This past August, Georgia metal band Baroness where involved in a horrific bus crash while touring in England, with the vehicle flying over an embankment before slamming into the ground some 30 feet below.
“This was, without a doubt, as close to death as I will ever come without actually dying,” said the Baroness frontman John Baizley during an interview with CBS Local regarding the accident.
The band’s injuries were extensive, with one of Baizley’s arms having to be rebuilt with two titanium plates, 20 screws, a foot-and-a-half of wire and nearly 50 staples to close the 15-inch incision.
While the band members are grateful to be alive and recovering, Baizley has extended a special thank-you to Baroness fans for their encouraging support as the guys recuperate.
“I understood for the first time how uplifting it [fan support] can be and how the care that somebody shows you, with whom you have no personal relationship with whatsoever, how a letter, a gift or just and the sentiment could really truly reach down inside and lift my spirits.”
While Baroness are the latest band to suffer a violent bus accident on tour, they’re far from the first. Over the years, there is an ongoing history of acts who’ve endured the trauma of being onboard a bus when it’s crashed. Below, we’ve outlined five of the most heinous bus accidents in music history.
Metallica, 1986 Heavy metal legends Metallica were touring Europe in support of their third album, Master of Puppets, when tragedy struck. The band’s bassist, Cliff Burton, was asleep in a coveted bunk (won for the night from guitarist Kirk Hammett in a card game) when the band’s bus lost control and flipped off the road in Sweden. Burton was thrown from the bunk, with the tour bus landing on top of him. While the rest of the band only sustained minor injuries, Burton died at the scene.
Gloria Estefan, 1990 During a snowstorm near Scranton, Pennsylvania, Estefan’s tour bus was rammed from the back by a semi, resulting in the pop singer suffering a critical spine fracture. Surgeons had to implant titanium rods in her back, but after less than a year of heavy physical therapy, she was somewhat miraculously able to resume touring.
Weezer, 2009 The alt-rock heroes were en route to Boston from Toronto in December when the back end of a bus containing lead singer Rivers Cuomo, his wife and baby daughter hit a patch of black ice, sending the bus careening into the median and over a guardrail before landing in a ditch. Cuomo sustained the most injuries, suffering three cracked ribs and minor internal injuries. Weezer was forced to cancel their remaining dates for the year as he recuperated.
Miley Cyrus, 2009 A tour bus carrying pop star Miley Cyrus’s lighting crew to a show in Virginia drifted off the road and flipped over, killing the driver. Cyrus wasn’t traveling with the caravan of crew buses, and was miles away in Nashville when the fatal accident occurred. Nine other passengers sustained minor injuries.
Bestival Fest, 2012 A bus containing 53 concert-goers (all between the ages of 22 and 28) returning from the annual Bestival music fest on the Isle of Wight in England veered from the road and slammed into a tree, killing the driver and two of the passengers on impact. A fourth person with extensive injuries had to be air-lifted to a nearby hospital. All 53 passengers sustained injuries in the accident. Stevie Wonder, the xx and New Order were among this year’s Bestival acts.
–Scott T. Sterling. CBS Local