That Time Metallica Covered Van Halen in Band’s Hometown
Metallica know how to play to the hometown crowd, as evidenced with their "doodles" in set lists over the last few years. During a 2017 stop at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, they briefly paid homage to Van Halen, and with Eddie Van Halen's death making headlines last week, this performance from the metal titans saluting the hometown heroes has come back around online.
For their set, Metallica surprised the crowd with a portion of "Runnin' With the Devil." Though a little out of his comfort zone, James Hetfield did an admirable job with David Lee Roth's inflections in the song and added some of those familiar Diamond Dave screams as well.
The fans seemed to enjoy the nod, audibly singing along and helping Papa Het out on the vocals, but after the first verse, Hetfield shut it down, explaining "That's all I can sing." While acknowledging it was fun, the singer cleared his throat as the band then launched into "Seek and Destroy."
Metallica issued a band statement on Eddie Van Halen's death last week, stating, "We are enormously saddened to hear about the untimely passing of Eddie Van Halen. We considered him an inspiration, an idol, and after spending a summer together on the road in '88, a friend. Sending love to Alex, @wolfvanhalen & everyone in the greater VH family."
Guitarist Kirk Hammett then followed in an interview with the New York Times, “To me, he was like Tesla or Louis Pasteur or Ray Kurzweil. He might not have been working with circuits or engines or whatnot. He was working with musical notes and guitar strings and bridges and amplifiers.”
He went on to reflect, "It’s kind of mind-boggling. That first Van Halen album blew open everyone’s minds to the potential of electric guitar. My friend John Marshall, who ended up being my guitar tech in Metallica, we went out and bought that album and we could not figure out what we were hearing. Like, it wasn’t real. His right-hand technique, the way he hammered on strings, with super-wide intervals that a person could not humanly stretch. It was an incredible sound. And he was using it so effectively."
Adding of his legacy, Hammett stated, "Eddie started this momentum of just getting sounds out his guitar that no one got. I mean no one. The first four or five Van Halen albums, he was inventing techniques that we all use now. My guitar-playing friends, we’d get the new Van Halen album and shake our heads. 'What’s Eddie doing now?'"
Metallica Cover Van Halen's "Running With the Devil" in 2017
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