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Music

The moment Metallica backed Oasis and slammed Blur

@josephtaysom

The battle of Britpop dominated the 1990s, seemingly splitting the country in two as fans sided with either Oasis or Blur. In a piece of music tribalism, it was borderline forbidden to enjoy both, fans were encouraged to tie your colours to the mast, and Metallica went all-in on the Gallagher brothers.

The rivalry between the two groups transcended music and became a cultural talking point. It played out on the front pages of the tabloids and, arguably, marks the final time that there was national interest in bands and alternative music. Truthfully, it’s hard to imagine any guitar band tractioning a similar level of interest again.

Even though they privately attended the same bars in London, in the newspapers, Oasis and Blur were ridiculing one another almost daily. While they weren’t the best of friends, both groups knew that controversy sold records, and deep down, this is what fuelled their feud.

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At the height of the rivalry, Metallica attended a red carpet event and gave their thoughts about the battle of Britpop. “Oasis in their heart are just a rock band,” Lars Ulrich told the broadcaster, with Kirk Hammett nodding in agreement at his bandmate. “Blur at heart, are just a complete pile of shit,” the drummer added.

Hammett added: “Oasis rock. They know how to rock, they have some swagger, they have this attitude.” Ulrich then intervenes and says: “Oasis come along, and have this fuck you attitude and swagger, (they say), ‘We are the best band on the planet’. You might be offended by it, but how can you not admire somebody who comes along and says that?”

Ulrich’s love for Oasis has continued to soar, and in 2014, he recalled in a piece for The Guardian the first time he came across the band. Metallica were on tour in the UK, and he was browsing Select when an interview with the group caught his attention due to their industrial language. A few weeks later, Ulrich heard ‘Supersonic’ on the radio and immediately knew it was the group he was reading about.

He continued: “The Oasis phenomenon cut across all shapes, sizes, boundaries and classes. Everybody knew Oasis and, in some way were impacted by them. And if they didn’t love them, it was often the polarising opposite. But most importantly, nobody didn’t care. Everyone had an opinion. Everybody had a thought. Nobody ignored them. No one.”

The Metallica duo didn’t explain why they thought Blur were a “complete pile of shit”, but not being Oasis was enough for them to feel that way about the Londoners. It was born out of their strong loyalties towards the Gallagher brothers, who Ulrich was prepared to walk over hot coals to defend.