Venom‘s Cronos recalls backstage bust-up which stopped an out-of-control Metallica sabotaging their career before it started

(Image credit: Ross Marino/Getty Images)

Venom frontman Cronos has very clear memories of his first impressions of Metallica.

“They looked like Status Quo, but they sounded just like us,” he recalls in the new issue of Metal Hammer, remembering viewing a 1983 bootleg of the Bay Area ’Bangers playing a gig in San Francisco. “I heard Whiplash and thought, That’s fucking [Venom classic] Witching Hour!

Brought together by a mutual friend, promoter/Megaforce Records boss Jonny Z, the two bands first played together at the Paramount Theater on Staten Island in April 1983. Such was the impression that Metallica made upon the English band that Venom agreed to Lars Ulrich’s plea to take them out as the support act on their Seven Dates Of Hell tour in Europe in February 1984. When the young Americans opened the tour in Zurich on February 3, however, Cronos could scarcely believe he was seeing the same band: “They were pretty lame onstage,” he recalls: “We thought, What the fuck happened to this band?

Backstage at the Volkshaus venue, Metallica took out their frustration on the furniture and fittings in their dressing room, and “smashed the shit” out of the room as Cronos recalls. At which point, the older musician decided that metal’s latest angry young men needed a swift attitude adjustment

“We had to kind of rein them in a bit,” he tells Metal Hammer’s Dave Everley. “[I said] ‘If you’ve got the energy to smash your dressing room up, you didn’t put enough into the show. You need to come offstage so tired that the last thing you want to do is this - you need to have a drink, get stoned, get some girls in.’”

The Californian band would give their Geordie elders no more trouble.

For more insider anecdotes from Metallica’s storied 40 year career, pick up the new special issue of Metal Hammer. The magazine not only includes previously unpublished material with Lars Ulrich and Kirk Hammett, but brand new interviews about Metallica's amazing history with the likes of Jason Newsted, Ozzy Osbourne, Rob Halford, Kerry King, Geezer Butler, Bob Rock, Joe Satriani, Scott Reeder, Gary Holt, Scott Ian, Pepper Keenan, Flemming Rasmussen, Emily Eavis, Doyle, Matt Heafy, Adam 'Edge' Copeland and many, many more. 

Order your copy now.

Metal Hammer 355

(Image credit: Future)
Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.