quarta-feira, agosto 14, 2013

Lillian Axe

It's Sunday night at 7:16, and this is the first time I have been able
to sit and wrap my head around what happened Thursday morning. I want
to thank so many people for their care and concerns. To all of our
fans and friends all over the world, thank you from the bottom of my
heart for your texts, emails, calls and prayers for the 4 of us and
our families. I want to tell you about the accident because I feel
it's an important lesson for me and maybe it will touch some people in
a positive way.

Eric Morris, our bassist, Richard Plaisance, our stage manager, Bobby
Brown, our crew and merch guy, and I, left from Mandeville towards
Dallas to play Trees Thursday night. All was well and we were meeting
the guys in the a.m., sleep a while and hit the venue for soundcheck
around 2pm. Since it was only a 2 date run, we were pulling our
trailer with all of our gear with Richie's Yukon. Around 5 a.m., an
hour from our location, I was awakened, (I had fallen asleep in the
front passenger seat) by Richie's screams and a very hard impact, the
sound of breaking glass and our vehicle hurtling towards something
else that through the broken windshield appeared to be a pole of
sorts. I keep replaying this moment in my head over and over, and I
can hear the sounds and feel the crash every time. I remember while we
were hitting things and moving across the grass, that I kept saying "
It's ok, It's ok, It's ok……."

Our driver had lost control of the vehicle and left the highway doing
around 70 mph and collided with a huge industrial sign, the ones that
direct traffic into a certain lane with arrows, etc. I don't know what
this one said because it was obliterated. I found out later that this
was one of those extremely large sigs which held 15 or more batteries
inside to power the lights. The BIG ones. We finally stopped, and the
first thing I thought of was "Am I dead?" My 3 mates were talking and
moving so I knew they were alive. We all felt our bodies to see if we
were bleeding or missing any body parts. At that moment the pain in my
eyes set in, and I felt burning which I found was the cloud of glass
fragments that had entered both of my eyes.

From there on, everything was blurry as the tears poured down my face
due to the glass. Richie, who was behind me, and I tried to open our
doors but they were crushed and would not budge. Eric and Bobby got
out on their side, so Richie and I climbed across the seats and exited
their doors. The guys told me later that my first words were "Don't
worry, we can still do the gig." I don't remember that. The next bit
was like a dream. I fell to the ground, no shoes and socks on, and
noticed I was in some kind of very hard grass or weeds, almost like
little bamboo shoots. I yelled out " Are you guys ok?" We all
acknowledged that we were alive and seemingly in one piece. Cars
started pulling up and people were getting out to see if we were ok.
The strange part is that all seemed to leave when they found out we
were alive.

I will try to explain the scene through my blurred vision. Richie came
up to me as I was sitting on the ground and I said "We'll be ok." He
said frantically "Have you seen the trailer?" I could see nothing but
lights and shadows at that point. I squinted and saw what I thought
was a giant dumpster covered in trash and clothes. I thought that was
what we hit! "No that's the trailer!"

People, I can only tell you that the scene looked like one from a
Faces of Death episode. The trailer was shredded as if a can opener
had a field day with it. Metal shreds were everywhere and pieces of
metal were sticking 20 feet in the air. Equipment, cases, boxes,
lights, trussing, etc. was strewn all over scene. The Yukon was
completely totaled.

I went to the car to find my shoes and saw that the back seat was
halfway shoved to the front and glass was everywhere. The windshield
was destroyed and the sun visor had actually penetrated it. I thought
it was my head that hit it, but I had no head wounds. Then the
screaming red lights and sirens started coming, and all I could think
of was that these people were going to be upset that we had stopped
traffic for miles. The cops came, the emt's came, and I think there
was even a firetruck. Things were really blurry and my eyes started
burning heavily. There was so much adrenaline flowing that I didn't
realize my other injuries yet. I made sure the guys were good. Bobby
seemed ok, Richie knocked a tooth out, had a few cuts and wrenched his
back pretty badly. Eric hurt his back and neck pretty badly also, and
I started feeling pains in the back and shoulders and arms. The
effects of the whiplash would really set in on the 3 of us over the
next 2 days.

The ambulance took the 3 of us to the nearest emergency hospital.
Fortunately, it was a slow night/morning so we were tended to
immediately. They irrigated my eyes and Eric's. I still had a piece in
my left eye which I had removed the next day. All 3 of us have upper
torso pain but hopefully that will not lead to future problems. It may
have helped that we were asleep at the impact. We spent around 4 hours
in the hospital before being released. Eric had a stylish neck brace
on, but I couldn't convince to take it with him. We were all very
blessed to not have been killed. The EMT's told me that when they
pulled up to the scene, they labeled their immediate assessment as
this was an "Oh shit" scene, meaning all fatalities. If we had hit the
sign head on, we would all be dead, as the trailer and sign would have
crushed us to death. If the trailer had not come apart, we would have
flipped many times and probably all killed. This was nothing but God
saving us, I don't care what anyone else thinks. I felt his peace as I
was being jerked around in that car.

Later that day, we all went to the salvage yard to view the wreckage.
Oh my God, it was worse than I thought. I will attach some pictures to
show you guys.

The damage to the equipment is still indeterminable until we start
plugging things in. There were heavy cases shattered, lights broken,
cabinets flipped upside down and on top of each other, etc.

We were able to get everything in pieces into a uhaul truck and sent
to our storage facility back home. We were fortunate to have Ken and
Richard Kendrick come to our rescue. Richard was filling in for Sam on
these dates while Sam was out of the country. Richard went way beyond
the call of duty in helping us, and we owe him dearly. Ken also helped
save the day immensely. Richard brought us to Shreveport where our
label president and amazing friend Alan Traylor picked us up and
brought us home.

The next few days were filled with rest, aches, pains, but more
importantly blessings. Seeing my little boy when I got home was all I
needed to understand how incredibly fortunate we all were. If the
slightest change in events had occurred, he may not have had a Dad
anymore and my wife made a widow.

I remember lying on the hospital bed and getting bombed with texts and
emails and calls from so many people that all I could think was "It
happened an hour ago. How does everyone know what went down so
quickly?" I can't stress enough how much it meant to see people from
all over the world wishing us well and caring about us, including
reaching out to our families as well.

A few people wanted to make sure I had not lost any fingers or an arm.
I can proudly say they are all intact. This event was divinely
interrupted, and I believe wholeheartedly that God intervened. Thanks
again to everyone. I guess the man upstairs knows I still have at
least 10 more albums to write.
Progressive Rock & Progressive Metal - E-Zine