From across the entertainment industry, Metallica became infamously protective of its music until recently. The band made a few exceptions here and there, from sports arenas to the deal they signed with Neversoft and Activision for their themed Guitar Hero video game in 2009. In the last few years, the band has softened its stance on licensing their music, with the most famous recent example being the Netflix series Stranger Things using “Master of Puppets” as Eddie Munson’s final stand in the Upside-Down in season four. Actor Joseph Quinn learned to shred its opening on top of his character’s trailer. Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich explained the band’s change of heart.
Stranger Things Helped Kate Bush & Metallica on the Billboard Charts
“It used to be, with Metallica, we were always the ‘no’ guys,” Ulrich explained to Howard Stern on his SiriusXM show. “We did a 180. We just said, ‘You know what? This is stupid. Why are we hanging onto these [songs] like they’re so important, like they’re the crown jewels?’ We started saying yes to everything. Let’s share our music with the world.” Stranger Things season four part one saw Kate Bush’s 1985 hit “Running Up the Hill (A Deal with God)” surge up the Billboard charts as an anthem of sorts for Max Mayfield (Sadie Sink).
“Master of Puppets” never stopped remaining relevant across the rock scene with its continued presence on radio and music streaming services since its release in 1986 as one of the most influential metal songs of the era. With Stranger Things season four part two’s release on July 1st, the song peaked at No. 35 on the Billboard Hot 100. “It was such a mindfuck to see how that became a phenomenon,” Ulrich continued. “It was totally unexpected. Who would’ve thought 40 years later that these songs could still have that impact? We were psyched to be part of it.”
Given the fanfare, Metallica and the Netflix series gave mutual love culminating with Quinn visiting the band at Lollapalooza, allowing the actor to jam “Master of Puppets” together with frontman and Stranger Things fan James Hetfield, Ulrich, and lead guitarist Kirk Hammett. Bassist Robert Trujillo presented the actor with an autographed guitar of the model he used on the show, while Quinn presented them with Hellfire Club shirts.