TRIVIUM's MATT HEAFY: METALLICA Is 'Truly The Greatest Band In The World'
November 10, 2021
TRIVIUM opened for METALLICA at the heavy metal giants' "intimate" concert on November 4 at Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. Tickets for the 7,000-seat-theater show went on sale on July 30 and quickly sold out. Speaking to El Cuartel Del Metal about how the Orlando metallers landed the opening slot at the METALLICA gig, TRIVIUM frontman Matt Heafy said: "It was Sunday afternoon [four days before the show]. I think we were just about to watch a movie with the kids. And I got an e-mail from our manager. He's, like, 'METALLICA asked if you can be available for this Thursday.' We were, like, 'Yes. Yes, we can. Let's do everything we can.' But we had to keep it quiet 'cause it wasn't fully confirmed yet. It didn't get confirmed until, I think, 30 minutes before we started driving down to South Florida. So we had to get our crew back down to Florida, get our gear back together, rehearse again. Luckily, we all rehearse so much individually, it's not like we're ever sloppy; it's not like we take time off. So we were ready to go. And we made it happen. We got down there. We weren't able to say 'hey' [to the guys METALLICA], but METALLICA left us an amazing handwritten letter and gave us a box of [METALLICA's] Blackened [whiskey]."
He continued: "To be able to see them at a quote[-unquote] small show; I mean, a small show for them is seven thousand people. That's more people than we can do on a big show. So, to be able to watch them that close — I was able to be on the floor and watch them — it was incredible. They're all amazing, but [James] Hetfield's [METALLICA frontman] voice sounds better than ever. I don't know how the hell that happened, but he sounds like a better singer now than he's ever been. And it's just so amazing. The vibe was great."
Heafy added: "They're truly the greatest band in the world and [have] always been the greatest band in the world. And it's awesome that they thought of us. They were, like, 'Hey, let's get TRIVIUM down here.' For METALLICA to have an opening band, that's usually just their decision; it's whatever they wanna do. And the fact that they picked us was really cool."
Asked if TRIVIUM has ever gotten feedback from any members of METALLICA about their music, Heafy said: "Way back in 2006, we did festivals with them. I remember we'd never met them before. Lars [Ulrich, METALLICA drummer] pops his head in the dressing room. We were, like, 'Holy crap.' He starts talking to us. He said how they really liked the 'Master Of Puppets' cover we did for Kerrang! [magazine]. They obviously liked the band 'cause they brought us out. I remember they brought us, AVENGED [SEVENFOLD] and BULLET [FOR MY VALENTINE] out for a couple of off dates and they kind of looked at the three of us as the next generation of metal bands, which was really cool. They've always been complimentary. I've been able to hang out with Kirk [Hammett, METALLICA guitarist] a couple of times. Kirk took us out to an incredible sushi dinner on that tour. Kirk has taken us out to an incredible Chinese place in San Francisco years and years and years later. We've always kept good casual contact with them, and they're the kings. They've always been nothing but truly wonderful, welcoming, amazing people."
Back in April, TRIVIUM bassist Paolo Gregoletto reflected on what it was like to meet his heroes in METALLICA. Recalling the night in 2006 when he and his bandmates ended up having dinner with Kirk Hammett in Amsterdam, he told Epic Footnote Productions' "There Goes My Hero" podcast: "It was at the hotel they were staying at. It was in Amsterdam. It was at a really fancy place, and they had a fancy sushi restaurant. Kirk really loved [TRIVIUM's] 'Ascendancy' [album], and he just wanted to come out and hang out with us. So we went to dinner at that place in the hotel and pretty much just ordered everything on the menu — like, every single thing… I don't know how long we were there, but it was quite awhile. It was crazy. And then at the end, he kind of jokingly handed me the bill, like, 'Here you go.'
"It was pretty wild to just hang out with this dude," Paolo continued. "I don't even remember what we talked about; that's the craziest thing. It's almost like one of those experiences [where] you know it happened, but you don't really remember. It was like waking up from a dream and being, like, 'Wow, that was wild. What happened?' You don't remember all the details, but you know something happened."
Asked how old he was when he first discovered METALLICA's music, Paolo said: "I think it was '96 — I'm pretty sure that's when I found METALLICA. So I was probably about 11 or 12 when I discovered them. It was right when I started playing bass. I saw [METALLICA's] 'King Nothing' [video] on MTV, and I was just, like, 'That's the band. That's the coolest thing ever. And these dudes are playing in the snow, and they look cool.' At that point, all I knew was pop-punk and whatever was popular on MTV. So they were very different. And, of course, metal in the '90s — this is before I discovered PANTERA and anything like that — metal is not on MTV anymore at that point; it was starting to slowly filter out. And I wasn't watching 'Headbangers Ball', if it was even around in '96. So that was it. METALLICA was kind of flying the flag in the mainstream world, and thank God I found them, 'cause I don't know if I would've gotten into music the way I did. To me, that was what made me serious about it, like, 'Okay, I wanna play this type of music. I wanna do what these guys are doing.' And pretty much after that, that was my homework after school — was to just watch METALLICA videos and watch [METALLICA's] 'Live Shit: Binge & Purge' [concert videos] and all that stuff, and just try to emulate them with my own local band and trying to figure out how to make it work."