Randy Blythe – Dark Days: A Memoir
When you’re in a band, you do everything you can to tour the areas where your music speaks to people. Often times those tours can bring you to other countries where people speak languages other than your own, but the message of your music is still there. Sadly, sometimes things can get lost in translation and some places may not abide by the same rules that you are accustom to, like not climbing onto the stage when a band is performing.
Sadly, Randy Blythe, lead vocalist of the band Lamb Of God had a firsthand experience with this type of situation and it ended in a very chaotic situation. In 2012 when Blythe and his band arrived in Prague for a show, he was greeted by Czech officers and handed a note saying he was responsible for the death of a young man that attended one of his concerts in 2010. The fan had climbed onto the stage during the performance and was pushed away by Blythe. The fan injured his head, went into a coma, and died. All of this could have been avoided if the fan had stayed in the crowd instead of trying to get on stage. In Dark Days: A Memoir, Blythe gives us the real story straight from his own mind — no ghostwriters, just him.
You get an excellent sense of Blythe’s mindset right from the introduction:
This book is dedicated to anyone who tries to do the right thing. There are those who talk a lot of talk, and then there are those who walk the walk. To the ones who still put in the hard yards, even when it’s scary: I salute you. This is also for anyone struggling with alcohol or drug addiction. There is a better way, trust me — you don’t have to live that way anymore if you don’t want to.
What follows is a very intense, real story about what Blythe went through and how doing the right thing is not always easy, but worth it in the end. Toxic prison accommodations, interesting prison mates, missing home, sobriety, discipline, loss, honesty, memories — these are all things that Blythe opens up about throughout the book. One moment that stands out to me is about halfway through the book when Blythe takes a moment to make a list of the things his is grateful for. To be able to find things to be thankful for when in such a shitty situation is very admirable. It took a lot of personal strength to power through everything that he went through and I thank him for sharing it with the world.
Let’s also take a moment to focus on something that has to change: security at concerts, for both the fans and the bands performing. There have been tragedies on both ends and this is something that should be 100% preventable. When you purchase entry to a show it does not include stage access unless the band gives you permission to do so, aka do not climb onto the stage. Your ticket does not grant you permission to do as you please. Most musicians are grateful for their fan base and will do their best to meet them after the show is over — there’s no need to climb on stage and interrupt the performance. It’s very easy to have something go wrong — tripping over wires/monitors, being on the wrong end of a swinging guitar, etc —causing injury to yourself and the musicians; it’s just not worth it. Enjoy the show and be thankful that we still live in a time when bands can afford to bring their music to us directly.
Overall, Dark Days is an intimate look into Randy Blythe’s world when it got turned upside down and how he came out of it with a positive attitude. If you’re a fan of Randy Blythe, Lamb Of God, or just engaging biographies, you definitely need to give this book a read.