This Week In Metal (4/12/15 - 10/1/16)

The Canadian Metallica tribute band Sandman received a lot of priceless publicity this week thanks to the “overzealous attorney” who sent a 41-page cease and desist letter to a venue they were playing in Ontario, announcing: “We are kindly writing to request that Sandman stop using the name Metallica, the phonetic equivalent of Metallica or any of Metallica’s logos on or to identify or promote live musical performances.”

Frontman Joe Di Taranto posted a photo of the letter on Facebook, remarking only that the incident was “Quite funny.” But the days when Metallica were seen as ‘bad guys’ for trying to bring legal action against fans who illegally fire-shared their music is long gone, and the Four Horsemen released a light-hearted statement via Rolling Stone, pledging their support for the musicians: “Sandman should file the letter in the trash,” Metallica advised. “Keep doing what you’re doing. We totally support you. And in the meantime, our attorney can be found at San Francisco International Airport catching a flight to go permanently ice fishing in Alaska.”

The statement adds that neither the band nor their management were aware of the matter until Di Taranto posted the news online. “We have a long history of not only enjoying tribute bands, but we started as one,” the statement continues. “Heck, we even recorded a two-disc album of covers. We will always remember those days and continue to enjoy tribute bands, even inviting them to support us on various tours over the years.”

Lars Ulrich even called Di Taranto personally to apologise for the incident, and gave Sandman the licence to use the name and logos for $1 – “which they said we don’t even need to pay,” Di Taranto told Mitch Lafon. “So all in all they were really cool and wanted to make sure we know that they fully support us. Pretty crazy. All good though.”

Another sort of tribute band is currently being planned for the ‘Ride For Dime’ Dimebash, a benefit show due to take place in Hollywood on January 22 in honour of the late Dimebag Darrell Abbott, who was killed onstage in 2004. Members of Pantera, Slayer, Alice In Chains, Machine Head, Stone Sour, Black Label Society, Type O Negative, Danzig and more are set to perform as an all-star collaboration, with proceeds going to the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up And Shout Cancer Fund, founded in honour of the legendary singer who died in 2010. Dime’s long-term girlfriend, Rita Haney, says: “I think the thing that embodies this event and entity is unity – bringing everyone together to celebrate the music played and loved by Darrell and to benefit the foundation of a very beloved man, Mr Ronnie James Dio. …With all of this amazing talent in one place it makes for a damn good celebration, so come on out.”

In a surprise move, Dave Lombardo announced this week that he’s dissolved Philm, the band he formed in 2012 with frontman Gerry Paul Nestler and guitarist/bassist Pancho Tomaselli. Two Philm concerts in California were pulled last month, replaced by Lombardo’s new punk band Dead Cross. Lombardo told Let There Be Talk: “I’m not with that band anymore. They didn’t want me to promote the band while I was with them, and I’m certainly not going to do it when I’m without them.” The drummer claims the breaking point came when the rest of the band asked him to play ‘soft’: “‘Don’t play hard. We want you to play a little softer.’ I said, ‘Nope,’” he declared simply. He later took to social media to confirm Philm was over: “To be clear, I did not ‘exit’ Philm – I ended Philm. Thank you to all who supported that band. Now, I’m off to the studio to do what I love – play the fuckin’ drums.”

Talking of playing the fucking drums, The Ghost Inside drummer Andrew Tkaczyk has confirmed that he lost a leg as a result of the band’s bus crash in Texas last November that cost two lives. “So the rumours are true everyone. Unfortunately I did lose my leg in this accident,” he announced this week, adding: “Not going to let it stop me. I don’t care what anyone says. It’s a long road ahead, but I will play drums again. Can’t wait to get back on the kit. Couldn’t have dealt with this without the love and support from my brothers in TGI and crew, friends, fans and family. Thank you all.”

Chris Chantler

Chris has been writing about heavy metal since 2000, specialising in true/cult/epic/power/trad/NWOBHM and doom metal at now-defunct extreme music magazine Terrorizer. Since joining the Metal Hammer famileh in 2010 he developed a parallel career in kids' TV, winning a Writer's Guild of Great Britain Award for BBC1 series Little Howard's Big Question as well as writing episodes of Danger Mouse, Horrible Histories, Dennis & Gnasher Unleashed and The Furchester Hotel. His hobbies include drumming (slowly), exploring ancient woodland and watching ancient sitcoms.