Slipknot and Metallica would tour together in 2004 with drummer Joey Jordison saving the band at one gig at Donnington.
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In 2003 Metallica would release their much maligned album St. ANger. The band had gone through a tumultuous time during the making of the record with frontman James Hetfield leaving the group to attend rehab to deal with substance abuse issues. A lot of the turmoil was captured on the 2004 documentary Some Kind Of Monster. A year after the album was released the band was out on tour in Europe during the summer playing their own shows and headlining a variety of festivals across the continent. At one gig in the UK drummer Lars Ulrich was a no show leaving the band in a difficult position. Do they cancel the gig or get someone to fill in? That’s what were going to discuss in today’s video.
On June 6, 2004 Metallica was set to headline the Download Festival, the UK’s biggest metal musical festival. The band had previously played Lisbon Portugal and were on there way to the UK when MTV would report that the band’s drummer Lars Ulrich was feeling under the weather, without disclosing the cause or the symptoms. Ulrich would take a detour to Germany to receive medical treatment while his bandmates headed to the UK. This wasn’t the first time Metallica dealt with illnesses or injuries that jeopordized their live gigs. 4 years earlier in 2000, frontman James Hetfield would suffer a slipped disc and the band had a revolving lineup of singers including Kid Rock and Korn’s Johnathan Davis. Then 8 years prior Hetfield would suffer serious burns to his arms during the group’s co-headlining tour with Guns N’ Roses resulting in John Marshall of Metal Church playing rhythm guitar for a handful of gigs while Hetfield was limited to vocal duties.
Download Festival organizer andy copping would recall Metallica’s infamous gig in 2004 writing on Instagram “Download 2004. The year where there was a no show from Metallica’s Lars Ulrich. I remember receiving a call telling me to go backstage where I was given the news,”
“There were two choices a) do Metallica cancel? or b) do Metallica convince other drummers on site to fill in? I suggested they cancel because I just couldn’t see b) happening, particularly as quite a few drummers that were asked said no.”
Loudersound would publish a piece by writer Alexander milas who was in attendance at the festival that year and recalled that after word spread of Lars being a no-show rumors spread amongst those in attendance about what happened. He would write “I heard Lars Ulrich jumped out of a helicopter as it was landing and disappeared into the crowd,” one allegedly in-the-know label executive tells me with all the severity of a news anchor between JD-and-Coke burps.
Other theories circulating the sardine-packed backstage bar range from death to, even worse, Lars’s departure from the band. ” he’d write.
Metallica weren’t going to let their fans down and as part of their 2004 european tour Slipknot was their opening act and Slipknot that night was also scheduled to play ahead of metallica’s headlining spot at the uk festival.
To salvage the show band would spend several hours rehearsing with several drummers from bands who were playing on the bill that night including Slipknot SLayer and Lars own drum tech. The idea that night was for several drummers to help Metallica make it through their live show. The band would show up an hour late to their gig with frontman james hetfield informing the crowd of w