THE Scots band at the centre of claims they clubbed a baby seal to death backstage have revealed that the creature was so decomposed it exploded all over them.
The lead singer of Azure Halo said no-one would remove the dead pup so he tried to pick it up and was immediately showered with blood, which also covered the equipment.
Witnesses misinterpreted what they saw and posted on social media that the seal had been clubbed with a brick.
But the members of the band, who were playing at a Deoch an Dorus festival on Arran, have been formally cleared by Police Scotland.
It has been established that the seal was washed up, already dead, two days before the incident at the weekend. Despite that, promoters have now cancelled all 12 of Azure Halo’s upcoming gigs and the band have been bombarded with death threats from animal lovers.
The one-day gig, at Sannox on Arran, welcomed about 500 revellers on Saturday, and featured bands from across Scotland.
Azure Halo, a seven-piece psychedelic rock and blues act, were in the bar waiting to go on stage when events unfolded about 5pm.
Speaking for the first time since the incident, but refusing to give surnames for fear of reprisals, lead singer and rhythm guitarist Rik said: “I went round to see what time we were on the stage at.
“And then I came back again and I could smell the smell. And I said to one of the guys, what is that?
“And he said oh there’s a seal lying there. And I says – you’d better move it. That’s a hazard. It was just lying right next to the beach.
“The seal was maybe 1ft from the beach. It was just a wee grey baby seal.
“So when I’m telling people to move it, they’re not moving it, because it’s minging.
“You know what a rotten fish smells like? Same smell.”
He added: “I grabbed it by the tail. As I went to throw it away the thing burst open because of the methane gas in it.
“I didn’t expect the thing to blow up. It just burst because it was rotten.
““There was just lots of blood everywhere. It was running through the grass, it was that thick. It flowed underneath the tent.
“And then we went on stage. I had some blood on my trousers and my jacket which was really really stinking.”
Bass player Neil said of the smell: ““We had to cope with that all the way home.”
He added: “The only bits of seal inside the tent were because when he originally picked it up it exploded.
“It actually made it into the tent through the gaps and got all over our equipment and everything.”
He admitted he had not paid much attention at first, saying: ““I was trying to find my bass. I didn’t realise it was going to turn into: “I killed a seal.”
Harmonica player and backing singer Alan said: “We only saw the aftermath. We walked into carnage.”
The remains of the seal were eventually moved further down the beach by some iron-stomached helpers.
But the band had to explain themselves before being allowed to play.
Rik said: “As far as we’re aware, the rest of the festival had been told that we’d killed a baby seal and not to watch us. During our first song we had one person in front of us.”
A post on social media, which spread like wildfire and was widely taken at face value, claimed the seal had been clubbed on the head with a brick.
Rik added: “I’m sure with 400 people at a festival if someone had been hitting a baby seal to death with a rock somebody would have filmed it
“How would you catch a seal? Seals are fast. Look how much hassle a polar bear has.
“It would be funny, apart from the death threats, and the threats of violence, and the children getting bullied.”
He added: “We were supposed to be playing with From the Jam in Newcastle in October. Basically all of our gigs have been cancelled.”
“All of our Facebook likes have disappeared. We want to get it sorted.”
A police spokeswoman: “Our information is that the baby seal was washed up on the beach on Thursday and that it was already dead.”