Kirk Hammett says that the technical issues METALLICA faced during its collaboration with Lady Gaga at this year’s Grammy Awards got the band “way more” media attention than would have been the case if the performance had gone off without a hitch.
METALLICA‘s appearance with Gaga at the 59th annual event in Los Angeles on February 12 turned into something of a disaster when the Grammy sound crew did not turn frontman James Hetfield‘s mic on, forcing him to share the mic with Gaga after the first verse and chorus.
As a further humiliation, presenter Laverne Cox did not even introduce METALLICA by name. At the end of the song, a visibly angry Hetfield hurled his guitar at a road crew member while kicking over his mic stand.
When asked what it was like backstage immediately after the mistake seen by millions, Hammett told NJ.com: “Oh, not good! How about everyone screaming and yelling, ‘What the fuck?’ For me, I kept thinking to myself, ‘It doesn’t feel like sabotage. It feels like a real, honest mistake on someone’s part.’ But because we’re human, and because we’re competitive and want to do our best, sometimes an explanation like ‘it’s a simple mistake’ is just not satisfying enough.’
“But the next day I saw all the positive benefits of that chaotic performance,” Hammett continued. “We got way more attention for the mic not working than we would have if we just played with Lady Gaga and pulled it off. It was kind of like a throwback to the JETHRO TULL fiasco,” he said of the 1989 blunder that saw METALLICA lose to TULL in the “Hard Rock/Metal” category.
“We got more publicity back then losing to JETHRO TULL than we did if we would’ve won that Grammy,” he said. “Same thing here: I thought we did a great job and Lady Gaga did a great job. I have the utmost respect for her.”
Shortly after this year’s Grammy Awards, METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich told Rolling Stone that Gaga was the “quintessential perfect fifth member of this band,” saying, “Her voice, her attitude, her outlook on everything is so awesome. [The performance] was so effortless and organic and she just has the spirit of hard rock and metal flowing through her veins. It comes really easy for her. There’s nothing contrived; she just has this super warm, easy energy.”
METALLICA was up for a Grammy this year for “Best Rock Song” for the track “Hardwired” from its new album, “Hardwired… To Self-Destruct”, but lost to the late David Bowie‘s “Blackstar”.