James Hetfield talks pyro safety at Metallica shows: “No more barbecues onstage”

ABC/Randy Holmes

Even more than fuel and fire, safety is that which James Hetfield desires.

The Metallica frontman is well aware of the thrill and danger of onstage pyrotechnic productions — he was infamously burned in a pyro accident during a 1992 concert. Thirty years later, Hetfield explains how much safer the pyro is now at Metallica shows.

“We’ve learned a lot over all the years on what to do, what not to do,” Hetfield says on the latest episode of The Metallica Report podcast. He emphasizes the importance of “spotters” — people dedicated to monitoring the onstage movements of the band members to make sure that nothing’s going off that would put them in danger.

“We’re on the stage and we’re concentrated on the riffs, we’re playing music,” Hetfield shares. “But these guys gotta know that the band is kind of important, so don’t blow ’em up, please. No more barbecues onstage.”

Hetfield adds that Metallica’s pyro team has “got a love for it like we have a love for music.”

“They want to make it cool,” Hetfield says. “They will push the limits to, ‘Here’s what we can do here, here’s what we can’t.’ They’ll find that middle ground, where it’s pushing the limit a little bit but not too much.”

“We love the fact that we have some safe guys that are still slightly insane,” he adds.

Metallica and their pyro will return to the stage when their M72 world tour resumes in May.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.