Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich disputed reports last month that the band was assembling a tour that would feature the "Big Four" of the 1980s underground thrash metal scene — itself, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax. Metallica frontman James Hetfield gave The Pulse of Radio a little more insight into how the story started. "I think it was certainly spurred on by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and getting all these great, nostalgic feelings, you know. And, you know, the more we thought about — 'Hey, you know what? We should celebrate the Bay Area thrash scene. Why don't we make a reunion of that or something?' And it basically morphed into, you know, the Big Four doing a gig together, and how cool that would be. Pretty much it went as far as that."
Hetfield added that while the idea was looked into, it never really got that far. "We kind of talked a little bit about it, went back and forth," he said. "No one really looked into it. But then the rumor got out and it's one of those things like, 'Well, is it true?' It's one of those awkward positions that you're in — you have a good idea, and you haven't followed through with it quite yet. But I think it would be a great celebration of the past and where we are now in our lives. I think it would be great."
Ulrich said in a recent radio interview about the "Big Four" idea, "I think it would be a super-fun thing to do. It's something that I would definitely support. It's something that I would love to encourage. It's something I love to be very proactive in putting together. But right now . . . it's not something that's like hush-hush being worked on behind the scenes or anything like that."
Much of the fan speculation about such a tour revolves around the participation of Megadeth, which is led by former Metallica guitarist Dave Mustaine. Mustaine has expressed ambivalence about opening for the band that kicked him out 27 years ago and has gone as far as to say that he would not be interested in playing "in the round" (with the stage in the center of the arena and the crowd surrounding), which is currently how Metallica's stage is setup.
Metallica began its latest North American tour last month. They are off this week but will resume next Monday, October 12th, in Winnipeg, Canada.