Lars Ulrich Reveals How Metallica + ‘Stranger Things’ Collab Happened
It was all part of the band's renewed mission to "share our music with the world," the musician said. Especially after Metallica spent years turning down music placements in TV and film.
Watch the video down toward the bottom of this post.
"That was such a mindfuck of an experience this summer," Ulrich tells host Howard Stern. "It used to be, with Metallica, we were always the 'no' guys. Hey, can we have this song for this? Can we have that song for that? … And it was just — no, no, no, no, no. And a few years ago, we reversed it; we did a one-eighty. We just said, 'You know what, this is stupid. Why are we hanging on to these songs like they're so important?'"
He continues, "A couple of years ago, we started saying 'yes' to everything. Obviously, we're all somewhat familiar with the Stranger Things phenomenon. But we got that in six, nine months ago, and said yes. They wanted to build this whole scene about 'Master of Puppets.' And we said of course. Then it came out over the summer. And it was just such a mindfuck to see how that became a phenomenon. We were so proud."
Ulrich adds, "Who would've thought, 40 years later, that these songs could still have that impact?"
No One But Metallica for the Duffer Bros.
In fact, there was no band but Metallica in mind for the pivotal Stranger Things 4 scene. From first drafting the season's screenplay, series creators the Duffer Brothers had already envisioned "Master of Puppets" in the now-iconic scene led by the show's metalhead character, Eddie Munson.
That's what Hannah Davis, the director of creative sync licensing for Metallica‘s management company Q Prime, explained in a column on Metallica's "So What!" blog.
"The song was scripted in by the Duffer Brothers," Davis said. "It was in their mind from the very beginning. Nora [Felder, Stranger Things music supervisor] reached out to me in November 2020. … Nora ran me through the scene and explained the character of Eddie Munson to me."
She recalled, "Because he was a new character, there wasn't a real reference for how much of a 'fan' he was, so Nora explained he was a metalhead and that the fans would love him. She detailed how it started with him playing the riff on guitar, a visual instrumental, and then Metallica's recording would come in."
Metallica Continue Their Cultural Ascent
Metallica, well embedded in pop culture already, have seen their songs reach new listeners thanks to music placements such as Stranger Things. Over the summer, Metallica even duetted the scene on TikTok, showing their willingness to engage in the latest social media trends. And due to the influx of fresh fans, Metallica subsequently welcomed the newcomers before some of them seemingly attempted to "cancel" the band.
Tye Trujillo, the 17-year-old son of Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo, contributed the guitar solo used on the recording for Stranger Things. It's also part of the Stranger Things 4 soundtrack, which also features songs by KISS, Journey and Talking Heads.
On Monday, Metallica released "Lux Æterna," the first single from their newly announced album — and their first since Stranger Things — 72 Seasons. It arrives on April 14, 2023. The band will tour the world again starting next year. Get Metallica concert tickets here.