The Violent Story Of Alex Band's Kidnapping

Fans of the band The Calling were stunned when the lead singer, Alex Band, was reportedly kidnapped. The Calling is best known for their song "Wherever You Will Go," which was a hit in the early 2000s (via Billboard). And in August of 2013, fans lined up to see the first concert from "The Calling" in nearly eight years at the Lapeer Days Festival (per ABC News).

This was supposed to be the comeback tour for The Calling, reports Billboard. Despite the early-2000s chart-topping success of "Wherever You Will Go," the group was sued in 2003 by a former bassist and a drummer over money matters. After releasing his own separate solo project in 2010, frontman Alex Band was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease just a year later in 2011. However, Band felt well enough to play the Lapeer Days Festival in 2013.

But from the very start, the night went poorly.

What really happened after the concert?

The band apparently arrived so late for their concert that they almost didn't get paid for the gig, The County Press reports. In addition, lots of witnesses remembered Alex Band's behavior that night and suspected he was using drugs at the time.

There are two sides to the Alex Band kidnapping. According to NME, Band claims that after returning from the show, the 32-year-old left his hotel room around 3 a.m. He went out for a walk and was approached by two men in a blue van. He said the men tried to speak with him, then grabbed him by the shirt and pulled him inside the vehicle.

Band was then reportedly hit from behind, causing him to slip and fall. The kidnappers beat the singer with a police baton and had a demand: they wanted his "Hollywood money." They held Band at gunpoint and stole his wallet and cell phone (via ABC News).

Kidnapped and injured

Alex Band said by then, he was scared and crying (per NME). He feared for his life, so he told his captors that he had recently found out he was going to be a father. After considering this, the kidnappers shoved Band out of the van, telling him, "It's your lucky day," as CNN reports.

But his injuries weren't over yet — as he fell from the van to the ground, he hit train tracks and fractured his spine. Band says he was left unconscious on these train tracks until a few of the band members found him later. When his friends found him, they rushed Band to the emergency room.

The injuries Band sustained were severe: He fractured his lower spine after falling on the train tracks, broke three teeth, and got 15 stitches on his face. He was covered in bruises from being beaten with the baton. He also told ABC News in an interview that he got a concussion.

Faking the kidnapping?

The story didn't end there: Some media outlets began to speculate that Alex Band was making up parts or all of the information about the night of the kidnapping, as The County Press reports. Band reportedly told police that the kidnappers had taken about $400 from him, but he later said he actually lost $1,200. And to add to their evidence, investigators read early-morning text message exchange between Band and another man, Christopher D. Gruno, who was eventually arrested for the assault. They also found Band's personal belongings — including sunglasses, a water bottle, and a bracelet — in the bloodied area where he was discovered after the attack.

Following their investigation, the Lapeer County Prosecutor said, "The evidence did not support his [Band's] original story." After an investigation, including interviews with multiple witnesses and footage from security cameras, police could now paint a different picture of the events of August 2013.

New evidence

The County Press reports that what actually happened, according to Alex Band's text messages, was that the musician left the concert around 1 a.m. He hopped in a taxi to a Best Western hotel he was staying at, arriving around 2:15 a.m. Band left the Best Western in another taxi at 3:09 a.m., less than an hour after he first arrived at the hotel. The driver of that taxi said he dropped the musician off at Fat Boy's Bar and Grill, where witnesses saw Band talking with Christopher D. Gruno (pictured above). Text messages later confirmed to investigators that the men had contacted each other that night.

The two men met up near a local elementary school — but the situation exploded when Band called Gruno an expletive. Gruno then beat Band up. Gruno was sentenced to probation from 2015 to 2021 for his role in the attack (via the Michigan Department of Corrections).

Culprit is arrested

Police said they tried to contact Alex Band once he returned to California but had trouble reaching him. The County Press reports that Christopher D. Gruno was arrested in 2014 for assault with a dangerous weapon, armed robbery, carrying a concealed weapon, and two counts of felony firearm.

Per NME, Alex Band maintains his original claims about how the incident played out, and he denies that it was either drug-related or a hoax. Band told ABC News in an interview that he takes his substance rehabilitation seriously. He has said that the allegations of a hoax were "disgusting," adding that he could not have beaten himself so badly. He thanked his unborn child for saving him.

TMZ reports that Band's severe injuries required him to get 11 teeth removed, followed by 10 dental implants in 2019. He told TMZ that he was excited for his upcoming tour in 2020, after years of working to regain his health after the kidnapping.