When Metallica revealed the lineup for Orion Music and More, the two-day festival curated by the band members themselves, plenty of folks were surprised by the non-heavy acts included, like breezy pop-rockers Best Coast and country-soul boys Lucero.
Phoenix's Landmine Marathon doesn't come as much of a left-field choice -- along with the other acts on the Damage Inc. stage, Suicidal Tendencies, Sepultura,Torche, Red Fang Kyng Black Tusk, and Thy Will Be Done -- the band illustrates that Metallica is still in touch with its heavy roots.
"My right hand does this [mimic's palm muting technique] because of 'Kill Em All, Ride the Lightning, Master of Puppets, and ...And Justice For All," guitarist Ryan Butler says. "People would not down-pick like they do if it weren't for those records. They're masterpieces."
Vocalist Grace Perry says the band didn't even waste time considering the offer. "We said yes before discussing it."
"Once everything was negotiated and made official, they said that James Hetfield had handpicked us," bassist Matt Martinez says. "That was just . . . amazing."
The band quickly scrambled to organize a tour around the date.
"We felt overdue for a tour anyway, so it worked out," guitarist Dylan Thomas says.
The band hardly has been taking it easy since they got off the road promoting their latest, 2011's Gallows, which came out on Prosthetic Records. The band has been working with new drummer, Raul Varela, and prepping the release of a new EP on Deep Six Records.
Varela also directed the band's new video, "Beaten and Left Behind," which debuted in early February.
The band is eager to get out on the road, and eager to catch some of their favorites at Orion, like Hot Snakes, Black Angels, and Fucked Up.
"Those guys are legends, a lot of people think of them as more 'human than human,'" Butler says. "I obviously put them on a pedestal . . . I think it's awesome for them [to book such a diverse show]."
"If you look a lot of the European festivals, the lineups are so diverse. Even the ones Metallica was playing in the late '80s," Martinez says. "You have Phil Collins on some, and Ozzy Osbourne on others."
"Iron Maiden's first US concert was with Loverboy," Butler laughs.
"I don't think the lineup is weird at all," Perry says. "I think it's awesome."