Metallica will lay claim to another corner of the heavy metal universe on May 2nd, when the multi-platinum band closes this year's Revolver Golden Gods Awards ceremony with a live performance in Los Angeles. It will be Metallica's first appearance at the five-year-old metal and hard-rock show, where they are set to receive the Ronnie James Dio Lifetime Achievement Award.
"It would be very easy to think of a band like Metallica – being one of the biggest bands on the planet – to not really give a shit about this type of stuff," Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian told Rolling Stone following a Golden Gods press conference in Hollywood yesterday. "I've known those guys forever. This will show the world in a big way that these guys never forgot who they are. They're still the same dudes."
Sitting between metal guitar heroes Zakk Wylde and John 5, Ian was one of 16 headbanging players onstage at the Hard Rock Café in Hollywood as details on the show were announced. Other honorees set to appear on the program include Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi (being given the Riff Lord prize) and Rob Zombie (picking up the Golden God statue).
Besides Metallica, bands performing on the show at Club Nokia will be Anthrax, Stone Sour, Five Finger Death Punch, Dillinger Escape Plan and Halestorm.
"Fuck the Grammys. Our show is sexier, it's cooler," declared singer and WWF wrestler Chris Jericho, returning as this year's host, as he stood at the podium. He then performed a perfect Danish-accented impersonation of Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich as he read a statement from Metallica, which said of he honor, "We are beyond psyched to be at the receiving end of this shout-out and in the distinguished company of Rush, Lemmy, Ozzy and Mötley Crüe."
The ceremony will be broadcast on the AXS television network, Xbox LIVE and on the Facebook pages of Revolver magazine and Xbox. Awards categories include Album of the Year, Song of the Year and Comeback of the Year, along with statues for best guitarist, vocalist, bassist, drummer and more. Anthrax are nominated in the Best Live Band category.
"Zakk and I were joking onstage – every year, of course they say it's the biggest and best Golden Gods you ever had. This year they have Metallica, so in a sense they're telling the truth this year," Ian said of his "Big 4" thrash brethren. "Unless they get Zeppelin to reform and do it next year, maybe this is the last Golden Gods. How are they going to top Metallica?"
As Ian spoke backstage, a short live set by Halestorm roared from the main room. They were joined by Skid Row frontman Sebastian Bach as they did his band's 1991 anthem "Slave to the Grind," which appears on Halestorm's 2011 covers EP. "He's freakin' amazing," Halestorm singer Lzzy Hale told Rolling Stone of the strutting hair-metal veteran. "He walks the line between, OK, are you being cocky or sarcastic? It's probably a little of both."
Halestorm were among the youngest artists at the press conference. This year won't be their first time at the Golden Gods, but the Pennsylvanian hard rock act are still getting used to being around their musical heroes. "Today was a little nerve-wracking, because they are only some of the best vocalists, guitarists, bass-players, drummers ever," Hale said.
In a crowded season of awards programs, Halestorm is also up for a Grammy next week in the Best Hard Rock/Metal performance for their single "Metal Bites (So Do I)." Nominated in the same category is Anthrax for "I'm Alive," which means Ian will soon be walking the red carpet outside L.A.'s Staples Center. He hopes to meet some new people there.
"It would be cool to meet Bruno Mars and tell him I think he's cool," said Ian, his fuzzy Tutankhamun goatee long and graying, "and him probably look at me like, 'I don't have a fucking clue who or – what are you?'"
Wylde and his Black Label Society are nominated for Most Dedicated Fans, which didn't surprise the guitarist. "It's like the Deadheads – the Grateful Dead on steroids," he said of the intense following he called "the Black Label berserkers. It's bigger than the band. We're just the house band for the Black Label community."
Win or lose, Wylde already has a British version of the Golden God. "I remind the wife plenty of times and carry the trophy around," he said proudly, "and explain to her how lucky she is to sleep next to a Golden God."