Metallica and Toronto tribute band Sandman hug and make up

January 18, 2016

It’s hard enough being in a tribute band. While (often times) the band you’re honouring is flown around the world to sold-out arenas, making millions of dollars in what might even be a tribute to their own damn selves (lookin’ at you, full classic album set cash-in tours), you’re stuck playing little clubs in places like, say, London, ON. And even though it’s probably tons of fun and you’ve resigned yourself (happily) to the fact that being a famous musician just wasn’t in the cards, sometimes little things come up that can get you pretty down.

Now, I’m no expert, but a cease-and-desist letter from the very band you love so deeply is probably one of those things. Toronto’s Sandman was recently sent one such (41-page!) letter from an “overzealous attorney” on behalf of Metallica. Sandman has been a Metallica tribute act since 1994 and have used a logo inspired by the band’s St. Anger-era logo for just over a decade. They’d never heard from or spoken to Metallica. And they were understandably upset.

But once the situation was brought to the actual band’s attention, an apology was very swift, with Metallica pointing out that they’ve always taken a pro-cover/tribute band stance. And on top of that, guitarist Joe Di Taranto got a phone call from Lars Ulrich, who told him everything was cool and to keep on rockin’. As reported by Rolling Stone, Metallica told Sandman to trash the letter, “and in the meantime, our attorney can be found at SFO catching a flight to go permanently ice fishing in Alaska.”

Of course, this isn’t the first time Metallica has been a spotlight in issues of litigation. At least, for Sandman’s sake, this one had a bit of a cleaner ending.


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About the Author

Matt Williams

Matt Williams is a writer and photographer. Born and raised on the Prairies in Winnipeg, he’s slowly made his way farther and farther east, spending a few years covering music in Toronto before running clear out of country and ending up on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. In between, he’s made numerous detours, interviewing and photographing countless artists across North America and beyond. He heads up Amplify’s Instrumental series, where he talks with musicians about the relationships they’ve formed with their most important tools.

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