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Disturbed singer David Draiman and Slash are among the artists who have spoken out in defense of Lamb Of God vocalist Randy Blythe, who has been jailed in Prague, the Czech Republic, where he is accused of causing the death of a fan at one of the band's shows in 2010. According to MTV News, Blythe was arrested last week at the Prague airport and charged with manslaughter in connection with a 2010 Prague concert at which he allegedly shoved a local fan off the stage. The man, who had stormed the stage three times during the show, reportedly suffered a brain hemorrhage that resulted in his death 14 days later.
Blythe faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted. Although he posted the Czech equivalent of $200,000 in bail, he may remain behind bars if a judge feels he is a flight risk.
A number of Blythe's fellow rockers have come to his defense, with many of them citing the 2004 shooting death onstage of Pantera guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott as the reason why musicians are so defensive nowadays about fans invading the stage.
Draiman said on Twitter, "The kid jumped on stage and started a brawl, and Randy defended himself. That his life was lost in the process is truly unfortunate, but Randy is my friend and he's no murderer. I feel for the child and for the family and for Randy, but you have to understand that ever since Dimebag Darrell was assaulted, shot, and murdered on stage by a 'fan,' all of us have been very defensive/cautious of anyone jumping up on stage."
Draiman's bandmate and drummer Mike Wengren told us not along after Dimebag was shot that his death had cast a shadow over live performing. "I think one of the most scariest things is, you go up onstage, and there's this energy transfer between the band and the crowd, and you almost feel invincible. You feel very empowered. Never in a million years would anyone ever think something like that was even possible, and I think it just caught everyone off guard. It's pretty scary."
Five Finger Death Punch bassist Chris Kael simply tweeted, ""Everything changed on December 8, 2004. #stayoffthestage #FreeRandyBlythe."
Slash also posted the "Free Randy Blythe" hashtag, while Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian wrote, "It's complete and utter bull---- for him to be treated like a criminal for something he didn't do. Now fans can see firsthand why there's no stage diving anymore. Especially in the post-Darrell world we live in . . . Of course it's sad that this person died, it's a tragedy, but it's not Randy's fault."
Lamb Of God had been touring Europe in support of its latest album, Resolution, when Blythe was arrested. The band canceled the rest of its shows and returned home to Richmond, Virginia on Sunday (July 1st) -- all, of course, except Blyth