Metallica Was Asked To Leave The Penguins Alone While In Antarctica

Magellanic penguin at SF Zoo: Sanjay Acharya, CC BY-SA 4.0,, Wikimedia Commons / Lars Ulrich: Kreepin Deth, CC BY 3.0,, Wikimedia Commons
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Back in 2013, the Los Angeles band Metallica headed down south to bring thrash metal to Antarctica. Not only was it super cool that the band got to do this, but in doing so, they also made history – for Metallica is the first band EVER to play on all seven continents.

While recently chatting with Conan O’Brien on an episode of Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend, Lars Ulrich reflected on this remarkable historic moment. But while talking about the band’s experience in Antarctica, he reveals that there was a very important factor that Metallica had to be mindful of: Don’t mess with the penguins.

Reflecting on this historic moment, Ulrich shares (as transcribed by Metal Injection):

“It was a great experience. The band members and all our wonderful crew and all the contest winners were staying on that icebreaker together. So it was a real communal experience and we all had our meals together and if anybody wanted a beverage post show, we’d go down the bar. It was one of the best trips we’ve ever had.

“Talk about bringing different nationalities together, we were on a Russian icebreaker, anchored off a Chilean research base playing to Argentinian, Chilean and Brazilian Coca Cola contest winners in a space that was maybe twice of the room we’re in right now [a small space].”

Elsewhere in the conversation, Ulrich talks about how careful the band had to be to not “disturb” the environment; part of being careful meant not causing any kind of ruckus that might upset the penguins around them. Speaking about how they were told to be careful with the environment, Ulrich says:

“Part of the deal was we couldn’t disturb the environment; the penguins and all the incredible wildlife down there. So the only thing you could hear in that tent were acoustic drums and James‘s vocals.”

We bet everyone involved, and perhaps some penguins, had one hell of a time hearing Metallica rock out in Antarctica. If you have never seen this amazing performance, you can check out a full stream of the event below.



“Freeze ‘Em All: Live in Antarctica”