Metallica’s Kirk Hammett “Pleaded” with Kurt Cobain for Nirvana to Be Their Opening Act

“He just wasn’t having it”

Metallica's Kirk Hammett 'Pleaded' with Kurt Cobain for Nirvana to Be Their Opening Act

Photo: Ralph Arvesen (right)

Published Jun 20, 2022

You know what they say about karma: after being shut down twice by Dinosaur Jr.’s J Mascis, Kurt Cobain got to go on with the version of Nirvana as we came to know it — and eventually turned the tables by turning down a spot opening for Metallica.

Life is full of crushing rejections; sometimes you’re on the rejecting end, sometimes you’re the rejectee. The overall consensus is that both sides of the equation aren’t fun, but one’s definitely more fun than the other.

A new interview with NME sees Metallica’s Kirk Hammett landing on the harsher side, recalling a devastating blow from none other than Cobain. Following the release of the metal institution’s seminal The Black Album in 1991, the band embarked on a co-headlining tour with Guns N’ Roses — to whom they were often compared at the time.

“I had to make the phone call to Kurt to talk to him about the possibility of joining our tour and he just went on and on about how he just didn’t like what Guns N’ Roses stood for,” Hammett told the publication. “I said to him: ‘Just go out there and represent Nirvana — just play the show and then that’s it.’ I pleaded with him, but he just wasn’t having it.”

The guitarist concluded: “So there you have it. It would have been great if Nirvana was part of that tour — but you know [the actual opening act] Faith No More were great as well.”

According to Rolling Stone‘s timeline of the beef between Nirvana and Guns N’ Roses, the bad blood between the two bands began in 1991. While promoting Nevermind, Cobain went to great lengths to draw a sharp line of separation between what the groups stood for. “We’re not your typical Guns N’ Roses type of band that has absolutely nothing to say,” he told Seconds, which frankly disregards the inspirational nature of a song like “Paradise City.” Cobain was later quoted as saying that “rebellion is standing up to people like Guns N’ Roses,” in another publication.

Prior to the late guitar great badmouthing GNR in the press, Axl Rose was actually a Nirvana fan. The bandleader even donned a hat with the grunge outfit’s logo in the music video for “Don’t Cry” from Use Your Illusion I.

Thankfully, the two bands eventually let bygones be bygones: when Rose broke his foot at the beginning of the 2016 Guns N’ Roses reunion tour, he borrowed Dave Grohl’s infamous throne — although he did return it in pieces, so who’s to say if those fences have truly been mended.

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