Post-VMA headbanging

Police report: Mastodon’s Hinds clashed with System of a Down’s Odadjian

Aaron Thompson

Turns out, Tommy Lee vs. Kid Rock was only the undercard on VMA night.

According to a Metro police report released Monday, the September 10 fight that landed Mastodon frontman Brent Hinds in University Medical Center’s intensive care unit with brain hemorrhaging, a broken nose and two black eyes began as a skirmish between Hinds and Shavo Odadjian, bassist for multiplatinum metal band System of a Down.

According to the police report—based on firsthand accounts and corroborated by hotel-security video footage—an inebriated Hinds was leaving Mandalay Bay around 3 a.m. when he encountered Odadjian and musician William Hudson at the hotel’s west valet area. Hinds took off his shirt and hit Odadjian with it, then struck Hudson in both the face and chest, prompting Odadjian to advise Hinds “to relax,” several times, according to the police report.

The police report then indicates both Odadjian and Hudson punched Hinds in the face, knocking him to the ground. An unidentified friend of Hinds, who reportedly witnessed the event, rushed to the musician’s aid and apologized to Odadjian and Hudson, saying Hinds was “just drunk,” according to the police report. Odadjian and Hudson were both questioned by police on the scene.

No charges had been filed at press time, though the police report lists Hudson as a “suspect,” facing a possible charge of “battery with substantial bodily harm.” The police report lists Odadjian as a “witness.”

Hinds was released from UMC on Friday, according to a Vegas-based friend of the musician. A label representative declined the Weekly’s interview request, providing only an official statement reporting that Hinds had suffered “a severe head injury” and that “he is expected to make a full recovery.” Representatives for Odadjian did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

Mastodon performed  “Colony of Birchmen” with Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme from a 26th-floor Palms fantasy suite as part of an MTV Video Music Awards hard rock segment that also featured the Foo Fighters, Motorhead’s Lemmy Kilmister, Gnarls Barkley’s Cee-Lo and System of a Down frontman Serj Tankian.

Although System of a Down has been on indefinite hiatus since May 2006, Odadjian was apparently in town to support longtime bandmate Tankian, who joined the Foo Fighters for a rendering of the Dead Kennedys classic “Holiday in Cambodia.”

According to the police report, tensions ran high after Hinds began drunkenly “annoying” Odadjian and Hudson inside the Palms following the conclusion of the VMAs. Initially, national news reports indicated Hinds’ hospitalization might have resulted from an unprovoked attack, possibly by one or more strangers, prompting harsh reactions from Mastodon supporters. “The dude who jumped Brent is a violent and stupid motherf--ker and was probably stoned too. I hope he gets raped and killed by giant birchmen,” one fan posted to the band’s official website forum.

No word yet on whether Mastodon intends to return to town for its scheduled October 27 performance at the Vegoose festival.

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