Metallica is one of the most influential bands of all time. Regardless of what you think of their music, their impact on metal and popular culture at large is undeniable. Artists ranging from Korn to Snoop Dogg to even Avril Lavigne have, at different times, showered the California band with love, showing just how widespread the influence of their music has been.
Whether it be frontman James Hetfield‘s gruff vocals, Lars Ulrich’s unmistakable drum sound or Kirk Hammett’s legendary guitar solos, Metallica remain titans of metal and, even 40 years after their formation, they continue to inspire many.
Metallica, one of the ‘big four’ thrash metal bands alongside Slayer, Anthrax and Megadeth, are the most well-known. In the years since their rise, they’ve appeared in movies, video games and continue to be a presence in the media, something that surpasses that of their thrash peers, even if artistic integrity is sometimes, and rightly, questioned.
Another band that Metallica are tied to is alternative heroes Primus. Frontman Les Claypool and the band need no real introduction and are one of the most celebrated cult bands of the modern era. Claypool is one of the greatest bass players on the planet, and his crunchy slap style has influenced legions of budding four-string slayers.
At some point during the 1980s, after Metallica bassist Cliff Burton passed away in 1986, Claypool auditioned for the role of his replacement. Claypool and Hammett were old high school friends, so after Burton died, Claypool got a phone call asking him to audition. According to Hetfield, Claypool “was too good”, so he didn’t end up getting the gig. This was ironic, as, at the time, Claypool was working as a carpenter and had never realised how big Metallica were until he realised how formal the auditioning process was.
However, this didn’t stop Claypool from cultivating a stellar reputation as the mastermind of Primus. This also didn’t stop him from covering Metallica in 1994. The song was their Cliff Burton-era classic ‘Master of Puppets’, and boy did he do the late Burton justice. He takes on the main guitar line, and Claypoolifies it. The reworking is slapped, funky and hard, and the short but sweet take is one of the most enduring moments in Primus’ history.
See the clip, below.