'The show will go on,' says rock band that plans a suicide on stage

Plans to make a suicide on stage the centrepiece of a performance by the alternative rock band Hell on Earth will not be thwarted, the lead singer said yesterday.

Earlier this week, the City Council of St Petersburg, Florida, tried to block the event, due to take place on Saturday, by passing an emergency ordinance making it illegal for anyone to include a suicide in an entertainment event or use it for promotional purposes.

But Billy Tourtelot of Hell on Earth has said that the suicide will take place anyway.

"The show will go on," Mr Tourtelot insisted and said that the band had agreed to allow a person with a terminal illness - who has not been identified - to take their life during the concert as a statement supporting euthanasia and the right-to-die movement. "It will be available on the internet and it will be in the city limits," he added.

Promotional posters for the St Petersburg-based band's "Haunted House Tour" carry the slogan: "Dying to Meet You". Where the event may now take place remains a mystery after the owner of a club that was to host the concert decided last week to ban the band. Other venues on the band's tour have also pulled out.

Mr Tourtelot said that the concert would take place at a secret location with a select group of fans invited. The concert and, in theory, the suicide will be broadcast on the band's website: www. hellonearth.com.

Meanwhile, a judge has granted the city council a temporary injunction against the performance and a hearing is to be held today.Bill Foster, a council member, said it had been left with no choice. "While I still think it's a publicity stunt, we still couldn't sit idly by and let somebody lose their life."

Hell on Earth have a reputation for incorporating outrageous stunts into their concerts, including chocolate syrup wrestling contests and blending live rats into "rat milkshakes". Mr Tourtelot said he had taken legal advice and did not expect to face charges of assisting a suicide. "What I'm doing may be immoral, but it's not illegal."

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