Enlarge Photo by Anthony Diaz

Fan Sues Every Time I Die Guitarist for Stage Diving on Her Head

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Almost ten years ago, we did this interview with The Dillinger Escape Plan’s Greg Puciato where he talked about one of the most real dangers metal and hardcore musicians face today: lawsuits.

“The thing I worry about is the lawsuits, getting sued and never being able to have a life after this because, y’know, not me but someone else at a show decided it was too much for them and decided to sue us, which happens all the time… there’s a lot of people who listened to, like, Sum 41 a year ago but now are like ‘Oh, this is the real shit, I wanna get as close as possible to it and see what it’s all about,’ so there’s like, little girls and boys that were into, like, almost pop music a couple of years ago and now they come to a Dillinger show, into a world that they had no, like, slow coming into, you know what I mean? They’d never seen another hardcore band, and they’d never been to like a Converge show or whatever, and now they come to something they’re not used to, and they sit right in front because they’re just like ‘I love them!’ And between kids going off and us going crazy, something happens.”

Puciato’s quote immediately jumped into my mind when I read this story on WXYZ 7 (via Metal Injection):

“Musician Jordan Buckley, a guitarist for the band Every Time I Die, is being sued by a woman after he allegedly leapt from the stage directly onto her head.

“Tonya Ross, who was present at the Crofoot Ballroom in Pontiac during the concert, said she suffered catastrophic injuries from the incident.

“Ross said Buckley didn’t warn audience members of his intent to jump into the crowd, and she also said she was completely caught off guard.

“Upon visiting her primary physician the next day, Ross was told that she suffered a concussion and neck fracture.

“She said she is required to attend ongoing physical therapy and medical appointments.”

I mean… I don’t know what to say. Maybe I’d feel different if I was the injured party. But jeez, now musicians are supposed to “warn audience members of their intent to jump into the crowd”? C’mon. You’re not at a Loudon Wainwright show. When Every Time I Die perform, they — and their fans — go fucking nuts. I literally saw them tear the roof down during a performance this summer (they autographed and sold the chunk of the ceiling they’d ripped free to repay the damages, which was very clever). Unless you somehow go to see ETID with no awareness whatsoever of who they are or what they’re like (e.g., a friend dragged you and shittily did not prepare you at all), you should have some sense that people, both in the band and in the crowd, are going to stage dive. It blows to get hurt, but there must be a reasonable expectation (yay lawyer-speak) that injury is a possibility in such an environment.

But my opinion, of course, doesn’t mean shit. The real question is, does Tonya Ross have a case? I have no idea; I suspect it may come down to whether or not the venue put up signs warning people about moshing and stage diving. My hopefully it won’t matter either way. As Puciato said later in that same interview:

“Usually what happens is they start a lawsuit, realize we’re not rich, and then the whole thing will just disappear. ‘Cause no lawyer is gonna spend fucking two years or whatever trying to get the ball rolling on something that’s not gonna pay.”

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