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Melb Guitarist Recovering After Near-Fatal Stabbing At Gig

Jules in good spirits following the horrific ordeal
Feb 21st 2013 | 3:37pm | Scott Fitzsimons
Julien 'Jules' Rozenbergs, guitarist with Melbourne ska-punk outfit The Bennies, is recovering from a near-death experience after he was stabbed by a fan at a Byron Bay show earlier this month.

Stepping in to restrain an allegedly intoxicated punter wielding a bottle of whisky, Rozenbergs had the bottle broken over his head and the bottle stabbed into his armpit. The bottle missed an artery by five millimetres and surgeons were astounded that the gash left both arteries and nerve exposed. If the bottle had cut the artery, doctors admitted he probably wouldn't have survived the attack.

Today – after getting 70 stitches redressed in Melbourne – Rozenergs told, "The main thing I'll take away from this is I could be dead, dude. I'm not angry at the guy, I don't hold onto that shit… I'm just bummed I can't play the rest of the tour.”

Touring with The Smith Street Band, the incident took place Wednesday 13 February at Byron Bay venue during the headliner's set. Rozenbergs said there was a punter with a bottle of whisky who “was knocking people over”, particularly younger teenagers given it was an all ages show.

The punter became agitated when told to calm down by others, including The Smith Street Band frontman Wil Wagner, and it became clear that he was, in Rozenbergs' words, “becoming a bit of a liability.” After going outside Rozenbergs says he attempted to calm the situation, given that there were younger people and bandmates in the vicinity, which then turned the disgruntled punter's attention towards him.

“He was trying to break the bottle on a bin and I thought 'if this bottle breaks, this is next level, it's on',” the guitarist said today.

In the resulting scuffle the bottle was broken over Rozenbergs' head and stabbed into his armpit. After the man was restrained the guitarist's first concern was for his head and it was only when examining himself in a mirror that the full extent of the stabbing wound was apparent.

He said the 20cm by 10cm gash “looked like a roast beef roll that's been opened up.” His head had been split by a two-inch gash.

Rushed to Byron Bay hospital he was assessed and transferred to Tweed Heads where the appropriate trauma facilities were available. After surgery and 72 hours in the hospital, members of the touring bands and crew pitched in to fly him back to Melbourne. Because muscles were punctured in the incident he is now in the first weeks of an expected six to eight weeks of recovery and rehabilitation.

Police have arrested a man and legal proceedings are ongoing.

There has been a huge outpouring of support since the incident and Rozenbergs was full of praise from the community around him. “The flights are one thing,” he said, “but the support from it – the community is fucking incredible.”

The Bennies announced on Tuesday that the band will be continuing the tour with Lee Hartney filling in on guitar.

Having now come to terms with the incident, Rozenbergs admitted there was a moment on the way to the hospital that he thoughr, “For better or worse, this is going to affect me. I can't just sweep this under the carpet.” He said that it will likely have repercussions in the future. “I don't want it to, I don't want to be wary around crowds… [but] I think it will heighten certain aspects.”

Despite the ordeal the guitarist expects to be playing guitar and touring again and says the altercation was an “anomaly”.

“I was at the SLAM Rally in Melbourne, I'm a firm believer that there isn't violence at gigs…I just found myself at the wrong place at the wrong time.”



Friday 22nd August

Poison City Weekender feat.
Knapsack + Pity Sex + The Bennies + Luca Brasi + Harmony + The Gift Horse + Clowns + Wil Wagner + Grim Fandango + Lincoln Le Fevre + Paper Arms + Postblue + Hoodlum Shouts + Toy Boats + Fear Like Us + Infinite Void + High Tension + Apart From This + Ceres + Tape/Off + Mere Women + Freak Wave + Roku Music + Stockades + Initials + Ted Danson With Wolves + Death Mountain + Regrets

Corner Hotel, Richmond

Friday 12th September

The Bennies + Morning Glory + Bitter Lungs + Jack Flash

The Spotted Cow, Toowoomba

Saturday 13th September

The Bennies + Morning Glory + Luca Brasi + The Gift Horse + The Decline

The Lab, Brisbane

Saturday 13th September

The Bennies + Morning Glory + Luca Brasi + Army Of Champions + Bitter Lungs

Crowbar, Fortitude Valley

Sunday 14th September

The Bennies + Morning Glory + The Decline + The Dumpers

The Time Machine, Nambour

Wednesday 17th September

The Bennies + Morning Glory + Ben Elliot + Excitebike + The Decline

Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle West

Thursday 18th September

The Bennies + Morning Glory + The Dirty 8's + Kinnection + Overload + Driverside Airbag + La' range Bucket

Beachcomber Hotel, Toukley

Friday 19th September

The Bennies + Morning Glory + Ebolagoldfish + Topnovil

Valve @ Agincourt, Ultimo

Friday 19th September

The Bennies + Morning Glory + Capa Capo + Chaz H Scally

Black Wire Records, Annandale

Saturday 20th September

The Bennies + Morning Glory + Steel City Allstars + Wolfpack + UTI + The Acid Monkeys

Corrimal Hotel, Corrimal

Sunday 21st September

The Bennies + Morning Glory + Mucho Sonar + Wolfpack + Revellers

Belconnen Magpies, Belconnen

Monday 22nd September

The Bennies + Morning Glory + Latham's Grip

Captains At Mariners, Batemans Bay

Wednesday 24th September

The Bennies + Morning Glory + Phat Meegz + Nathan Seeckts

Barwon Club, South Geelong

Thursday 25th September

The Bennies + Luca Brasi + Morning Glory

Barwon Club, South Geelong

Thursday 25th September

The Bennies + Morning Glory + Phat Meegz + The Savages

Karova Lounge, Ballarat

Friday 26th September

The Bennies + Morning Glory + Phat Meegz + Foxtrot + Wet Pensioner

Evelyn Hotel, Fitzroy

Friday 26th September

The Bennies + Morning Glory + Rockenspiele

The Gasometer Hotel, Collingwood

Saturday 27th September

The Bennies + Morning Glory + Hightime + Fresh Kills

Crown & Anchor, Adelaide

Sunday 28th September

The Bennies + Morning Glory + God God Dammit Dammit + She's the Band

Crown & Anchor, Adelaide

Tuesday 30th September

Dead Kennedys + The Bennies

Fowlers Live, Adelaide

Wednesday 1st October

Dead Kennedys + The Bennies

170 Russell, Melbourne

Friday 3rd October

Dead Kennedys + The Bennies

The Hi-Fi, West End

Saturday 4th October

Dead Kennedys + The Bennies

Coolangatta Hotel, Coolangatta

Sunday 5th October

Dead Kennedys + The Bennies

The Hi-Fi, Moore Park

Poster IT


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