As every rat on couch tour has tweeted about for the last week, it is kangfirmed that Phish is going to play an album from 1983 this Thursday night in Atlantic City. While you can find cases for Chocolate & Cheese, Thriller, and even Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots out there on the world wide web, there is one album that screams for Phish to cover it on Halloween night. That album is Kill ‘Em All by Metallica.
When it comes down to it, both Phish and Metallica have followed similar career paths. In the early days, both bands avoided MTV while focusing their attention to the road and creating a killer live show. By the time the 1990’s came around, both bands took unique paths of trajectory in bringing the underground to the main stream. While Metallica clearly enjoyed more commercial success than Phish as Enter Sandman got far more plays than Down With Disease, both bands suffered from unfortunate haircuts during the mid 1990’s. We should also point out here that both bands have four members, because as many respectable fan publications will tell you, Phish would never tackle and album from a band with numerous members. Sorry Slipknot and Arcade Fire.
The biggest hint comes not from the fact that both front men have had long stints in rehab, but a stage shared in Atlantic City back in 2012. As Phish.net is kind enough to point out, Trey Anastasio of Phish requested that fans write Metallica and if they could reach 20,000 individual letters, perhaps Metallica would change up Master of Puppets. Rumor has it that only 17 letters made it to Metallica before Lars Ulrich put a cease and desist on the operation. Thankfully, one of those letters from a fan named Meearf made it into the hands of Kirk Hammett. While Hammett was unable to convince Lars and James to change the ending of Master of Puppets, he did reach out to Phish management and informed them that if Trey really wanted Metallica to change up Master of Puppets, he needed to line the pockets of Lars and James. What better way than to cover an entire Metallica album? Thus the legend of a Kill ‘Em All Halloween was born.
Why They Might Do It: Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio has already gone on record sharing that he wants to cover Master of Puppets, so why not cover Kill ‘Em All? Need another hint? Look no further to the explorations in distortion that Mike Gordon has experienced over the past year. Clear as day that he is aiming up for massive bass bombs during “(Anesthesia) Pulling Teeth.” For those obsessed with cloud images in fall tour artwork, know that is simply an ode to late bassist Cliff Burton, who will look down upon Atlantic City from heaven as Phish tears up Metallica’s debut album. Another positive sign is how rough the vocals of Mike and Trey have been this tour (especially in Hampton). Clearly they had been doing more screaming than singing in practice leading up to this tour.
Why They Probably Won’t Do It: Phish are simply too old to play 45 minutes of pure unadulterated thrash metal. While Lars Ulrich isn’t the world’s best drummer, chances are Fish would need an entire banana tree to make it through songs like “Hit The Lights”, “Whiplash”, and “Seek and Destroy”. Likewise, Page McConnell would look really silly recreating the monstrous riffs of Hammett and Hetfield. Sadly the biggest reason Phish won’t cover Metallica’s Kill ‘Em All is the fact they don’t want to deal with Dave Mustaine crying to Fox News about it for the next 18 months that he didn’t get royalites for all the songs he wrote for the album.