Beaten musican takes the stage again

April 23, 2011 9:01:22 PM PDT
A Chicago musician critically beaten as he tried to break up a fight between a man and a woman was back on stage Saturday night.

Bass player Matthew Leone played with his band Madina Lake at Metro.

He had come to the aid of a woman last summer who'd been fighting with her husband, only to then be attacked by that man.

Leone suffered a traumatic brain injury during the attack, and some thought that Saturday night's concert would never happen.

"You know, a big cauldron of so many different emotions that are very intense that by the time you take a sip, you're just numb," Leone said.

Leone's twin brother, Nathan -- the lead singer of Madina Lake -- says doctors initially gave Matthew a slim chance of survival.

"It's been the most traumatic thing you could imagine, but we got here, you know," Nathan Leone said.

After five days in a coma, brain surgery and months of recovery, Leone is back playing the bass. He remains sensitive to loud sounds and flashing lights -- an occupational hazard for a rocker -- and he's had to re-learn certain things.

"My index finger was a little more difficult to control, which I thought was very interesting. It's hard to keep in time. But we're battling through, and we'll be OK," Matthew Leone said.

"To be honest, I cried. I mean it was like, when he started coming back, and I knew he was in there 100 percent, and then he started to develop the physical abilities again, all of it was inexplicable," Nathan Leone said.

Matthew Leone is used to overcoming challenges. He and Nathan started Madina Lake after winning $50,000 on the television show "Fear Factor."

Leone's medical bills continue to pile up, but in recent months, local musicians, including Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins have held benefit shows on his behalf.

"I just want everyone to be happy and to feel the love that they've generated and that's been reciprocated. And I want everyone walking out of the room tonight just feeling connected," Matthew Leone said.

Leone's attacker has been charged with attempted murder and the case is currently working its way through the courts. In the meantime, Madina Lake just completed their third album, which is set to be released in a few months.

The band fittingly opened Saturday night's concert with the song "Fight to Survive."