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The Whigs’ Julian Dorio Reflects On the Paris Attacks

Editor’s note: The Whigs play the 40 Watt Club Saturday, Jan. 23 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of their debut. Read our oral history of the album here. Below is a separate piece written by drummer Julian Dorio, who found himself at the center of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris.

On Friday, Nov. 13, while playing drums for Eagles of Death Metal, I found myself in the middle of a horrific terrorist attack. The harrowing details, with which you’re probably all too familiar, had the world on the edge of its seat. International headlines painted the grim picture of beautiful Paris under siege. None of this should be overlooked or forgotten; however, the power and generosity of humanity has left me, amidst an ocean of contradictory feelings, hopeful.

After the first few rounds of shots rang out inside the Bataclan walls, I was lucky to find my way out of the venue with two of my bandmates. Outside, the streets were chaos. The phrase “run for your life” actually means something to me now. As I raced through the streets, beside me appeared a concertgoer and now friend, who selflessly put us in a taxi and, without hesitation, gave me 50 euros when I realized I had no wallet. Later, at a police precinct, another fan offered me his phone so I could call my family and put them at ease. In the following days, as we made arrangements to come home, I was inspired that the people, facing heartbreak and loss, chose to continue with life and liberty over fear and terror.

Two weeks later, U2, who had rescheduled their shows in the wake of the attacks, offered EODM the opportunity to join them onstage in Paris. I didn’t know how to feel. I hadn’t touched drumsticks since that fateful night. Accepting their offer, though, meant I was accepting love, and even if I was a bit scared I owed it to myself, the fans and those we lost. They generously hosted us, made us feel safe and spared no expense, affording us the chance to heal with the Parisians.

The energy in the arena is something I’ll never forget. As tears rolled down faces only to be interrupted by beautiful smiles, I realized we needed it as much as the fans. Part of my heart had been left behind in Paris, but I didn’t know it until I went back. Playing with U2 wasn’t just a chance to take the stage again; it was an opportunity to retrieve myself and heal, and I am forever grateful.

I’ve been given a second chance. It wasn’t my time. The Parisians looked fear directly in the eye and chose life, and in choosing life, we choose love, compassion and tolerance. Each and every day has been made easier with the incredible support we’ve received. Forever bonded with France, I look forward to seeing what else this experience can inspire us to do together.