The Verse’s Gemma Turner interviewed the Metallica Tribute Band ahead of their show in Southampton, Saturday 17th February 2018
Metallica Reloaded – Talk the Benefits of Being in A Tribute Band.
There is often a lofty reaction when you mention you are heading to see a ‘tribute band’. Coming from Brighton – a city where we are almost spoilt in choice for new and innovative music – I find even myself sometimes a little too misplaced when I see ‘another cover band’ on the bill. I wouldn’t quite classify myself as a music snob, although enthusiast would be fair. However, my reaction to tribute and cover bands has often been “but I’ve heard/seen the original”. This discourse needs to be picked apart.
With this in mind, I caught up with the UK’s leading Metallica Tribute band – Metallica Reloaded before their sell-out show at The Brook in Southampton this weekend for a chat about life in a tribute band.
‘We are just normal guys that love to play great music’…
Metallica Reloaded started in 2010, and collectively the band have 40 years experience in playing live music. They are made up of five members. Wayne Wilmut, on vocals and guitar who represents Hetfield, Daz Towner (Hammett) on Guitars, Jay Hazell (Newsted/Trujillo) on Bass and John Angell (Ulrich) on Drums. What first stood out for me was even after playing at hundreds of venues and festivals and to crowds of thousands, they hold none of the egos you might expect a tribute to have when in ‘character’. Lead guitarist and (Hetfield) vocalist, Wayne Wilmut, explains: “When you see us after our show, we are us, we don’t stay in character, we are here to have a laugh… we are all fans of Metallica, we are just normal guys that love to play great music and at the end of the night you can have a beer with.”
This most definitely radiates when hanging out with the band and in the way they speak about their experience. Darren goes on to say: “We are grateful for the opportunities we are given, there are a lot of good musicians out there that don’t get a chance to do what we do, and we are very lucky. People think it’s selling out, but we are not saying that we are anything more than a tribute, we are saying ‘here we are’.”
The pressure is on…
If a tribute is performed to the highest of standard, then the band are not only having to inhibit the skills and creativity of world-class idols but also having to play a role (almost) in making your experience as an enthusiast satisfying and not disappointed. The pressure is on. The guys in Metallica Reloaded make no exception. When discussing the pressures that they are faced with, it seems they are no strangers to the judgments. But it is all taken in their stride, and they often joke about the feedback.
Wayne says: “When people complain that its not how it’s played on the album, it’s too fast/ different, it makes us laugh, we are musicians”.
Benefits to Tribute Bands.
The band displays that there are many benefits to playing in a tribute band; a prominent element is an unwritten gratitude the system creates. Playing songs made famous by a band such as Metallica has opened up a lot of doors for the band. Including the prospect of a European tour and a show pending in Dubai. It can also make the process to perfect due material accessible. Wayne explains, “Every time a new album is released, Metallic Reloaded seems to have a surge of bookings, when Metallica headlined Glastonbury, we were taking bookings a year in advance”.
The opportunities delivered to them have been plentiful, and they have played to some great crowds. In return, the band discuss times where fans have approached them and said, “I had never heard a Metallica song before seeing you, and now we are fans”. There seems to be a gratifying agreement in which both parties gain from. Also, a change in the market in the last 3- 5 years, where tributes have become high in demand and recognised.
‘The main goal is doing what you love’…
It’s not a case of presenting your own music and hoping someone may like it. It a measurable act of being as good as world-class celebrated legends of the music industry. Some of the greatest musicians in the world started off by playing covers, including The Rolling Stones, Haim and Panic At the Disco– to name just a few. “The main goal is doing what you love,” says Darren. “Some people do it for the money, but that’s not why we are here… We’ve had people come up to us after a gig and say they could spend £100 on a Metallica ticket, or £10 on you guys, and still have a great night, and for us, that’s ultimately it. If someone says you sounded just like them, that’s it for us”.
Bands Advice On the Secret To Succeeding:
John: “If you have a fave band do that. Do what you love. If you love music it’s a way in.”
Darren: “I couldn’t do anything other than my favourite band”
Wayne: “Take what you love and don’t try to imitate them too much. It’s tribute. But bring what you have to front”.
James: “I’ve played in originals; you get to a point where time is a problem… throw yourself into a project to see where you can push it. We are lucky to be where we are in music which we love”.
Wayne: “I tend to follow things on social media to see if we are in demand, its good to keep an eye on your market”
Review of Gig:
After meeting the band – I was excited to see what they had to offer. It is fair to say I was not disappointed. I took a quick look at the queue waiting to come inside the venue, which seemed to go on forever. There was a diverse range of people in the audience, from die-hard fans to newbies (like myself). The band managed to cater for everyone. Opening with Hardwired, the band had the crowd singing back at them by the second track, and relentless devil horns were in the air by the third. The band hardly stopped for breath, nor did the audience. It was a great night had by all, and much like the band had promised, I too am an avid Metallica fan now.