Guns N’ Roses Pyro Tech Explains How James Hetfield Became Injured Onstage

Guns N’ Roses had a number of rough nights on tour, which were typically their fault. Anything was possible when it came to the Appetite for Destruction band, including riots and Axl Rose’s absence. No one was expecting James Hetfield to be struck by the band’s pyrotechnics while on tour with thrash innovators-turned-rock megastars Metallica. Metallica performed first on the 8th of August, 1992 at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal, followed by Guns N’ Roses. During Metallica’s performance, Hetfield stepped into the path of a projectile when a pyrotechnic device detonated, causing him to be struck and the band to end their set prematurely. Later, in typical GNR fashion, Axl abruptly ended Guns N’ Roses’ performance, upsetting everyone and making the evening a miserable one for all.

In a recent interview on the podcast Appetite for Distortion, pyrotechnician Pete Cappadocia, who was touring with Guns N’ Roses, described what transpired during Metallica’s performance (via Ultimate Guitar). “Metallica is currently performing, and I’m sitting on a road case because Guns N’ Roses are up next. Currently, I am using my GameBoy. Suddenly, while playing a game, I hear this horrifying guitar noise. And everyone’s like, ‘James is hurt!’ So everyone rushes to the stage. “When I arrived, the medical team was removing him from the stage. The guy who was shooting it, who was also their guy, used to shoot it for them in Europe… They had relocated the monitors and a piece of pyro. James then walked to his location.

“He is playing the guitar. So, his arm is in this position [standing up and playing]? So the pyro thing is right here [to James’s left]. Here is the pyrotechnics, and his arm was right here. As usual, he walked to his cue at the designated location. They fired the pyrotechnics, and then he took a half-step. “He actually passed his arm through the pyro, causing it to rise as he did so.” So it was a bizarre accident that occurred. James halted. So the pyrotechnician hit the cue, and then James took that extra half-step and placed his arm directly over it. Then the riot broke out.” Additionally, Cappadocia informs the interviewer that he has previously worked for both Metallica and Guns N’ Roses, but drummer Lars Ulrich demanded exclusivity on the joint tour. According to Cappadocia, Ulrich’s actions backfired.

“Therefore, I must contact Opie, the production manager at the time. And I respond, “Lars wants me to choose a band.” And he says, “Allow me to call Axl.” A short time later, he calls him and asks, “How much do you want?” And I responded, ‘Well, they’ll give me this.’ So he says, ‘All right, we’ll do that’ And I said, ‘Okay.’ “I must now call Lars and inform him that his plan has failed and that I will not be shooting him.” So, Lars had Tony De Chacho contact Opie to confirm my compensation. Then, Lars calls me back to curse me out, call me a traitor, and whatever else. And I don’t care.'” On occasion, it appears that everyone has a valid reason to dislike Lars. However, Nergal recently revealed his relationship with Metallica’s drummer.

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