This Saturday, for the first time in America in over 25 years, Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax will take the stage as the Big Four in Indio. The metal titans have played European festivals before, but their sole American date (so far, anyway) is seeing people fly in from around the world to witness a part of history. Since countless musicians, artists and industry executives have grown up worshipping the four bands, Metal Insider asked a cross section of them the following question:
Which of the Big Four bands playing on Saturday means the most to you and why?
Jamey Jasta (Kingdom of Sorrow/Hatebreed): Metallica, because they are a huge part of my life and the last band on my bucket list to tour with.
Jose Mangin (Programmer/host, Sirius XM) Liquid Metal: I’m going to have to say Anthrax because they were my very first metal show in life & I’ve shared a lot of great experiences with the members throughout the years. It’s personal I guess…
Dan Briggs (Between the Buried and Me): Metallica was one of the first bands that really made me focus on multi-part harmony writing. The instrumental section of “Master of puppets” and “Orion” have a great baroque influence, which is a big part of my multi-part writing with BTBAM.
Danny Lilker (Brutal Truth): SLAYER SLAYER SLAYER They still crush.
Sal Abruscato (A Pale Horse Named Death): I say Slayer because they have been at it on their own since day one with no mainstream push or corporate hoopla. They are the pioneers of fast thrash metal.
Johnny Kelly (Type O Negative, A Pale Horse Named Death live drummer): I was into all of these bands when I was younger! For me though, it was Metallica that was top dog. I remember when I was in high school and we all got turned onto Kill Em All. It’s an understatement to say that I became consumed with the band. When Ride The Lightning came out and I heard “Fight Fire With Fire: for the first time, my head exploded! It was like nothing I had ever heard! I got to see them on that tour at L’Amour in Brooklyn in January 1985. They were opening for WASP! I bought Master Of Puppets the day it came out! I ran from school to the record store. I went home and listened to it nonstop for a couple of years! I was glad that I was able to see them a couple of times with Cliff Burton before he passed away. They really were so unique in their sound and approach to their songs. I was a huge Lars Ulrich fan. The things that he did in early part of his career were very intense and pretty innovative. He was a very big influence of mine when I was younger. I loved their super tight riffs along with Hetfield’s vocals. I loved how they did their own thing, their own way and didn’t give a shit about anything or anyone! There really was nothing that they could be compared to when they first came out. It was great to be a part of it and watch it grow from the ground up to be one of the biggest bands ever!
Scott Middleton (Cancer Bats): Anthrax! When my friends and I were 17, we won tickets to go see Anthrax from a radio contest! We got to the show only to find out that the show wasn’t all ages and we couldn’t get in! We were bummed as all hell sitting on the side of the venue, when Charlie Benante comes out of his bus and asks us how we’re doing. We tell him we couldn’t get in cuz we weren’t 19 yet and he said he was mad cuz the show was supposed to be all ages. He ended up sneaking us in the backdoor and let us hangout back stage! We were beyond stoked and he was super cool to us, when in comes the club manager….one of the security guards who wouldn’t let us in saw us sneaking inside with Charlie and reported us. The club manager said we had to leave or the show would be cancelled. So off we went back outside bummed again, but Charlie told us to hang on and went on his bus and came out with the other guys in the band and they autographed an Anthrax poster for each of us! Even though we couldn’t get in, we were beyond happy and blown away by how cool they were to us! Sad thing is, I’ve still never had the chance to see them live, and I’ve been dying to for the last 13 years!!
David Sullivan (Red Fang): All great bands, but if I have to pick 1, I’d say Metallica means the most to me out of those 4. I remember hearing Master of Puppets when I was 16, and it kinda scared me at first, I was like ‘Woah! What is this?!?!’ It was like nothing I’d ever heard before. Then I heard Kill ‘Em All and I was a fan forever… Metallica was definitely was one of the major inspirations for me to play guitar.
John Sherman (Red Fang): It’s really tough to pick one – Metallica and Slayer both changed my life in a HUGE way around the same time. I was just getting into metal right when South of Heaven came out and it totally floored me. I was in 7th or 8th grade and had been rocking Metallica’s Kill ‘Em All non stop on my shitty little Hitachi boom box – I carried that thing with me everywhere, filling the neighborhood with metal! Both bands still mean so much to me, but if I have to pick ONE, I’d have to pick the one that has disappointed me less over the years – SLAYER! In my opinion, South of Heaven is the PERFECT metal album.
Aaron Beam (Red Fang): Metallica, without question. Because the quintessential yet non-existent (as far as I was concerned) metal riff that had been looping in my 15-year-old head was suddenly blasting out of my speakers the first time I heard the guitar intro to “Motorbreath.” Also, Metallica were not only my introduction into thrash and speed metal, but also indirectly to grunge (they were on the cover of a magazine I bought wherein I first read about Soundgarden) and into some of the bands they covered on “Garage Days Re-revisited.” They were hugely influential to my music playing and listening.
Dave Davidson (Revocation): It’s really hard to pick a favorite since all the bands on the Big 4 Tour have been a huge influence on me, but if I have to choose one I would say Megadeth. To me Rust In Peace is one of the greatest thrash metal records ever and is riff-tastic from start to finish. The solos were also a huge selling point for me growing up, every guitarist in Megadeth has been a serious shredder. Marty Friedman is one of my top 5 favorite guitarists of all time!
John Hoffman (Weekend Nachos): Every band on the Big 4 means a lot to me in different ways, but Slayer is my favorite of them…every single pissed off, misanthropic, hate-filled band you can think of owes their vibe to these fucking maniacs. Probably the hardest band of all time. When I think of metal, I think of powerful riffs and gear. When I think of Slayer, I think of pure hate and violence. That’s the difference. The other 3 bands mean a lot to me too but I can sum up each of ‘em individually with Scott Ian’s VH1 commentaries, “Go To Hell” being on the Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey Soundtrack, and the best sounding orchestra/rock band combo that anyone has ever experienced in their whole life.
Champ Morgan (Kill The Client): With the Big 4 super tour it’s hard for to say which of these bands meant the most to me. They all played such a huge role in my early hair farming hate filled youth. I was way into thrash as a kid. The faster and meaner the better. I remember hearing Slayer for the first time and was just blown away! Just the raw viciousness of it was ridiculous to me. Reign in Blood was the album and it killed (just like it still does). Megadeth was the first band that dealt with any kind of political views in music that I had ever heard of and the video for “Peace Sells” backed that up. This was the starting point of me hating the government and questioning everything that had a political stamp of approval. Anthrax was just plain awesome to me. Great riffs and a great sense of humor. You always wondered what kind of jackass would wear those jams with a black band t-shirt on the street? I WAS THAT JACKASS! Joey Belladonnas voice was so clean and powerful layered over the top of those sick fuckin guitars and machine gun drums. The song “Indians” was big for me. Being a kid from Oklahoma I understood what was being said because I saw it (and the big war dance breakdown was pretty awesome too). But, really Metallica was my entire world for many, many years. They have fallen off that pedestal these days. But, back then if you insulted that band we were gonna fight and you were gonna lose. Period. I listened to them every single day. Cliff Burton was the man. Just destroying people and perceptions of what a bass player can do. James Hetfields voice and guitar playing were always just buzzsaw like. The solos Kirk laid out were off the charts. But, when you’re a Joe Satriani student those things have a tendency to shine through. And Lars’ drumming just crushed. It was simple and kinda jacked up. But, it was the icing on the thrash cake. I grew my hair out like Hetfield’s and was a general drinking trouble making machine screaming “alcoholica… drank’em all” all the way. When I was in desert storm and we went into Iraq for the first time I had a tape that had “Master of Puppets” on one side and “Reign in Blood” on the other. I listened to that the first time I saw what real war was. It was the soundtrack to basically coming face to face with reality. These bands were the soundscape of my coming of age. It was thrash full speed ahead when I was a kid and knowing that these guys have pulled it back together for a “super tour” is cool. Not everybody got to see those bands kill it when it was real. But, letting these kids see what was is a good thing because the kids today need to take some notes from these bands. To be raw, write good songs, and just lay it down at every fuckin show! To this day I still wear Metallica and Anthrax shirts on stage. They’re like good luck charms for me.
We’ll be bringing you more answers tomorrow.