Singer Tommy Vext (Divine Heresy, Snot, Vext) was recently the victim of a brutal attack – by his own brother. With medical bills through the roof, the metal community has banded together to throw a benefit show for him at New York venue Santos Party House. The show, on Sunday, November 28, will feature performances from God Forbid, Mutiny Within, Empyreon, The Judas Syndrome, and more (click flier on the right for full details). Metal Insider caught up with Tommy to talk about his attack, the show, and what he’s been up to musically.
So what happened?
Basically on the evening of Sept. 19th I was leaving my apartment in Brooklyn to visit my sister and was struck over the back of my head from behind during an attempted robbery. I fell and turned around and was struck again with a crowbar. The metal bar broke my left arm and I saw my attacker. At 6’1 320 pound man covered in dirt & blood stood over me. It was my estranged brother. Homeless , intoxicated and desperate, he repeatedly hit me on the back and sides with the weapon as I tried to shield myself from the blows. I managed to get on my feet and throw him off of me. I took off to a neighbors house and called 911. The ambulance arrived and I was rushed to the ER. After multiple X-rays & MRI’s, the doctors found I had a fractured skull and broken arm. I was discharged the next day. Because my attacker had not been apprehended I was staying with a friend in Manhattan during the first few days of my recovery. Four days after the incident, I collapsed in a Manhattan restaurant and was rushed back to the ER. This time the doctors found I had been internally bleeding since the 19th and now my spleen had ruptured. I went into emergency surgery at Cornell Hospital where my spleen was removed and I received a blood transfusion.
How did the benefit show come about?
Basically Doc Coyle (GodForbid) And Ria Katz (Santos Party House) came to my hospital bed and told me they wanted to throw a benefit show to help raise money for my medical bills. I actually started to tear up. Like many professional musicians, I did not not have health insurance at the time of the attack. My medical bills are upwards of $75-80 thousand dollars. When my friends in the industry found out what had happened everyone started to pitch in. Mutiny Within, Dead Men Dreaming, The Judas Syndrome & Empyreon jumped right in with the other bands to make the bill official. Metal Injection, Roadrunner records, Century Media & even my friend David Draiman (Disturbed) reached out with generous donations and merch to raffle off at the show to help raise more money.
What kind of shape are you in now? When will you be back in performance shape?
I’m walking around again, I actually just went to see All That Remains with Born of Osiris last night. The Killswitch guys were there with Jesse Leach promoting his & Adam D’s new (Times of Grace) project. Everyone has been really positive and supportive about the whole incident. My abdomen has healed about 90 percent from the surgery and my arm is still not fully healed. I’m going to physical therapy at Cornell Hospital about 3 times a week and meeting with Melissa Cross (vocal studios) to restrengthen my diaphragm. As for when I’ll be up on stage that could be a couple more months.
What have you been up to musically?
I actually moved back to NYC from Venice California last June to write an album with Doc Coyle. We were recording at Jupiter4 studios in NYC demoing and had about 3-4 songs ready for vocals and then this happened. Obviously the sessions were suspended indefinitely and having these current financial burdens I was not sure when we would get back in the studio. But then my friend Evange Livanos from 5B artist management put put me in touch with Tree Sound Studios & Wes Klienknecht. He had been the victim of a similar assault early this year and donated studio time to help Doc and I finish demoing. This whole thing has really turned into a miracle.
You know although it might have seemed like I just walked through hell, I honestly have so much gratitude in my heart for everything my friends and family have done to help me in my darkest hour. The e-mails and calls from the fans have been a saving grace as well. I truly hope that everyone who comes out November 28th to Santos Party House has a blast , there’s gonna be giveaways drink specials and cool raffle prizes. I don’t want to have a fucking pity party you know, we’re gonna make this fun. You know to me, this show is a testament to the camaraderie and strength of the heavy metal community. How even in tragedy we can unite and make something positive happen. I mean isn’t that why we all got into this anyway?
As for my brother, he is in jail and looking at a ten year sentence for attempted murder as well as five other cases. It hurts a lot because I love him and he’s wrecked his life and nearly took mine. But I know he is very sick and I pray to god that he can get the help he needs to get clean and sober. This just further concludes that doing hard drugs like crack cocaine, PCP & heroin is a one way ticket to jails, institutions, or death. Despite his actions, we have spoken and at some level I have began to forgive him. I’ve learned that its only within our capacity for compassion that our resentments toward ourselves and others can be dissolved.