Rock band plans onstage suicide



An alternative rock band from Florida claims it'll feature a live suicide during a gig next month.

Tampa outfit Hell on Earth says a terminally ill member of a right-to-die group planned to commit suicide on stage during the gig on October 4.

Their website says the person's identity won't be released until the day of the gig at the State Theatre in St. Petersburg. The site didn't say how the person would commit suicide.

The band claims the "volunteer" wanted to die onstage to "raise awareness for dying with dignity".

Dave Hundley, one of the owners of the theatre, says he's aware of the plan and was trying to determine whether or not it was just a publicity stunt.

"If I have an inkling that this is for real, I need to worry about it," said Hundley.

He added the band played the venue a couple years ago and has been known to stage some strange stunts, such as chocolate-syrup wrestling and grinding up rats in a blender.

St. Petersburg police say it's an offence to assist a suicide, but added they need more information before deciding a response.

A spokesman said: "We've just begun looking at it and we're not quite sure where to go from here. Obviously, the St. Petersburg police does not condone public displays of suicide."


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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - The owner of a theater where a band said it would stage a live suicide during a concert next month said Wednesday he isn't allowing the show to take place.
Meanwhile, the owner of another club where the band Hell on Earth said it intended to move its show, also said Wednesday he won't allow the show either, leaving in question whether the band will be allowed to play at all.

David Hundley, owner of the State Theater in St. Petersburg, said he was certain the suicide was either a publicity stunt or would be an "illusion," but said he was worried of what some other "nut case" might do during the show.

"We couldn't allow anything to happen," Hundley said at a news conference.

"We deal with a lot of kids here and we don't want their parents to think anything bad or that their kids are ever at risk."

The owner of Club Venom, a Pinellas Park venue where the band said would be the new location of the show, also said he won't allow them to play if a suicide is going to be part of the act.

"We're going to nip it before it happens," owner Matt Mullins said.

Lead singer Billy Tourtelot did not immediately return a phone message. The band has a nationwide tour planned for the weeks following what would have been its St. Petersburg concert.

Hell on Earth is an alternative rock band known for it's stage antics, which have included grinding up rats in a blender.

The group said last week on its Web site that a terminally ill member of a right-to-die group planned to commit suicide on stage in a political statement about euthanasia. St. Petersburg police, unable to do anything before the performance, had planned to have officers in the audience if a suicide was attempted.

Hundley said he was worried the international attention the event had already attracted would harm his theater's reputation, as well as the businesses along St. Petersburg's downtown commerce district.

"Now that the word is out, we can't allow them even to go on," Hundley said of the band.