ‘If I live, I will kill you, If I die, You are forgiven.’ Such is the rule of honor.” While this honor code is incompatible with a free society that protects innocents against aggressors, it is a strange coincidence that one of Randy Blythe’s most difficult chapters in life would come when understandably grief-stricken friends of Daniel Nosek, the victim of a tragic accident at a Lamb of God concert in the Czech Republic, appealed to the law with manslaughter charges in a type of case that would ordinarily be decided in civil court.

At the concert in question, the mosh pit began to spill onstage. As security lost control of fans, Daniel Nosek fell offstage and hit his head, an accident that would prove fatal days later. There was controversy about whether or not Randy Blythe might have pushed him offstage. The Lamb of God frontman decided to stand trial, despite not being extradited, and was acquitted of manslaughter charges yesterday.

Concert Security Should Keep Fans Offstage

Heavy metal concerts are organized mobs in a way. On the balance, fans are respectful of the unspoken boundaries set by concert organizers. Moshing typically remains in the front, near the stage, and those who get caught in one unwillingly are helped on their way quickly. For this reason, accidents at concerts are very rare compared to contact sports like football or rugby.

However, at large concerts, security plays a role in keeping fans from rushing the stage. Musicians are typically using thousands of dollars worth of delicate equipment, and concerts become dangerous when too many people flood onstage at once. Fans know they’re not allowed to charge the stage, and stage-diving itself is extraordinarily risky. Security was responsible for keeping fans away from the stage. In most situations like this, one would expect the fan’s family to sue the concert’s promoters, rather than pursuing criminal charges against a musician.

The Broader Implications of Randy Blythe’s Acquittal

In a way, every heavy metal and hardcore punk musician worldwide was standing trial with Randy Blythe. When people rush the stage, musicians have to somehow keep playing, protect their equipment, and keep themselves out of harms way. Pantera guitarist “Dimebag” Darrell was slain when a crazed fan shot him during a concert. There are risks when hundreds of strangers get so excited that many of them begin disobeying the boundaries of the concert and pouring onstage.

If musicians were to be held criminally responsible for these types of tragic accidents in the Czech Republic, bands would have stopped touring through that country anymore. Concert promoters put Randy Blythe in the situation he was in. Fans rushed the stage despite knowing that there are risks and that the only way to get back off would be to stage dive.

It’s worth noting that Blythe chose to stand trial despite the fact that he was not extradited. He could have avoided the entire situation by never returning to the Czech Republic. He risked going to prison for years to prove his innocence and to give closure to Daniel Nosek’s family. In so doing, he helped improve the Czech Republic’s legal system by preventing the creation of a precedent that would have likely ruined concerts in the country for good.

Said Blythe of his decision, “It would be absolutely intolerable for me to hide from this situation. I am an innocent man, but a family suffers the loss of a son, a fan of my band. That is what this whole thing is truly about, not prison, not money, not politics, not me – it is about a young man who lost his life at just 19 years of age. He will never come back, and it breaks my heart.”

May Daniel Nosek rest in peace.

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About the Author: Barry Donegan

Barry Donegan is a singer for the experimental mathcore band Look What I Did, a writer, a self-described "veteran lifer in the counterculture", a political activist/consultant, and a believer in the non-aggression principle.