Pete Adams, left, and Baroness bandmates. (Relapse Records )
Bad things can happen to good bands when they take their show on the road. Stories of musicians cut down in their prime in some or other tragic mishap have been a part of the rock 'n' roll mythos since Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper and friends perished in a plane crash on Feb. 3, 1959, "the day the music died."
Few bands have endured a bigger collective trauma than the Savannah, Ga., quartet Baroness -- and lived to tell about it. On Aug. 15, the bus carrying Baroness and crew on a tour of England crashed after sliding off a viaduct during a heavy rain near the city of Bath. Nine people were reported injured, two of them seriously. Frontman John Baizley suffered a broken left arm and leg; two other band members, Allen Blickle and Matt Maggioni, cracked several veterbrae.
Now, Baizley has posted practically a second-by-second account of the accident and its aftermath on the band's website, and it makes for a harrowing, lyrical and ultimately uplifting read. The details suggest it was a minor miracle that the entire party wasn't killed. Baizley, who was riding up front with the driver, narrates:
"Our bus went entirely out of control, and we had no choice other than hitting a perpendicular guardrail going about 50 mph at the bottom of the hill. The guard rail and the 20 or 30 trees we ploughed through snapped like matchsticks as we went fully airborne and fell down more than 30 feet off of a viaduct to the ground below."
Baizley continues: "When the bus hit the ground, I flew like a missile into the windshield. I can still see the double-paned auto glass turning blue and the spider-webbing cracks spreading outwards from the impact my body made." The lengthy post also includes a photo of the wicked grid of stitches lacing Baizley's arm.
But Baizley rescues this inspirational conclusion from the wreckage:
"I realized in that moment that life can be seen as a light switch: “on” or “off”. When the moment passed and I heard the screaming, felt the pain, and tasted my own blood, I was overcome with joy. I was ecstatic to be back amidst all that chaos and horror because it was alive and real. I finally glimpsed the relative importance of all things. The support of our fans, our friends and our families has real meaning to me now. I say that now honestly, without false humility. Thank you. Everyone."
John Legend postpones fall tour
Solange Knowles returns with 'Losing You'
Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl: 'I never want to not be in this band'
Follow me on Twitter: @RJohnsonLAT
PHOTOS AND MORE:
PHOTOS: Iconic rock guitars and their owners
PHOTOS: The Rolling Stones at 50
PHOTOS: Unfortunately timed pop meltdowns