Suicide at concert outlawed

Band plans to stage death during show

— The leader of the rock band Hell on Earth said Monday that an onstage suicide would be conducted during a private St. Petersburg concert this weekend in defiance of a new city law designed to stop the act.

"The show will go on," Billy Tourtelot said. "It will be available on the Internet, and it will be in the city limits (of St. Petersburg)."

Earlier Monday, the St. Petersburg city council unanimously approved an emergency ordinance that makes it illegal to conduct a suicide for commercial or entertainment purposes, and to host, promote and sell tickets for such an event.

"While I still think it's a publicity stunt, we still couldn't sit idly by and let somebody lose their life," council member Bill Foster said.

Al Galbraith, an assistant city attorney, said the city would seek a court injunction against the band to keep it from advertising the event.

The Tampa-based band, known for such outrageous onstage stunts as chocolate syrup wrestling and grinding up live rats in a blender, first created the furor by announcing earlier this month that the suicide would happen during a show at the State Theater in downtown St. Petersburg.

But the theater's owner promptly canceled the band's appearance, and another venue also turned away the event.

Now Tourtelot, 33, said the suicide show would be played before a "select few people" at an undisclosed location on Saturday and be shown on the band's Web site.


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