MINISTRY's Toulouse Concert Brings Audience (And Band) To Tears

Radio Metal has posted a new interview with Aaron Rossi in which the MINISTRY drummer discusses the incident that took place on June 24, 2008 at the band's concert at Havana Caf in Toulouse, France. According to the official explanation offered by the group and the venue, MINISTRY's show had to be stopped after a fan allegedly jumped up on stage and attempted to attack the band with tear gas. However, some fans that attended the concert allege that it was in fact the security personnel that used tear gas on the audience, not the other way around. An excerpt from the interview follows.

Radio Metal: I understand there was a problem in Toulouse yesterday. Can you explain the situation?

Aaron Rossi: We probably had a thousand people in the audience, and we knew it was going to be a crazy show. The opening band told us it was like a hundred degrees in there, very hot. We prepared for that we got more water on stage. We were playing, and the show went very well, but all of a sudden, I saw Tony [Campos, bass] run off stage. Then I saw my drum tech, who was starting to unplug things, and he said, "You have to get out of here." When he said that, I took a deep breath, but I couldn't breathe and my eyes started to water. We ran outside, and everybody poured water on our heads and our eyes. They said it was pepper spray or tear gas, something like that. It was pretty scary. We went back out to play again, but one of the fans jumped upon the fence we have on stage and pulled it down. On the other side of the fence was the bass player, Tony, and he was caught underneath the fence. Finally, Al Jourgensen [MINISTRY mainman] said, "No more, this is it." The crowd was being very disrespectful, and he said, "We're done, let's get out of here." We left as soon as possible.

Radio Metal: So it was Al who decided to stop the show. But what was your opinion?

Aaron Rossi: I love to play, but the conditions of the venue were very bad. There wasn't much security, and for a final farewell tour, safety is a must, especially for Al. Some of the fans get really crazy. I follow whatever Al says, whatever songs he wants to play, whatever show he wants to do or cancel, I have to go with him. The only other time we had to cancel half-way was in Hamburg, because the audience were throwing cups at us. My drum-riser was covered in beer, and I had cups hitting me. This was disrespectful, so we got out of there.

Radio Metal: It is sad to conclude a MINISTRY tour in France like this. But when you left the stage, did you understand that there was a problem with someone in the audience?

Aaron Rossi: Yeah. You see, in the United States, we had the murder of Dimebag Darrell from PANTERA. Since then, security has to be very tight. We thought we had everything under control, but last night the conditions were just so terrible that it just became unsafe. We poured water on our heads, but Al Jourgensen has dreadlocks, so no matter what he did, it was dripping down into his eyes. I think the fan was just crazy. I heard he was yelling things about God, like, "Where is my God?" and this and that. I want to think that everybody out there is really nice, but you never know, there are some loonies out there.

The complete interview will be published in a few days on Radio Metal. Meanwhile, you can check out the audio version of this excerpt at this location.

Florian Sliwa, the manager of the band's European label Underclass, followed MINISTRY's farewell tour across France. Here is what he had to say about the incident:

"The security staff at the Havana venue could absolutely not have used teargas, simply because it's forbidden and illegal. If a staff member had used teargas, he would immediately have been fired! However, a guy in the audience used a teargas grenade I saw it with my own eyes. The grenade, which we managed to find at the end of the show, was very small, just about two inches tall. I was standing on the side of the stage when it all happened, and I saw a member of the security staff grab the guy by the arm, but it was too late. Those who claim that the staff used teargas are lying. To me, the various venues are simply trying to settle their scores."

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