It has been a fantastic summer for feuds. Just, really top notch. Isis is mad at Revolver and I’m fairly certain that Revolver is mad at MetalSucks. Fear Factory would be like the new Van Halen, if Van Halen wasn’t still the new Van Halen. And I think it’s safe to say at this point that, pretty much no matter how this whole Dan Nelson/John Bush drama plays out, no one will ever take Anthrax seriously again (assuming they were still taking Anthrax seriously at all).

And now this. Ladies and gentleman, key founding members of three of the Big Four are now all ready to throw down. This is a clusterfuck of epic proportions. I wish you could all see my face right now, ’cause rarely am I this happy.

It’s a long story, and, as is so often the case, I am really just playing The Daily Show to Blabbermouth‘s CNN. Here we go:

First Dave Mustaine gave an interview to Rolling Stone. It’s not an especially interesting interview; no respect to Greg Prato, who conducted the interview, but it’s mostly standard “I’ve got a new record coming out” chit-chat. Nuthin’ wrong with that. I’ve engaged in plenty of it myself. Just saying, by and large, there’s nothing you to read in this interview.

That is, until partway through, when Mustaine lobs this little missile:

As far as you know, is it true that on the last Metallica tour Cliff Burton was on before he died, the band was planning on firing Lars Ulrich at the tour’s end?
That’s what Scott [Ian, Anthrax guitarist] told me. He said that when Metallica got home, that James, Cliff and Kirk were going to fire Lars.

Whoa, whoa, whoa – let’s just back it up there for a second. That is HUGE, assuming it’s true. For one thing, there’s a kind of perverse wish-fulfillment to the whole concept, since so many fans, rightly or wrongly, think of Burton as the anti-Ulrich who would’ve ensured many more years of awesome metal, and would protect the world from Load and St. Anger and the other Load and whatever that thing that came out last year was called.

And the reveal would clearly be a huge loogie hocked right in Ulrich’s face. ‘Cause, presumably, no one ever told him, not even during the group-hug portion of weekly band therapy.

But there’s something real scummy about what happened here. Let’s look again at how that question was phrased:

As far as you know, is it true that on the last Metallica tour Cliff Burton was on before he died, the band was planning on firing Lars Ulrich at the tour’s end?

Two things strike me as being weird about this phrasing:

  1. “As far as you know” is a lawyer’s phrase. Think about it – that’s some “plausible deniability” shit right there, meant to avoid getting sued for slander. How many times have you heard a politician say “As I far as I know?” Which leads me to –
  2. There’s no question here. I mean, there is, technically, a question being asked – but it suggests prior knowledge of Ulrich’s near-sacking. But there can’t be prior knowledge of said incident, as this little factoid is not common knowledge (hence Blabbermouth running it as a headline and Scott Ian feeling the need to respond to it). So how did Prato know about it going in? There has to have been a pre-interview or something like they do on talk shows, right? So Mustaine, or Mustaine’s publicist or manager or whomever, must have fed it RS. I mean, there’s no other logical explanation.

Alright. So this is already a pretty juicy story, right?

But here’s where it gets really, really good: within hours of Blabbermouth picking up on the story, Scott Ian responded via Tweethrax:

Story’s not true. Little does anyone know but Lars actually owns the name, good luck ever kicking him out.

Now, normally, I’d be inclined to take Ian at his word. Ulrich might actually own the name, and as we’ve already established, Mustaine was clearly fishing for publicity.

But just last week, Ian lied about that whole Dan Nelson thing. Sorry. I should say, as far as I know, Ian lied about that whole Dan Nelson thing. But my point remains the same: dude don’t seem so trustworthy these days.

Sooo… where does that leave this whole soap opera? Neither Ulrich nor Hetfield or Hammett has responded to the story as of yet (Cliff Burton is, obviously, not available for comment). If they wanna just let it blow over, the best thing they could do is just keep their mouths shut, but that’ll never happen; they’re out on tour, where they give 8,000 interviews a day, and at least 7,998 of those journalists, bloggers, et. al. are going to ask about this.

But really, all I wanna know is: can someone please ask Kerry King what he thinks? If we could somehow get Slayer involved in this ridiculousness, too, I think I’d just about jizz in my drawers.


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