AUSTIN, Texas (Billboard) - Metallica is using its upcoming Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction to stage what drummer Lars Ulrich calls "a sort of family reunion."
"I don't think there's a better time to come together than when it's about celebration," Ulrich told Billboard.com. "I think everybody is proud of their association (with Metallica), so we're reaching out to everybody who's been a part of this, both inside the band on and on the periphery of the band over the years. And there's a big group of people coming to Cleveland for the weekend, so I look forward to seeing a lot of people I haven't seen for a long time."
The Metallica guest list for the April 4 induction includes staffers from the band's previous labels, Megaforce and Elektra, journalists and photographers who have been supportive over the group's career, producers and musician friends. Metallica also invited founding guitarist Dave Mustaine, who is unable to attend, and former bassists Ron McGovney and Jason Newsted, who will. Newsted also plans to perform with Metallica during the ceremony. Ray Burton, father of Cliff Burton, who was Metallica's bassist from 1982 until his death in 1986, will accept on behalf of his son.
Guitarist Kirk Hammett said Metallica was inspired to be all-inclusive after it witnessed Blondie's acrimonious induction during the 2006 Rock Hall ceremony. "There was so much politics and so much drama," Hammett recalled, "that we collectively said to each other that if that ever happens and we get inducted ... we don't want any of that, because it kind of really puts a whole bad, sour note on the celebration itself. We said to each other, 'Let's celebrate the fact and let's not turn it into something negative.'"
Hammett called Metallica's induction "pretty huge," and both he and Ulrich are pleased the group is being honored while it's "still a vital band, still somewhat relevant and somewhat active in making records and touring," according to Hammett. "To be in a position where we are simultaneously being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and putting out a video game ("Guitar Hero: Metallica," coming out Tuesday (March 31)), it's a very, very cool thing."
"Sometimes," Ulrich added, "especially with younger people, one has a tendency to quickly, when accolades come your way, kinda go the cool way and say it doesn't mean that much, 'Try me again in 10 years, dahling' ... I'd much rather be inducted into the Hall of Fame while I'm still conscious enough to experience and enjoy it and certainly more interested than it being 65 years from now or whenever."
Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea will induct Metallica into the Hall of Fame. Metallica is taking a break from the European leg of its Death Magnetic tour to attend the ceremony, which will be broadcast live by Fuse TV. The band recently announced a new set of North American dates, starting September 14 in Nashville.
(Editing by Sheri Linden at Reuters)