US band manage to play show but Maiden and Slash call off – plus how to help the Red Cross

Japan earthquake

Disaster: Over 10,000 are thought to have died in Japan

All That Remains frontman Phil Labonte has told of the band’s panic as they were caught in the disastrous earthquake which decimated Japan on Friday.

The shock registered 8.9 on the Richter scale and triggered a tsunami which has claimed as many as 10,000 lives, while putting four nuclear power plants in danger of meltdown. The Japanese mainland has shifted eight feet and the planet’s axis has tipped by a fraction of a degree following the event.

Labonte says his band were soundchecking in Tokyo when the building began to move. He tells Billboard.com: “I was in the back with our tour manager when everything started shaking. The local crew were like, ‘Yeah, it’s an earthquake,’ but we’re from the north east so we don’t have a lot of experience with quakes.

“The light fixtures was shaking and all the doors were moving back and forth pretty hard. Everyone filed out of their buildings and you could tell people were concerned. You could actually see this skyscraper swaying back and forth. It was unnerving to see things that big moving like they were. I started thinking, ‘Okay, maybe it’s a bigger deal than I realised.’”

The band were unhurt and played their show, and have now left the stricken nation.

Meanwhile, Japanese outfit Dir En Grey have reported they were unhurt during the Tokyo quake. “The band were in the studio when the quake struck,” says their manager. “All members are alright and safe – but we still have aftershocks.”

The Murderdolls, who were partway through a Japanese tour, have commented on all shows being called off: “We stayed in Tokyo while other bands fled, planning to give you guys the good time you need right now. In the end the promoters decided all shows would have to be cancelled, including ours. Our hearts go out to the good people of Japan. Please help by donating to the Red Cross.”

Iron Maiden and Slash have also cancelled shows. Maiden’s Ed Force One, piloted by singer Bruce Dickinson, was preparing to land when the quake hit, and was diverted from Tokyo to Nagoya. Bassist Steve Harris says: “We’re saddened by the calamitous events. We have a long relationship with this wonderful country and always feel most welcome. Our sincerest condolences to those who have suffered in the disaster.”

Slash says: “We’re definitely playing Osaka tonight, but it’s not possible for us to do the Tokyo and Yokohama shows. My thoughts and prayers go to the people dealing with the earthquake, tsunamis and aftershocks. I hope the worst is over.”

Members of Judas Priest, Kiss, Aerosmith and Uriah Heep are amongst the musicians sending messages of support to Japan. Steven Tyler says: “We want you all to know we’re thinking of you,” while a Heep statement reads: “We’ve made many friends over the years in your wonderful country. Everyone in our family is with you as you deal with the challenges ahead.”

How you can help

Disaster experts say the Japanese Red Cross are best placed to deal with the quake’s immediate aftermath. Their website is only able to offer intermittent service but there are other ways to donate.

International Red Cross via Causes.com

UK Red Cross

US text support: Send REDCROSS to 90999 and $10 will be donated via your phone bill.

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