The world of sports suffers no shortage of committed metalheads. From football to Formula 1, headbangers pop up in virtually every professional sports league. But what about the reverse? Who are the metallers who love sports and more pointedly, which team do they hold most dear? Here are some of metal’s biggest sports fans and the clubs they love.
1. Kerry King (Slayer) — Las Vegas Raiders
It’s hardly a surprise that an NFL team famous for fielding some of the meanest and most savage players in league history would find a diehard fan in Kerry King. The Raiders have changed home cities several times over the years but they’ve never lost their reputation as the league’s resident bad boys.
King counts himself among the team’s most committed supporters, telling New York magazine in 2019, “My team is the Raiders. I’ve already got my tickets for when they move to Las Vegas (in 2020). Opening weekend this year, I’m going to fly into Oakland for that. I’ve got a handful of jerseys but generally my go-to is No. 25. I remember the year I got it — 1994, when the Raiders were still in L.A.”
Besides King, the Raiders count a rowdy pack of metallers among their most loyal, including Mike Inez (Alice in Chains), Phil Demmel (Vio-Lence) and Mick Thomson (Slipknot).
2. Steve Harris (Iron Maiden) -- West Ham United
Perhaps the most obvious member of this list, Iron Maiden’s visionary bassist has been a fervent West Ham supporter since 1965 and proudly sports a West Ham logo on his bass. The love affair goes both ways. Last year, West Ham partnered with Iron Maiden to release a special away shirt as well as a Maiden/West Ham training range.
His connection runs deep. In 1972, the club gave a 14 year-old Harris a trial that lasted eight months, with Harris ultimately deciding that downing beers and meeting girls sounded a lot more fun than gruelling training sessions and early bed checks. Honestly, we’re pretty happy with his choice.
3. Johan Hegg (Amon Amarth) -- Washington Capitals
Coming from Sweden, it’s no surprise that the Amon Amarth frontman is a massive hockey fan. He took up the sport himself at age 6 and played until he was nineteen. Though Hegg grew up supporting Stockholm’s Djurgårdens IF, he and his wife adopted the Washington Capitals as the Hegg family’s official NHL team, due in no small part to his wife’s appreciation of legendary Capitals winger, Alex Ovechkin.
She now teaches hockey-specific yoga classes, including specialised training for goalies . Follow Hegg on social media and you’ll find the odd video of the hulking frontman skating on ponds with graceful agility!
4. Dustie Waring (Between The Buried And Me) -- Atlanta Braves
One half of BTBAM’s ferocious shredding corps, Waring grew up in North Carolina — a state without its own baseball team. Consequently, he adopted the closest option, the Atlanta Braves, just as the club were entering a golden age. Starting from last place in 1990, the Braves went on to play in five World Series in the 90s, winning the title in 1995.
Waring tells Metal Hammer, “The Braves are the sports team that I’ve been a fan of the longest because we didn’t have a football team until ‘94. In the early-to-mid 90s, Braves baseball was some of the best baseball that I’ve ever experienced in my life. We had four of the best pitchers in history...we had fucking Deion Sanders, when he was playing for the (Atlanta) Falcons at the same time, playing two games in the same day! Just a very exciting era for baseball. I’ve loved the Braves my whole life and I’m still a huge fan.“
5. Corey Taylor (Slipknot) — Indianapolis Colts
The Slipknot frontman proudly embraces his status as a long-suffering Colts fan, even as the team continues their efforts to replicate their 2006 glory, when they last won the Super Bowl. Taylor has appeared on ESPN and other sports talk shows to discuss the Colts and the NFL in general, emerging as an insightful and analytical fan in his own right.
Growing up a Colts fan, he once met the team’s then-quarterback, Andrew Luck, backstage at a Slipknot show. Though once sceptical of Luck’s ability to lead his team to victory, Taylor later described Luck as, “one of the coolest people on the planet.”
6. Lars Ulrich (Metallica) — Chelsea FC
Growing up in the 70s, the young timekeeper, future art collector and erstwhile tennis prodigy developed a love of Chelsea football after watching them on television in his native Denmark.
His father Torben, a former tennis professional, occasionally played at Wimbledon and Lars would seize the opportunity to attend matches at Stamford Bridge to support his team. He’s also a supporter of the Danish national football team and he has been known to duck into local sports pubs to catch their matches from the road.
7. Geezer Butler (Black Sabbath) — Aston Villa
Black Sabbath’s groundbreaking bassist grew up in the shadow of Villa Park, the Villans’ home pitch, and it was true love from the get go. Geezer saw his first Villa home match when he was seven and has passionately supported the club throughout the ensuing years, emerging as one of their most beloved supporters.
When he received Birmingham’s Broad Street Walk of Stars award in 2018, he elected to receive it on Villa’s home pitch, and when Sabbath were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006, he raised his trophy and shouted “Up the Villa!” Legit fan cred.
8. Steve Francis (Bulletbelt) — All Blacks
Hailing from New Zealand, Bulletbelt’s powerhouse drummer was fully-immersed in rugby (the national religion) since birth. When he’s not composing whiplash-inducing bangers like the theme from Deathgasm, he’s keenly following his country’s legendary national rugby team, the All Blacks.
He tells us, “Rugby Union is our National sport and the All Blacks are statistically the most successful team in history. My Dad was an international referee and I’ve been a diehard supporter since I could walk and talk. I got fired from my first schoolboy job delivering milk, for refusing to work the day we won the first World Cup in 1987. Following a loss to the Springboks in 1998 I got into a fight with two Springbok fans who were giving my friend and I shit as we walked home from the stadium. I took a few good punches but would gladly do it again for my team. Slayer even wrote a song about them. All hail the All Blacks!”
9. Adam Dutkiewicz (Killswitch Engage) — New England Patriots
The guitarist for the Massachusetts-based metalcore giants is a fan of all of New England’s historic sports franchises, including the Boston Red Sox, Boston Bruins and Boston Celtics. He has been to nearly every MLB stadium in the US and his band’s music has appeared in the Madden NFL video game.
His support for the six-time Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots is next level. He tells Metal Hammer, “I cheer for all things New England, which includes (Patriots head coach) Bill Belichick, one of, if not, the best coach in the game. If I didn’t already have a dad, I would want him to be my dad.”
10. Robert Plant - Wolverhampton Wanderers
Whether one considers Sabbath, Led Zeppelin or Blue Cheer as the original architects of heavy metal, it’s inarguable that Robert Plant set the bar high for metal’s greatest vocalists. He has used that legendary voice to cheer on Wolverhampton for nearly seventy years.
Plant saw his first Wolverhampton match at age 5 and claims that on that day, the Wolves’ legendary captain Billy Wright picked him out of the crowd and waved to him, cementing Plant’s fierce, lifelong devotion to the club. In addition to a thriving solo career, Plant became a Vice President of the club in 2009 and is often seen at home matches.
A true fan through thick or thin, he once said, “I have followed Wolves for 65 years; it’s a place of solace, where you know it’s not always going to be plain sailing.”
"WOLVES RULE ….anywhere and everywhere" --RP #Glastonbury pic.twitter.com/5lMwV5ZjaeJune 30, 2014