This week, fans were treated to another Metallica performance of the U.S. national anthem. Ahead of the Golden State Warriors vs. Los Angeles Lakers NBA game March 15, Kirk Hammett and James Hetfield gave a powerful metal performance of the “Star-Spangled Banner.”
Together, the musical duo transformed the classic national anthem into the ultimate guitar shred moment.
Because Metallica reside in San Francisco, it’s no surprise that Hammett and Hetfield were part of the Golden State Warriors‘ NBA game this week. Although the Warriors went on to lose to the Lakers 128 to 97, Hammett and Hetfield gave the iconic performance just before tip-off.
Alongside two black monitors with “Strength in Numbers,” the Warriors logo and Metallica’s symbol across the front, Hammett and Hetfield’s guitar playing controlled the entire performance. Similar to their previous national anthem performances, Hammett took over the lead, playing the main melodies of the “Star-Spangled Banner.”
Meanwhile, Hetfield overlaid numerous rhythmic notes, giving the patriotic song a powerful metal-inspired sound. Eventually, Hetfield ended the performance with a salute before Stephen Curry and LeBron James went head-to-head for the Lakers vs. Warriors game.
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Of course, this recent NBA appearance isn’t the first time Hammett and Hetfield have performed the U.S. national anthem. Back in 2013, Metallica held their first-ever Metallica Night at AT&T Park which is now called Oracle Park. Since then, the event has become an annual occurrence for San Francisco Giants fans.
Along with Hammett and Hetfield’s national anthem performances, Lars Ulrich throws the ceremonial first pitch during the events. The band also sign autographs for MLB fans, give interviews and release special merchandise for Metallica Night.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic changed things last year. Although the annual Metallica Night couldn’t happen, the band still supported the Giants. In September, Hammett and Hetfield played their iconic rendition of the “Star-Spangled Banner” while Robert Trujillo virtually threw the first pitch of the Giants vs. Colorado Rockies game.
Tonight’s National Anthem: @Metallica
— SFGiants (@SFGiants) September 24, 2020
— Metallica (@Metallica) September 24, 2020
Along with San Francisco Giants, Metallica have performed the “Star-Spangled Banner” for other sports teams and events. In June 2015, Hammett and Hetfield played before the official X Games in Austin, Texas. Then, in 2016, the duo opened up the final game of the NHL‘s Stanley Cup against the San Jose Sharks and Pittsburgh Penguins.
As for the Golden State Warriors, Hammett and Hetfield first performed for one of the team’s games in 2015. After the Golden State Warriors took the NBA Western Conference title, they faced the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA finals. To help keep spirits high, Hammett and Hetfield performed the anthem just before game 5’s tip-off. In the end, the Warriors went on to win that game and the NBA title that year.
More recently, Hammett and Hetfield showed their hometown pride again in 2019. The duo performed before game 3 of the 2019 NBA finals where the Warriors faced the Toronto Raptors. The Raptors eventually won the game and their first NBA league title.
Hammett and Hetfield’s latest U.S. national anthem performance arrives shortly after Metallica celebrated the 35th anniversary of Master Of Puppets. For the milestone, the band played the album’s explosive opener “Battery” on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.
Lately, Trujillo has been in the studio with Ozzy Osbourne and a few other familiar faces. Trujillo, Foo Fighters’ Taylor Hawkins and the Red Chili Peppers’ Chad Smith are all featured on Osbourne‘s upcoming album. Back in December, producer Andrew Watt revealed that the iconic musicians are part of the studio band recording Osbourne’s new music.
“There’s a bunch of people involved,” Watt told Guitar World. “I can’t say for sure until the end. But I started doing a bunch of basic tracks with Chad and Robert Trujillo, who used to play in Ozzy’s band. And Taylor Hawkins also came in and played a bunch on the record as well, which adds a different flair. It kind of harkened back to Ozzy’s ’80s era, in a great way. And I think it’s so cool for a rock fan to be able to listen to half an album with Chad Smith on drums, and then you flip it over and you get to hear Taylor Hawkins.”
Before uniting with Metallica in 2003, Trujillo joined Osbourne’s band in the mid-’90s where he both toured and recorded in the studio. Along with performing on Osbourne’s 2001 LP Down To Earth, he also co-wrote “That I Never Heard,” “Junkie” and “Can You Hear Them?” on the album.
This past year, Metallica’s music has been involved in various other projects. Last December, their legendary song “Enter Sandman” was covered by blink-182‘s Travis Barker, Elise Trouw, Carey Watkins and American Sign Language performer Paul Raci. The cover was created for Amazon Prime Video‘s new film Sound Of Metal, which has been nominated for numerous awards at the Oscars this year. The movie stars Raci and Riz Ahmed who are nominated in the acting categories at the 2021 Academy Awards.
As well, Miley Cyrus is currently working on a Metallica’s covers album. Prior to the release of her new album Plastic Hearts, Cyrus revealed that Metallica are one of the bands that inspired the sound on her new rock record. In October, she then told Interview Magazine that she is officially recording a collection of Metallica covers.
“I did a Metallica cover of ‘Nothing Else Matters’ featuring Elton John on piano,” she told Capital Breakfast with Roman Kemp. “I’ve got Yo-Yo Ma, Chad Smith; so many all-stars. I’m so excited about this collaboration. I love when ingredients don’t quite fit.”
So far, Cyrus has not confirmed when her Metallica covers album will be released.
What are your reactions to Kirk Hammett and James Hetfield’s latest U.S. national anthem performance? Let us know in the comments below.