Baroness frontman John Baizley has posted an extensive new update on the band’s website in which he details the August bus accident that left he, his bandmates, and their crew with serious injuries.
As Baizley explains, the accident occurred after their tour bus brakes failed completely “on a notoriously dangerous, incredibly steep (12% grade) hill in Monkton Combe, UK, on our way from a show Bristol to another show in Southampton. 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. Half of the band/crew were asleep while we lost our brakes, and a few of us were awake and sitting in the rear lounge. I was up front with our driver, and I bore witness to the entire thing. Once our brakes failed, the bus could do little more than gain momentum and plummet down the hill. There was nothing anyone on the bus could have done during our descent to avoid the crash, and no one, the local residents, the police or any of us can believe we survived the impact.”
From this point forward, Baizley extensively details his own recollection of the accident and the injuries that he sustained:
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. I hit the glass so hard, that the entire windshield flew from the frame to the ground, and I bounced back inside the bus. I landed on the ledge of the windshield. This came with an immediate and overwhelming pain throughout my body. I surveyed the damage to see instantly that my left leg was very obviously and badly broken. Then I lifted my arms forward to see if either had been damaged. My right arm was covered in burns, blood and broken glass, but working well enough. My left arm was crushed beyond belief, broken in the middle of the bone in my upper arm (humerus), and hanging 90 degrees backwar ds, with many spurs of bone poking through muscles and sinew at the surface of my skin. The bone was shattered into seven free-floating pieces, and my wrist and hand were swinging behind my back, spasming freely. Instinctively, I reached behind my back, grabbed my wrist and re-broke my arm forwards, hugging it to my chest, where it remained for the next three hours until it was cast in plaster. Meanwhile, I watched as some of the band was able to get off the bus and help the others, many of whom were broken-up as well, and several of whom were unconscious. There was blood, glass and diesel fuel everywhere.”
Baizlel required “an eight-hour surgery in which my arm was rebuilt with the aid of 2 massive titanium plates, 20 screws and a foot-and-a-half of wire.” He spent two weeks in the hospital, the entire time of which he was completely immobile. As of now, he “cannot lift a glass of water to my lips to drink with my left arm and hand.” Incredibly, though, Baizlel is “still able to play music with it. I picked up a guitar and played the day after I returned. Not without pain (for the time being), but the hand still acts out the creative impulses I give it.
Baizlel closes his update by saying that the band has not been deterred by the tragedy and plans to return to the road as soon as possible.
We can do nothing but attempt to make something constructive and beautiful out of all this disaster, and we are well on the way to becoming active again. I have used this time, stuck inside my own head, to consider the importance of music and Baroness in my life. I can say, after nearly 6 weeks of reflection, that I feel more resolute and passionate about our music than ever. I have come to realize the importance of time in this particular equation, that is, I have none to waste and none to spare. There is no better moment than now, broken and in physical stasis, to devote ourselves more fully towards our art than ever. We cannot allow the traumatic fallout of our crash to cripple us internally. It seems simple: the shows we have cancelled we will reschedule and play in the future. It isn’t going to happen next week nor will it be next month. But it will happen. We will be back on tour as soon as we possibly can.
Click here to read the full post and to see pictures from Baizlel’s stay in the hospital.