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Pit Stories: Meeting Heavy Metal Icons

Photo of Decatur

Band Photo: Decatur (?)

Extreme crowd surfing, moshing in totally unexpected places, throwdowns between beer throwers, shows in outhouses, goat's blood, terrible venue managers, awesome venue managers, and even naked fans trying to drunkenly "salute" their favorite bands... we've seen a whole lot over the years with our expanding collection of Pit Stories!

Today we've got Jay “Beard” Sarrazin from Toronto-based metal group Decatur sharing the latest Pit Story entry. For those wondering, Decatur has a new album titled "Badder Than Brooklyn" coming October 6th, so keep an eye out for it!

This week, Jay looks back at meeting some of his favorite musicians over the years, with some of those encounters more uncomfortable than others:

It’s hard to choose just one story of a backstage encounter for me. I have been so lucky when it comes to meeting some of the greatest musicians in my time in the music industry. I was fortunate enough to be a guitar tech/merch guy/stagehand for Anvil for a couple tours throughout the years. I got to meet Alice Cooper during one of his tours and he was so nice and humble that he even did a video promo shout out to my old band.

I have woken up on the floor of Silver Cord Studios while recording my band Decatur’s debut record to have Mario Duplantier of Gojira practicing drum licks as my alarm clock. I have partied into the night with Bullet For My Valentine while they were touring through Canada. I even got to meet Bill Killiher from Mastodon and deliver one of his personal guitars to a close friend of his and mine.

But one story that always stuck with me would have to be during the first tour that I was on while working for Anvil. We were touring through the U.S.A on a 4 week tour supporting Anvil’s "Juggernaut of Justice" album. As we were touring we got word that Jason Newstead wanted to open for Anvil when they were to go through San Francisco with his project called Papa Wheelie. As a huge Metallica fan throughout my life I got super excited about it. For days I thought about it and I got more nervous as the gig got closer.

When we finally arrived in San Francisco we got to meet him at the venue and he was such a nice dude. My first encounter with him was as I was setting up the merch table for Anvil’s show that night. One of his buddies was putting out a couple shirts for Jason as well and we got to talking about all things including my love for Metallica and Jason. I even showed him one of my two Metallica tattoos.

Once he found out how big of a Metallica fan I was he immediately called Jason over and made me show him my tattoo at which point Jason put his hand on my forehead to check my temperature and asked if I was alright. I kinda laughed it off because his split with Metallica and I guess I got nervous. I then told Jason that I loved his work in Metallica and he would always be my favorite bass player. Not because I didn’t love Cliff Burton, but because I grew up with Jason as the guy in that spot. He responded by telling me Cliff was his favorite. Again I got nervous.

I went back to working and he came back over to me and gave me some merch of his band Papa Wheelie and asked me to man his merch table for the night which I happily did. About an hour or so before the venue opened for the show all the work was done so everyone piled backstage. We sat and drank some beers together and smoked some joints and Jason sat with us telling us stories of the road while playing with Metallica. From the Justice days, all the way up until his departure. As a huge Metallica fan it was so amazing to sit there listening to these stories straight from the horse’s mouth so to speak. I felt so blessed to be there at that moment. It’s a memory I’ll always keep and love.

For those who have had the pleasure (or in some cases, terror) of meeting their favorite musicians -- be sure to let us know your story in the comments!

You can also check out "Into The Night" Decatur's "Badder Than Brooklyn" record produced by Joe Duplantier below. Pre-orders are online at Bandcamp here.

xFiruath's avatar

Ty Arthur splits his time between writing dark fiction, spreading the word about underground metal bands, and bringing you the latest gaming news. His sci-fi, grimdark fantasy, and horror novels can be found at Amazon.

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