On June 27, 2012, the long-running, hard-touring, and world-renowned metal band lamb of god landed in Prague for their first concert there in two years. Vocalist D. Randall “Randy” Blythe was looking forward to a few hours off—a rare break from the touring grind—in which to explore the elegant, old city. However, a surreal scenario worthy of Kafka began to play out at the airport as Blythe was detained, arrested for manslaughter, and taken to Pankrác Prison—a notorious 123-year-old institution where the Nazis’ torture units had set up camp during the German occupation of then-Czechoslovakia, and where today hundreds of prisoners are housed, awaiting trial and serving sentences in claustrophobic, sweltering, nightmare-inducing conditions.
Two years prior, a 19-year-old fan died of injuries suffered at a lamb of god show in Prague, allegedly after being pushed off stage by Blythe, who had no vivid recollection of the incident. Stage-crashing and -diving being not uncommon occurrences, as any veteran of hard rock, metal, and punk shows knows, the concert that could have left him imprisoned for years was but a vague blur in Blythe’s memory, just one of the hundreds of shows his band had performed over their decades-long career.
At the time of his arrest Blythe had been sober for nearly two years, having finally gained the upper hand over the alcoholism that nearly killed him. But here he faced a new kind of challenge: jailed in a foreign land and facing a prison sentence of up to ten years. Worst of all, a young man was dead, and Blythe was devastated for him and his family, even as the reality of his own situation began to close in behind Pankrác Prison’s glowering walls of crumbling concrete and razor wire.
About the Author:
David Randall “Randy” Blythe (born February 21, 1971) is the vocalist and lyricist of American heavy metal band Lamb of God and side-project band Halo of Locusts. He also performed guest vocals for Cannabis Corpse, Overkill and Gojira. He is known as D. Randall Blythe on Lamb of God’s albums. As a teenager, he looked up to bands of the hardcore punk scene such as the Sex Pistols, Bad Brains, and Black Flag.
In June 2012, Blythe was arrested in the Czech Republic and was indicted on manslaughter charges related to the 2010 death of Daniel Nosek, a 19-year-old fan, after a Lamb of God concert. The Czech court found that Blythe had pushed the fan off the stage and was “morally responsible” for the killing, but held that liability for Nosek’s death also lay with promoters and security members, and ultimately acquitted Blythe of the criminal charges specifically.
“Those of us who are familiar with Mr. Blythe’s lyrics will be pleased to find that this book is full of all the impassioned, defiant, and bitingly funny writing we’ve come to expect from him. For those who aren’t, I can only say that I’m jealous. You’re about to discover a writer whose mind and heart are completely alive on every page. Dark Days is an utterly transfixing story of one man’s journey through several hells. Some of these are of the kind fate puts us in. The others are the ones that always seem to burn inside us. It absolutely blew me away.”—Kevin Powers, National Book Award finalist and author of The Yellow Birds
“Randy Blythe survived an ordeal nobody should ever have to face. Wrongly accused of manslaughter in a foreign country, he bravely chose to go to trial rather than run. This book is a fascinating account about how to do the right thing when everything goes wrong.”—Brad Warner, author of Hardcore Zen and Don’t Be a Jerk
“Harrowing and funny, bleak and hopeful, intelligent and earthy, and above all just really well-written, Dark Days is as good as rock memoirs get.”—Michael Azerrad, author ofOur Band Could Be Your Life and Come as You Are: The Story of Nirvana
Billboard, “This Summer’s Music Must-Reads,” 5/30/15
“Recounts a horrifying incident and its aftermath.”
Richmond Magazine, July 2015
“Dark Days…brings readers deep—roughly 500 pages deep—into [Blythe’s] bout with alcoholism and through the still-surreal story of being arrested, jailed and tried on charges that he caused the death of a teenage fan injured at a 2010 Lamb of God concert.”
Downtown Magazine, 7/7/15
“Entirely the opposite of a happy-go-lucky rock star memoir, Dark Days is about Randy’s journey, looking back on everything he went through in a land where one is not innocent until proven guilty. One does not have to be a metal fan—or even previously aware of Lamb of God—to appreciate Dark Days, as it comes from the perspective of an introspective, good-natured person trying to do the right thing”