"How 'boss' is your website?" Revisiting the bizarre 90s commercial starring Metallica and, erm, John Cleese

John Cleese and Krk Hammett
(Image credit: Youtube)

Let's be frank for a second: a lot of weird stuff happened in the 90s. From Kid Rock sharing red carpets with Christina Aguilera at MTV awards to Slayer teaming up with Ice T for the Judgement Night soundtrack, it was a decade filled with interesting experiments and unlikely pairings. Few, however, would have raised eyebrows as much as the time Metallica were given airtime for an advert where they came face to face with Monty Python and Fawlty Towers legend and British comedy royalty, John Cleese.

The bizarre team-up was courtesy of music media website ArtistDirect, who evidently wanted to flag the exclusive Metallica content they had available. In the hugely entertaining 30 second commercial, released in 1999, Cleese can be seen lurking outside Metallica's recording studio, vowing to "find out more about their official website". "Don't worry, they're expecting me!" he adds, a delightfully manic look in his eyes.

Upon entering the studio with Cleese, we're treated to the sight of Metallica - James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett, Lars Ulrich and then-bassist Jason Newsted - busily jamming away, overseen by the quartet's producer at the time, Bob Rock. "Hi, dudes!" beams Cleese, before hassling the band for information about whatever the hell is is that ArtistDirect have paid them for. "Not now, man!" shouts an unimpressed Bob Rock from behind the studio's mixing desk.

"It's me!" Cleese shoots back merrily, turning to Hetfield and asking him how, er, "boss" Metallica's website is. "Show him!" Hetfield says to his bandmates, resulting in a quick blast of heavy metal that sends Cleese, quite literally, flying.

Did all this actually result in more traffic for ArtistDirect? We have no idea. But at least we still have the memory of this strange and surreal moment in Metallica's whirlwind career to look back on.

Watch the advert below.

Merlin Alderslade
Executive Editor, Louder

Merlin moved into his role as Executive Editor of Louder in early 2022, following over ten years working at Metal Hammer. While there, he served as Online Editor and Deputy Editor, before being promoted to Editor in 2016. Before joining Metal Hammer, Merlin worked as Associate Editor at Terrorizer Magazine and has previously written for the likes of Classic Rock, Rock Sound, eFestivals and others. Across his career he has interviewed legends including Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy, Metallica, Iron Maiden (including getting a trip on Ed Force One courtesy of Bruce Dickinson), Guns N' Roses, KISS, Slipknot, System Of A Down and Meat Loaf. He is also probably responsible for 90% of all nu metal-related content making it onto the site.