James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett perform The Star-Spangled Banner virtually before San Francisco Giants home game

It’s become something of a tradition for James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett to perform an electric guitar version of The Star-Spangled Banner before a San Francisco Giants game each year, as part of the annual Metallica Night celebration of the Bay Area band by the Major League Baseball team.

Hetfield and Hammett did it again this year, although given the fact that COVID-19 has prevented fans from attending games, they played the anthem virtually from the confines of Metallica HQ rather than on the field at Oracle Park.

In a pre-game interview, Hammett said of The Star-Spangled Banner, “The thing about the anthem is that musically, it’s not difficult to play, but when you execute it, you have to execute it perfectly, you can’t mess up any notes, because everyone knows that tune.”

Additionally, bassist Robert Trujillo threw out the ceremonial first pitch – in an alley, rather than from the mound.

Back in 2015 Hetfield talked to Bay Area station Live 105 about the Metallica Night tradition, saying, "We are fortunate enough to live in the Bay Area and hook up with the Giants. They are a bunch of local boys doing good and we are hopefully in the same department as that. It's basically a fun night. Local people. Local music."

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month**

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.