Skip to main content
 Close Ad

tour > News

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 theMusic.com.au, "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.”

Comments

Dates

Friday 4th September

Poison City Weekender Fest feat.
The Smith Street Band + Andrew Jackson Jihad + Luca Brasi + The Sidekicks + Postblue

170 Russell, Melbourne

Saturday 5th September

Poison City Weekender Fest feat.
Iron Chic + The Bennies + Modern Baseball + Self Defense Family + Oslow + Tired Lion

Corner Hotel, Richmond

Sunday 6th September

Poison City Weekender Fest feat.
The Smith Street Band + Modern Baseball + Andrew Jackson Jihad + Iron Chic + The Sidekicks

Corner Hotel, Richmond

Wednesday 9th September

The Smith Street Band + Andrew Jackson Jihad + The Sidekicks + The Sugarcanes

Manning Bar, Camperdown

Thursday 10th September

The Smith Street Band + Andrew Jackson Jihad + The Sidekicks + The Sugarcanes

Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle West

Friday 11th September

The Smith Street Band + Andrew Jackson Jihad + The Sidekicks + The Sugarcanes

Belconnen Magpies, Belconnen

Saturday 12th September

I Love Life Fest feat.
The Smith Street Band + Andrew Jackson Jihad + Iron Chic + Modern Baseball + The Sidekicks + Oslow + Hannahband

Metro Theatre, Sydney

Sunday 13th September

I Love Life Fest feat.
The Smith Street Band + Andrew Jackson Jihad + Iron Chic + Modern Baseball + The Sidekicks + Oslow + Walken

The Tivoli, Fortitude Valley

Wednesday 16th September

The Smith Street Band + Andrew Jackson Jihad + The Sidekicks + The Sugarcanes

Brisbane Hotel, Hobart

Thursday 17th September

The Smith Street Band + Andrew Jackson Jihad + The Sidekicks + The Sugarcanes

The Gov, Hindmarsh

Friday 18th September

The Smith Street Band + Andrew Jackson Jihad + The Sidekicks + Lucy Wilson

Metropolis, Fremantle

Saturday 19th September

The Smith Street Band + Andrew Jackson Jihad + The Sidekicks + The Sugarcanes

Corner Hotel, Richmond

Sunday 20th September

The Smith Street Band + Andrew Jackson Jihad + The Sidekicks + Flour

Corner Hotel, Richmond

Friday 25th September

The Smith Street Band + Lucy Wilson

Darwin Railway Sports & Social Club, Parap

Saturday 26th September

The Smith Street Band + Lucy Wilson

The Grand Hotel, Cairns

Sunday 27th September

The Smith Street Band + Lucy Wilson

Flinders Social, Townsville City

Thursday 1st October

The Smith Street Band + Lucy Wilson

Solbar, Maroochydore

Friday 2nd October

Yours & Owls Music & Arts Festival Weekender feat.
Ash Grunwald + Bahamas + Cloud Control + The Delta Riggs + Gang Of Youths + The Pinheads + The Preatures + The Rubens + Russel.W. & The Five Islands + Saskwatch + Salmonella Dub Soundsystem + Shining Bird + The Smith Street Band

Stuart Park, North Wollongong

Friday 2nd October

The Smith Street Band + Lucy Wilson

The Northern, Byron Bay


Poster IT

Connect with The Music

Subscribe to Daily Newsletter