Manager Says Everclear Didn't Encourage Stage-Dives

Argues that group had nothing to do with injury caused by football players jumping into crowd.

Two days after a lawsuit was filed against Everclear by a woman who was badly hurt at a recent concert, the band's manager is

refuting claims that group incited the stage-diving that lead to her injuries.

"In the suit, she claims that we invited [footballs players Drew] Bledsoe and [Max] Lane on the stage," said band manager Darren

Lewis, referring to Tameeeka Messier's claims against Everclear singer Art Alexakis, bassist Craig Montoya and drummer Greg

Eklund. "That's not true. If they were invited onstage, it was by security or someone at the Paradise."

What started out as a night of rock 'n' roll for Boston University cafeteria worker Messier and New England Patriots star quarterback

Drew Bledsoe and offensive guard Max Lane on Nov. 13 ended with neck surgery for Messier, the 34-day suspension of the

entertainment license of the Paradise club and a negligence lawsuit against the band, the players and the nightclub.

Messier, 23, filed the suit against Everclear, Bledsoe, Lane and the Paradise in Suffolk County Superior Court on Wednesday. The

suit alleges that Everclear and the Paradise allowed the burly football players onstage and then encouraged them to dive into the

crowd, resulting in Lane allegedly landing on her head and rupturing two discs in her neck.

Messier's suit also claims that Bledsoe, Lane and backup quarterback Scott

Zolak were among the 639 patrons at the Paradise on Nov. 13 to see

Everclear. Near the end of Everclear's show, Lane allegedly pressured a

security guard identified only as McKenna to let him on the stage, but

McKenna refused, saying it was forbidden by club policy, according to the suit. The lawsuit then charges that Lane told McKenna

about betting Bledsoe that he could get onstage with the band. McKenna then asked singer Alexakis, who agreed to let Lane on the

stage, according to the suit.

"That just isn't true," Lewis said. "From what I know, they were playing

their final song of the night and the guys came onstage. [Messier] claims that

there was some conversation with Art [Alexakis], but that didn't happen."

Lewis said he was unsure if the players climbed on the stage or walked on from the side, but added that he was certain that Everclear

had nothing to do with subsequent stage-dives. "They finished their set and walked off the stage," he said, disputing the suit's assertion

that Alexakis encouraged Bledsoe to jump into the crowd, announcing "Drew is going to stage-dive now."

"The band was back in their dressing room when all that happened," Lewis

said. "They didn't see it happen, but our road manager did and did what he

could to help her."

Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for the Paradise said the venue plans to fight the decision to suspend their entertainment license as a result

of the gig. "The Paradise Club disagrees with the findings of the Mayor's Office of Consumer Affairs and Licensing and will appeal

the decision," Thaleia Schlesinger said in a statement released by the club on Friday.

The 34-day suspension, according to Nancy Lo, of the Mayor's Office of Consumer Affairs and Licensing, is based on the

department's claims that the club had allowed too many concert-goers into the Everclear show and had allegedly permitted Bledsoe

and Lane dive from the stage. The ruling prevents the club from holding any shows or musical events for 30 days beginning Dec. 17,

with another four days tacked on for previous violations.

An appeal on the decision is to be filed in Suffolk County Superior Court in the coming days, Schlesinger said, adding that the speed

of the filing "all depends on how long it takes to get the paperwork together." Meanwhile, the concerts scheduled to take place during

the club's suspension will be either rescheduled or moved to a different venue, Schlesinger said.

Messier's suit, which names the band's regular members as defendants but not touring guitarist Steven Birch, fails to specify the

amount of money the complainant is seeking.

It does, however, claim Messier lacks health insurance, has thus far paid all medical bills out of her own pocket and should be

compensated for her injuries. "Basically, it's the lawyers looking for the most money," Lewis said. [Sat., Dec. 13, 1997, 9 a.m. PST]