11 Unexpected Things Metallica Have Done
When it comes to pulling the rug from under us, Metallica are repeat offenders. And not just since they’ve earned the cache to do what they want and laugh at us if we don’t like it. Nope, they’ve always done odd stuff. And most of the time it’s worked out beautifully. The lucky gits…
11. They Made Two Films
Yep, didn’t think that’d happen. Especially not after Some Kind Of Monster was quite so… revealing. Actually, it was like a heavy metal Jeremy Kyle, with plenty of petty bitching, door slamming and conflict. It ends well, with St Anger coming out (cough), but you wondered if ‘Tallica would ever be brave enough to open up like that on screen again. Well, no, so they made a massive, nutty 3D thing (Through The Never). We still don’t understand what the hell’s going on with the plot, but the live stuff is even better than Jurassic Park and Star Wars at the same time.
10. They Cut Their Hair
“JUDAS!” we cried, as Hetfield’s mullet hit the floor at some point in the mid-‘90s. Then we saw they’d all been at it when the Load pictures came out. We looked at the back of it, then looked at the back of Kill ‘Em All. They looked kind of the same, but without the hair, they’d lost something, right? Just their hair, it seems. Load and Re-Load weren’t to everyone’s taste, but guess what? Like they were still like a T-Rex attack – hair or not. Although if they wanna grow it all back that’d be swell.
9. They Played In Antarctica
Bit nippy out. Presumably in some sort of old-style race to get there before Iron Maiden could, Metallica semi-recently decided that the new territory metal bands had to conquer was Antarctica. Which would be fine, except there’s fuck all there, and the audience is limited to penguins. Oh, and they had to play in basically a greenhouse. But still, just deciding to hot foot it somewhere that stupid for a gig is still pretty cool, innit.
8. They Hosted A Horror Fest
Horror nerd Kirk Hammett hosted FestEvil, a big old celebration of metal, horror and things that go bump in the night. He defiantly proved once and for all that his collection of horror memorabilia is WAY better than anyone else’s, lorded it round in a cape and fangs, and then summoned a ghost of his past by getting up onstage with his old buddies in Exodus. Which sounds a lot more fun than listening to Lars bang on about his art collection.
7. They Made A Video
Metallica didn’t bother with videos in the ‘80s. “What we were doing back then was so different from what was going on with radio and MTV in America that we felt sort of, why bother?” quoth Lars on why they sidestepped it. But they were doing just fine on word of mouth and road graft, without having to make a cheesy video to impress MTV execs. When they finally did one in 1988 for One, it wasn’t exactly what the men in suits were used to. Mixing footage and dialogue of the chilling war movie Johnny Got His Gun (about a soldier begging for death after a landmine blows off his arms and legs and renders him blind, deaf and speechless), with the song’s harrowing narrative, Metallica proved that they could do something on MTV, and they were going to do it their way.
6. They Took Fans To Court
Controversy alert! The debate as to whether or not the year 2000 lawsuits against Napster and fans using it to download and share Metallica’s music remains a hot one. But it was certainly a surprise that Lars Ulrich basically came out in defence of the music business in a time when very few people took digital music seriously, making himself the most hated man in music for a time. “We were right about Napster,” said Lars years later, when the effects of downloading had made themselves clear.
5. They Were On The Simpsons
Their bus stops by Otto’s school bus. The way he whispers an awed ‘Metallica’ is basically how we’d all say it if their bus pulled up alongside us at the lights. Just a shame they didn’t stick around for a jam with Homer on D’oh Remorse.
4. They Covered Green Day
Say whaaaat? Yep, they did. Kind of. When filling in for their fellow Californians, Hetfield explained where Billie Joe Armstrong was (“Getting himself sorted out”), and then bust into a short rendition of American Idiot. Which is just weird.
3. They Let Their Fans Choose Their Set
Be honest, you really, really wanted Metallica to spend Sonisphere playing Invisible Kid off St. Anger for three hours. This is the risk Metallica took when they let fans vote for their set. That didn't happen, but it was still awesome. If they decide to ever do that again, and if any political slimeballs want to help ‘massage’ the voting figures, get in touch on Twitter or something.
2. They Played A Tent At Download
There are Coke advertising campaigns that are better kept secrets than this was. But even though we’d been there since 6am waiting patiently in the tent, it wasn’t until Metallica stepped out onstage – with new bassist Rob Trujillo – and ripped us a new tent flap that we could actually believe it was going on. It was absolute pandemonium. But funnily enough, we rather liked it. Come on, lads, do it again, eh? Or we’ve got a good pub with a function room by the office. Lads?
1. They Played With Joey Jordison
Download, 2004. James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett emerge onstage – long after they’re due to start – to tell us something. Lars ain't here. "Aww, hell no!" we thought. Then they revealed that his drum stool would be filled by Dave Lombardo from Slayer and OH GOD, JOEY JORDISON! We couldn’t tell if James or Joey were more nervous, not least of all because circumstances dictated they only play classics, and we were too busy having the time of our lives to stop and think too hard about such things.
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