Some band tours match up better than others. There are also absolutely awful concert tour matchups (see below). Metallica and The Rolling Stones fall somewhere in the middle where expectation and reality don’t quite meet. These are a couple of Metallica’s Rolling Stones tour stories from James and Lars:
The Sexy Bum Wiggle: Metallica’s Rolling Stones Tour Stories
Back in the ’90s, I was on a Detroit rock station, and James Hetfield came in for an interview with Ted Nugent. I STILL remember James Hetfield talking about being side-stage for a Rolling Stones concert. He said that during the concert, The Rolling Stones’ support staff had cues on Mick’s prompter, including DANCE MOVES like “sexy bum wiggle.” This left an impression on James… and me.
No Eye Contact: Metallica’s Rolling Stones Tour Stories
I recently saw an interview Lars Ulrich gave on Bill Mahers’ Club Random and it reminded me of James’ story. Lars’s memory was quite a bit less humorous and more disheartening. Metallica opened for The Rolling Stones on a couple of shows back in 2005. In the course of the conversation, Lars revealed that Metallica was told not to “make eye contact” with Mick Jagger or to “talk to him.” According to Lars there was a silver lining, “I always go say hello to our support act. I look them in the eye. I ask them if there’s anything they need. It’s a human thing; if somebody comes out and plays on a Metallica stage, I want them to feel at home.”
My Two Cents
Who knows if Mick was even aware that his staff was giving out these instructions… or if he would have made a different choice in 2023 than he did in 2005. That is the better part of 20 years of growing as an individual. Either way, Mick would not be the only one. I heard from co-workers when I was in Washington D.C. that Paul Simon’s people gave the same “do not make contact” advisory. When I escorted backstage winners to meet Van Halen, a handler came out and gave VERY SPECIFIC instructions to our group. We were told not to shake Eddie Van Halen’s hand too firmly. The handler was extremely serious about this matter.
Bottom line… and I quote Jim Morrison, “People are strange.” It’s near impossible to know if the messages we receive are coming from the artist or from the management. I think the timeline also matters. To say someone is the “same person” at 20-40-60 etc is ridiculous. I’d like to think we all grow and learn as we age. If we don’t, that’s the real low point in anyone’s life, in my opinion.
5 Opening Act and Headliner Combos That Actually Happened