SLAYER guitarist Kerry King says that he doesn’t think there will be more shows featuring the so-called “Big Four” of 1980s thrash metal — METALLICA, MEGADETH, SLAYER and ANTHRAX.
The four influential acts played together for the first time in history on June 16, 2010 in front of 81,000 fans at the Sonisphere festival at Bemowo Airport in Warsaw, Poland and shared a bill again for six more shows as part of the Sonisphere series that same year. They reunited again for several dates in 2011, including the last “Big Four” concert, which was held on September 14, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in New York City. Since then, METALLICA, SLAYER and ANTHRAX have played a number of shows together, including the 2013 Soundwave festival in Australia. They also performed at the 2014 Heavy MTL festival in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Asked by Chris Jericho of the “Talk Is Jericho” podcast if he believes a possibility exists that more “Big Four” shows will be staged in the future, Kerry said: “I don’t.” He added: “When we started doing those, I thought it was gonna really rad for the fans, and it wound up being really rad for me as well as the fans. I didn’t think it would be that big a deal, but I loved the hell out of ’em. ‘Cause us and METALLICA, we’ve never been at odds, but we just ran in different circles. And I hadn’t seen those guys in probably 20 years, and then to do a handful of shows with them, it was totally fun. I’d hang out with Lars [Ulrich, METALLICA drummer] on days off, ’cause he’s like the going-out guy, and I’m the going-out guy. So we did that. Kirk [Hammett, METALLICA guitarist] would be hanging out backstage. I’ve known [Robert] Trujillo [METALLICA bassist] forever. James [Hetfield, METALLICA frontman], I’ve known James since the ’80s.”
Hammett said earlier this year that he believes that the “Big Four” idea will be revisited again. He explained: “I see those shows as kind of like a celebration — a real celebration of each other, and a real celebration of the music that we all make, and a real celebration of the audience embracing [what] we’ve done. And why not have more of that?”
In a 2016 interview with TeamRock, MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine said he would be open to a repeat of the “Big Four” tour. He said: “We’ve got a lot of great stuff going on, but if ‘Big Four’ stuff presented itself, we’d probably yield to that, because it’s a lot more fun and it’s such an event that it takes precedence over just another tour, so to speak.”
He continued: “When fans get to have four of the greatest heavy metal bands of all time on the same stage, that’s something you can tell your grandkids about.”
Four years ago, SLAYER frontman Tom Araya said that the only thing that was standing in the way of further “Big Four” shows was “the politics of character in one particular band,” with some fans speculating that he was talking about Mustaine and MEGADETH.
In his autobiography, “Mustaine: A Heavy Metal Memoir”, Mustaine addressed the issue of where his band fit in the “Big Four” order. According to The New York Times, he assured the reader that he was not offended by being put behind SLAYER. But he added an interior monologue: “O.K., we’ll play ahead of you guys on this trip, and God willing we’ll do it again sometime in the near future and we can flip things around.”