Florida Theater Owner Pulls Plug On Suicide Band

September 24, 2003

The owner of a theater where a band said it would stage a live suicide during a concert next month said Wednesday he isn't allowing the show to take place, according to the Associated Press.

Meanwhile, the owner of another club where the band HELL ON EARTH said they intended to move their show, also said Wednesday he won't allow the show either, leaving in question whether the band will be allowed to play at all.

David Hundley, owner of the State Theater in St. Petersburg, said he was certain the suicide was either a publicity stunt or would be an "illusion," but said he was worried of what some other "nut case" might do during the show.

"We couldn't allow anything to happen," Hundley said at a news conference.

"We deal with a lot of kids here and we don't want their parents to think anything bad or that their kids are ever at risk."

The owner of Club Venom, a Pinellas Park venue where the band said would be the new location of the show, also said he won't allow them to play if a suicide is going to be part of the act.

"We're going to nip it before it happens," owner Matt Mullins said.

Lead singer Billy Tourtelot did not immediately return a phone message. The band has a nationwide tour planned for the weeks following what would have been its St. Petersburg concert.

HELL ON EARTH are a rock band known for their stage antics, which have included grinding up rats in a blender.

The group said last week on their web site that a terminally ill member of a right-to-die group planned to commit suicide on stage in a political statement about euthanasia. St. Petersburg police, unable to do anything before the performance, had planned to have officers in the audience if a suicide was attempted.

Hundley said he was worried the international attention the event had already attracted would harm his theater's reputation, as well as the businesses along St. Petersburg's downtown commerce district.

"Now that the word is out, we can't allow them even to go on," Hundley said of the band.

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