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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.”



Sunday 1st March

Soundwave 2015 feat.
Faith No More + Soundgarden + Incubus + Lamb Of God + Ministry + Antemasque + Gerard Way + Mayhem + New Found Glory + Fear Factory + Hollywood Undead + Atreyu + The Aquabats + Area 7 + Godflesh + Crown The Empire + The Interrupters + Icon For Hire + Emily's Army + Patent Pending + Fireworks + The Bennies + Soundwave + The Color Morale + Monuments + Nothing More + Deathstars + Ne Obliviscaris + The Treatment + Steel Panther + Falling In Reverse + Dragonforce + One Ok Rock + The Devil Wears Prada + Lower Than Atlantis + Bayside + He Is Legend + King Parrot + Rival Sons + Sleepwave + Raglans

Brisbane Showgrounds, Bowen Hills

Sunday 1st March

The Smith Street Band + Pup + Great Cynics + Apart From This

The Gov, Hindmarsh

Saturday 7th March

Golden Plains feat.
Something For Kate + Aldous Harding + Banoffee + Black Vanilla + Bombino + Conor Oberst + Courtney Barnett + DJ Shadow + Cut Chemist + The Felice Brothers + First Aid Kit + Graveyard + Hits + LA Pocock + Milwaukee Banks + Neneh Cherry with RocketNumberNine+ + Nick Waterhouse + Oblivians + Parquet Courts + Radio Birdman + Sharon Van Etten + Sleep D + Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks + The Bennies + The Meanies + Theo Parrish + Total Giovanni + Twerps + Village People + more + Golden Plains + Soil & Pimp Sessions

Supernatural Amphitheatre, Mt Mercer

Thursday 12th March

The Bennies + Foxtrot + Tigers + Agent 27

Karova Lounge, Ballarat

Friday 13th March

The Bennies + Foxtrot + Knife Hands + This Is A Robbery

Brisbane Hotel, Hobart

Saturday 14th March

The Bennies + Foxtrot + The Disables + Goon On The Rocks

Crowbar, Fortitude Valley

Sunday 15th March

The Bennies + Foxtrot + The Strums + Lifeboat

The Time Machine, Nambour

Thursday 19th March

The Bennies + Foxtrot + She's the Band + Young Offenders

Enigma Bar, Adelaide

Friday 20th March

The Bennies + Foxtrot + Chinese Burns Unit + Ebolagoldfish

Factory Theatre, Marrickville

Saturday 21st March

The Bennies + Foxtrot + Foley! + Echo Drama

Northcote Social Club, Northcote

Sunday 22nd March

The Bennies + Foxtrot + Georgia Maq + Selling Time + Her Majesty's Hangover

Wrangler Studios, West Footscray

Friday 27th March

The Bennies + Dan Cribb & The Isolated + Silver Lizard

Prince of Wales, Bunbury

Saturday 28th March

The Bennies + Dan Cribb & The Isolated + Being Beta

Amplifier Bar, Perth

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Hyperfest 2015 feat.
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Midland Oval, Midland

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