Nine Inch Nails Sued Over Microphone Stand Allegedly Thrown At Fall Concert

Security guard claims he was 'intentionally, violently' attacked by guitarist Aaron North.

A security guard who claims he was knocked unconscious by Nine Inch Nails guitarist Aaron North’s microphone stand at a Madison, Wisconsin, concert last fall filed a lawsuit against the group.

The suit, which alleges negligence and assault and battery, was filed in Wisconsin’s Circuit Court on June 28 and seeks a trial by jury as well as unspecified punitive and compensatory damages for the guard’s “past and future pain and suffering.” The guard, Mark LaVoie, claims in the filing that on October 13, he was standing in front of Alliant Energy Center’s stage with his back turned to the band. The suit alleges that North, a former member of the Icarus Line, launched his mic stand through the air, coming down hard on LaVoie’s head.

Nine Inch Nails’ label, Interscope Records, could not be reached for comment.

According to the suit, which also specifically names North as a defendant, the blow knocked LaVoie unconscious. He fell to the floor, the suit read, “and was bleeding from a large laceration on the top of his head.” LaVoie was treated at a nearby hospital.

Court papers suggest North “intentionally, violently and without just cause or provocation … attacked and assaulted [LaVoie] when he threw the microphone stand into the audience, striking [him] on the head and causing him serious pain and permanent injury.” North, the suit contends, should have realized tossing the stand into the crowd would wind up hurting someone.

Nine Inch Nails, according to the suit, are liable for LaVoie’s injuries, in part, because the band continues “to employ [North] when Nine Inch Nails knew or should have known that [North] had a history of violent, assaultive and criminal behavior.”

By permitting North to perform at the show, the band, the suit read, “knew or should have known that such permission would probably result in injury to [LaVoie].” In addition, the suit claims the band failed to properly supervise the guitarist, “so as to prevent him from causing serious bodily injury to innocent third persons.”

LaVoie is also seeking compensation for his medical expenses and lost wages, as well as any future income he might lose because of his injuries. The suit cites a 2002 incident in which North stole “Stevie Ray Vaughan’s guitar … by smashing the protective case with a microphone stand” at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas (see “Long Lines For Clinic, Lynch Mob For Icarus Line At SXSW” ). It also claims that, during a concert back in 2004 with the Icarus Line, North “physically beat and inflicted bodily injury on a fan who was in attendance” and that these two incidents indicate “an intentional disregard of [LaVoie's] rights.”