By Jon Wiederhorn
The surreal plight of Lamb of God vocalist Randy Blythe was one of the more bizarre stories of 2012. After the band's airplane touched down in Prague, where the group was scheduled to play a concert in June of that year, Blythe was arrested and charged with manslaughter.
The arrest stemmed from a 2010 incident in which Blythe allegedly pushed 19-year-old fan Daniel Nosek off the stage, and the man died of head injuries two weeks later. Blythe and the band claim they were not informed about Nosek's death, so the arrest came as a complete shock upon their return to Prague.
The singer spent over a month in a Czech prison before he was released on $400,000 bail (upped from an original $200,000), and allowed to go home until the trial. He eventually came back to Prague, and was tried and acquitted in March 2013. The ordeal reportedly bankrupted the band, which will tour all summer to speed their return to the black.
The experience inspired Blythe not only to channel his frustration and aggression into his performances, but also to write his memoir, which will be released on DaCapo books in Spring 2014.
"While I've dreamed of being a published author almost since I began to read, I never imagined my first book would center around such a sad topic," he said in a statement. "Sometimes though, life unexpectedly provides you a story that needs to be told. I believe this one does, so I will tell it with the respect and dignity all involved deserve. This will be a good read, I promise you, and I hope some good comes of it."
Blythe wrote the yet-untitled book without the help of a co-author or ghost writer. "I knew that Randy was a master vocalist and lyricist but it turns out he is a vivid and visceral prose writer as well," said Da Capo Press Executive Editor Ben Schafer, who signed Blythe to a book deal. "Regarding his arrest and trial in the Czech Republic, Randy handled a frightening and heartbreaking situation with courage, grace, and humility, and we at Da Capo Press are honored to have the opportunity to have a part in telling his story."
In an interview with Rolling Stone that ran in August, 2012, Blythe recalled the moment he was arrested: "I walked off the plane, and coming up the middle of the ramp there was a woman with some sort of badge around her neck, and she was taking people's passports. We gave her our passports, and they directed us to the right while other people were going to the left. I walked in, and there were four or five large men with masks, machine guns, knives – the full-on SWAT team. They looked like they were there to apprehend a terrorist. And three large plainclothes officers. I remember looking at my bass player, and I started singing some Kool & the Gang to him — ''There's a party going on right here.' My bass player looked and me, and was [like], 'Nooo, this is not a party right here. This is not good.'
"This woman comes up and says, 'Mr. Blythe,' and she handed me this piece of paper, stating that I was to be charged with manslaughter. I quickly looked through my carry-on bag to grab my cell phone, a notebook, and a couple of extra packs of cigarettes — but I could only find one — and then they took me away."