Metallica stand for integrity – Newsted
Metallica returned to the scene of their infamous 1992 concert riot because of “integrity and a man’s word,” says former bassist Jason Newsted.
And he admits he’s only just begun to realise just how important those gestures are to the band’s army of fans.
The thrash giants were midway through a double-header tour with Guns n’Roses when the drama took place at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium. Frontman James Hetfield suffered severe burns and was nearly killed after being caught in a pyro explosion, leading to the band cutting their set short. When GnR also cut their set, with Axl Rose complaining of a sore throat, furious fans took to the streets of the Canadian city and staged a riot. Aftermath scenes showed overturned cars, looted shops and vandalised buildings.
But Newsted wants people to remember that Metallica returned to Montreal the following year to make it up to fans, even though they lost money in the process.
He tells Pure Grain Audio: “As long as you brought in your stub from the other show you go in for free. Whoever didn’t had to give a donation to a food bank or something. We didn’t take the money. They cost us money.
“It’s an integrity thing. It’s not the first time we’d made up shows. When force majeure kept us from playing in Sweden, because all the fluids had frozen up on the buses, we made those shows up.”
The bassist – who admits he was a “dick” during some of his time with Metallica – believes loyalty to their fanbase is one reason the band are still around. “They’ve always made people feel a part of the power,” he says. “I’m just now realising how much that has meant to so many people in their lives.
“No matter how many records they sell Metallica have been ambassadors of metal in a really good way.”
Meanwhile, a Canadian metalwork shop named Metallica Manufacturing has been allowed to keep its name after the band’s lawyers tried to have it changed.
Bill Lawson, owner of the firm, has been subject to court action for several years after his then-teenage son Dan suggested the name.
Now the Canadian Intellectual Property Office has ruled he can continue to pursue his bid to trademark the word “Metallica” in connection to his industrial business.
Dan Lawson says: “I appreciate the music and what they do – but at the same time do they even know about them actually coming after us, or is it their team of lawyers? It could be that the band knows very little about what’s going on.”