James Hetfield Wanted Cliff Burton Hologram for 'Through the Never' Movie

"I just kept hearing 'No, that can't be done,'" says Metallica frontman.

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While discussing epic Tesla coils featured during "Ride the Lightning" performance in "Through the Never" 3D film, Metallica frontman James Hetfield revealed having an idea that instantly captivated the fans - setting up a hologram of late bassist Cliff Burton to appear on stage.

"I had mentioned a lot of things that I wanted to do - Cliff Burton showing up in hologram or something like that," Hetfield said in the latest "Thorough the Never" making-of clip. "You know, let's take this to another level, and [I] just kept hearing 'No, that can't be done; no, that can't be done.' And Tesla coils were one of those things. Can't we have real electricity? And everyone just said 'No, it's f--king dangerous. It's deadly.'"

As the video shows, the Tesla coils idea was successfully carried through and involved a serious team effort.

"I said to [live equipment manager James Fairorth] Winky, 'We need Tesla coils, not the small ones you can buy in stores. I went to a science fair once and saw two gigantic Tesla coils - I know they're out there, we can get 'em, we can do it.'"

The Metallica team then tracked down a group of Nikola Tesla followers and eventually had the coils up and running. In order for them to work, the band was even forced to switch to analog equipment only during "Ride the Lightning," as the electricity started causing issues with digital gear.

After making its world premiere on this year's Toronto International Film Festival, "Through the Never" is set for an IMAX theaters debut on September 27.

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60 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I think the hologram idea would have worked.... if it were just cliff playing Anasthesia by himself.
    I like how when there was a 2Pac hologram everyone and their mother was excited as hell, but when someone mentions a Cliff Burton hologram it's apparently sacrilege.
    There was quite a debate in the hip hop community on whether the 2pac hologram was ok or not. Especially when snoop is on stage selling the show and they weren't exactly on the best terms at the time of his passing
    Tiago Sa
    UG successfully steals my click and time thanks to a deceitful title? It gets my comment and my approval due to the whole shit about telsa coils which is goddam cool!
    How was it deceitful? The article does talk about how James Hetfield wanted a Cliff Burton hologram for Through the Never
    The term "Tesla coil" is used five times throughout the article while "Cliff Burton" is only used twice. It's not exactly focused on Cliff.
    Yeah but the Cliff thing is the obvious attention grabber. Just check the video, top comment is about the hologram
    The word "no" is used at least 3 times in the article. Perhaps that should be in the title as well?
    Wasn't that second quote from Kirk? Also spell check, people. It's not that hard. EDIT: Yup, see 1:20 in the video.
    I'm amused, because when I read the article, I was honestly surprised to see James Hetfield talking about wanting Tesla Coils so badly. Makes more sense now.
    The idea sounds good. I have no clue why fans are strongly against hollograms. It is not disrespectful. It is quite cool to be honest.
    Eh... leave Cliff's legacy alone. I don't think I would have enjoyed a hologram version on stage... kinda weird.
    How about hologram of Lars from early 90's , who didn't sound that shitty back then?
    While I love Metallica and respect the legacy of Cliff Burton, you can't help but think that it would've been a great idea to celebrate his memory and what he brought to Metallica.
    No UG, he suggested it, there is a difference. If they'd really wanted it they'd have gotten it.
    It's like you didn't read the article at all, James suggested things he wanted and he was told it couldn't be done. _
    One of the things which couldn't be done was use of the Tesla coils on account of it being deadly. Kirk really wanted it, so they found a way to do it. Which brings me back to my original point of if they REALLY wanted it, it'd have happened.
    link no1
    Maybe James really did want it but also has past experience when dealing with the elements.
    that's a very delicate argument. I wish you two can come up with an agreement.
    it would be pretty awesome if they were playing Orion, Newsted joins them. James, Kirk, Jason and Rob clear the center of the stage and play the Bass solo with Cliff's hologram.
    It's good they didn't see the hologram idea through, but the coils are just so damn epic
    Hey, that's not the DB head-shrink from SKOM at 2:47, is it? Kind of looks like him.
    He sounds like kind of a diva. "I want tesla coils, I want over-the-top, I want a hologram of my dead bassist!"
    link no1
    I don't think it sounds like a diva, he just want's an awesome looking show and has the money to do so. It's not like he threw a tantrum, went on a bender, shaved his head and started twerking on stage. The hologram thing, eh, I'm not really into holograms but if it was for the film it would kind of be nice to have a proper, well funded film of a performance including Cliff Burton for one last time. It's not like they're taking it on tour with them...I hope...
    I dont know about this hologram stuff but i imagine you would need digital footage of the subject to create a hologram. Any tech savvy people here know? But damn, cliff on stage for orion, I wish i was of age back then to see it. Then they should bring Newsted out for my friend of misery
    Any kind of footage should be able to be digitised. Some kind of conversion would be necessary
    Cheers howyjr, they totally should have spent the time to do it then, would have been epic
    Wow, I want this now, and want to see it in theatres as well. I hope the bluray has the option to just watch the concert, without the "Hard Days Night" wraparound.
    Leave it to Metallica to summon real ass lightning into a live show. So metal it's no joke.
    AWESOME! I wasn't aware that Nikola Tesla had developed a cult following lol
    See the band Tesla's album The Great Radio Controversy and its liner notes . That's probably the first time many people heard the guy's name, and then went researching from there. Sometimes it's not about how you get interested in something, but just that you do.
    :/ I really hope that's just a personal theory. I'd be more likely to believe that this "following" started with a bunch of physics undergrads who reeeaaally liked ecstacy. But yeah, I agree with your point on the thirst for knowledge
    I think the hologram idea is great. If they can do that with Tupac, they can do it with Burton. I'm guessing the Tesla coils are used to power the hologram?