“Just like the pied piperrrrr!” Watch Metallica’s James Hetfield sing Symphony Of Destruction by Megadeth (and no, it’s not A.I.)

James Hetfield onstage with Metallica in 2008
(Image credit: Gie Knaeps/Getty Images)

40 years in, the whole Metallica vs Megadeth feud is still one of the most controversial topics among metalheads. Ever since the Four Horsemen booted Dave Mustaine out of their band and sent him packing on a four-day bus journey back home, fans have been taking sides, with Dave remaining bitter against his ex-colleagues in many an interview. In the Metallica camp, however, the whole thing doesn’t seem to be taken aas seriously.

Proof of that came in October 2008. While Metallica were promoting their then-brand-new album Death Magnetic, they stopped by French TV show Taratata. The band played three songs while there, but that’s not the most talked-about part of the programme by a long shot. That honour instead goes to the segment where James Hetfield pokes some good-natured fun at MegaDave, his former lead guitarist, imitating his vocals on Megadeth’s 1992 hit Symphony Of Destruction.

During the interview portion of the broadcast (embedded below), the host plays the Megadeth track to the four members of Metallica. The audience is immediately tense, with an audible “Oooooo!” coming from them, but Papa Het dispels the tension with a massive grin and an arm in the air. “You’re going to have to explain that,” the host says, to which James responds by pinching his nose and singing part of the chorus (“Just like the pied piper…”), imitating Dave’s raspier vocal style.

Everyone laughs the joke off, from the band to the crowd, before Lars Ulrich just shakes his head. “You’re not in on the joke, Lars?” the host smiles, before the drummer replies, “I stay out of that one.”

Given the tensions between Metallica and Megadeth that have been well documented over the years, it was refreshing to see a wholesome joke about the entire thing. James has since been nothing but complimentary towards Dave, calling him an “old friend” in a 2016 interview.

“He’s an old friend of ours, for sure,” James told YouTube channel Bild in a since-deleted video, “and he has done very well for himself in Megadeth. And after him getting kicked out of Metallica he went on to have an amazing career.

“Dave is an amazing guitar player, great songwriter and he has done some amazing stuff in his band.”

Matt Mills
Contributing Editor, Metal Hammer

Louder’s resident Gojira obsessive was still at uni when he joined the team in 2017. Since then, Matt’s become a regular in Prog and Metal Hammer, at his happiest when interviewing the most forward-thinking artists heavy music can muster. He’s got bylines in The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Guitar and many others, too. When he’s not writing, you’ll probably find him skydiving, scuba diving or coasteering.