Belfast Telegraph

Sheila E was booked to play the Bataclan the night terrorists attacked the Paris theatre

The musician has never been so afraid to tour following the terror attacks in Manchester and London.

Drummer Sheila E has revealed she and her band were scheduled to perform at the Bataclan theatre in Paris on the night terrorists stormed the venue in 2015, but switched the date for a club across the city.

Prince's former percussionist and lover tells Billboard she had a change of heart about playing there because she'd performed at the same venue the last time she was in the French capital.

"We were in Paris the night of the 2015 attacks, not even a mile away...," she explains. "We might have actually played there, but we ended up changing the venue about month before, because I'd played there the previous year.

"That night, we were playing this other theatre and as we were getting offstage, all of a sudden people were getting calls, texts. Promoters came and said they were gonna shut everything down, that they don't know what's going on but there had been a bombing.

"I remember everyone - my whole band, our crew - we stayed in the lobby of the hotel. We didn't know if we'd be able to fly out."

Instead, rockers Eagles of Death Metal were onstage at the Bataclan when the terrorists opened fire, killing 89 people.

The terror threat is very much at the forefront of Sheila E's mind right now as she plans a world tour in the wake of the Manchester Arena bomb blast in May (17), when 22 people were killed as they exited an Ariana Grande concert.

"(That was) just horrible," she adds. "We're in this place, especially after Manchester and then the London Bridge attack just the other weekend, where we're going out on tour all year. It's a concern. Anyone can be targeted, it's not specific people.

"None of us want to be in this place right now, but it's so easy for some politicians to say, 'We'd rather be in war!' Why? It's about power and money. It's not about our safety, our health and who we are as people. It's easier to just go kill someone. I don't understand the logic behind that."

Sheila admits she feels like she did at 15 when she first hit the road as a professional musician: "I remember my first time leaving the country, going to Bogota, Colombia," she adds. "I didn't know what it was like to leave our country. America is free. It's a country of gold and dreams; being able to pursue life. It's not a Communist country. So when I left to go to Bogota and there were guards with guns, military people walking the streets like it was an everyday thing, I had never seen it before."

And she regrets she's had her fair share of bomb threats at shows, especially when she was touring with Prince: "There were bomb threats at Purple Rain concerts...," she says. "Even when was out with Lionel Richie, we got bomb threats all the time, which is very strange... One time, we had to evacuate the building cause there was a bomb threat. I mean Lionel Richie? Really?"

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