MUDVAYNE's CHAD GRAY: METALLICA's JAMES HETFIELD Is 'The Godfather Of Metal'
July 28, 2023
In a new interview with Meltdown of Detroit's WRIF radio station, MUDVAYNE frontman Chad Gray reflected on how he first discovered METALLICA's music nearly four decades ago when he was in his early teens. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I'm always gonna have a special kinship with [METALLICA's second album] 'Ride The Lightning', because I was fortunate enough to have older friends in high school or in whatever fucking grade I was in. I had a friend that was, like, two years older, and he comes up to me and he's got the fucking cassette for fucking 'Ride The Lighting', and he's, like, 'Dude, take this shit home and listen to it. Bring it back to me tomorrow. And if anything happens to this, I will fucking kill you.' I'm, like, okay. I took that fucking album home and listened to it and I'm, like, 'Holy shit.' The next day I bought 'Ride The Lightning'. And then, dude, I was so fucking into it. And then I like start asking around. I'm, like, 'Man, METALLICA rule.' 'Well, they got another album.' 'What?' 'They got an album called 'Kill 'Em All'. 'Oh, fuck, yeah.' … And when I got 'Ride The Lightning', it must have been closer to the end of the cycle [for that album]. So I got 'Ride The Lightning', I got 'Kill 'Em All', and then not long after that, 'Master [Of Puppets]' was released. So it was a fucking pretty small fucking window of time I had three fucking METALLICA records and I was, like, the happiest motherfucker on the planet. So I always will have a connection with 'Ride The Lightning' over the other ones, even though maybe I technically like 'Master Of Puppets' better or '…[And] Justice [For All]'. But 'Ride The Lightning' was my first one."
Gray went on to say that he had a chance to meet the members of METALLICA when MUDVAYNE opened for the James Hetfield-fronted outfit in 2003 as part of the "Summer Sanitarium" tour.
"METALLICA is literally — they're the sweetest fucking people," Chad said. "Dude, for being fucking a hundred-millionaires — like I'm sure they are — they are the most fucking down-to-earth dudes. James Hetfield, the king of fucking everything, is the nicest fucking guy. I remember one time I was in the hallway and he comes walking out of his dressing room. I just stand there, and we just start shooting the shit — you know, very small talk. I think it was the first time I talked to him. Next thing we're talking vocals and shit like that. I'm talking fucking singing with James Hetfield — one of my biggest vocal influences, by the way."
Chad continued: "What James did that I have — what a lot of us have that are under him — is what I call 'yellody'. That's what James did. He was a yellody guy. [Singing lyrics from METALLICA's 'Master Of Puppets' song] 'End of passion play, crumbling away' — that's fucking full voice. He's literally yelling those lyrics. I do that in a lot of my music or whatever. So that's how he influenced me.
"But yeah, I'm sitting there talking shop with him, man, I'm talking vocals with James fucking Hetfield. Are you kidding me? And he gives me, he's, like, 'You know, man, I use these little things, these little Pastilles. You put 'em in your mouth and you suck on 'em and they stick to the back of your teeth.' I'm, like, 'Oh, wow, I've never heard of that.' He's, like, 'Hold on a second.' He goes in his room and he comes back out and he hands me a box of 'em. He's like, 'Yeah, just put 'em in your mouth. You just slide 'em up on the side of your teeth. They stick and it creates saliva for you while you're singing.'
"He's just a fucking great guy, man," Gray added. "He's a really cool dude. And not only just being insanely fucking loaded, he is like the godfather of metal — he really is. His fucking picking hand — all the great fucking guitar players have modeled their right hand from his right hand. He is the fastest down-picking motherfucker on the planet. Scott Ian [ANTHRAX], Dimebag [Darrell Abbott of PANTERA] — fucking, you name it. People literally [focused] on his right hand. And lyrics? Lyrically, he's a fucking beast. He told stories about the fucking plague, about this, about that. And he's the songwriter, man. I guarantee you all those riffs are his riffs. Lars [Ulrich, METALLICA drummer] is, like, even with him because Lars kicks a beat to what he writes, but at the end of the day, Lars is a drummer and James Hetfield's James fucking Hetfield, and you can't touch that shit. [Laughs]"
MUDVAYNE kicked off its first headlining tour in over 14 years, "The Psychotherapy Sessions", on July 20 at iTHINK Financial Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach, Florida. Support on the 26-city trek, which is produced by Live Nation, is coming from COAL CHAMBER, along with GWAR, NONPOINT and BUTCHER BABIES.
Previously, MUDVAYNE made waves in 2022 when they embarked on the "Freaks On Parade" tour co-headlined with ROB ZOMBIE. This 2023 tour, however, marks MUDVAYNE's first headlining endeavor since 2009.
MUDVAYNE formed in 1996 and has sold over six million records worldwide, earning gold certification for three albums ("L.D. 50", "The End Of All Things To Come", "Lost And Found"). The band is known for its sonic experimentation, innovative album art, face and body paint, masks and uniforms. MUDVAYNE is Gray (vocals),Greg Tribbett (guitar, backing vocals),Matthew McDonough (drums, synthesizer) and Ryan Martinie (bass).
Gray has spent the past 17 years fronting HELLYEAH, which released its sixth studio album, "Welcome Home", in September 2019 via Eleven Seven Music. The disc marked the group's final effort with drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott, who passed away more than five years ago.
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