Metallica Banned from Playing 'Master of Puppets' in China

But Kirk Hammett still found a way to play classic riffs from their banned songs. So how did he do it?

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Metallica have told of the time they were banned from playing "Master of Puppets" and other popular songs because of one line of lyrics in the song.

In an interview on the Howard Stern show this week, Kirk Hammett described how the government screened their material ahead of a show there.

"We had to give them a whole set of songs and they went through all the lyrics and okayed which ones we could play, which ones we couldn't play," he said (via Blabbermouth). "They see a lyric like 'Master Of Puppets' being so subversive that they're not allowing us to play it. It's kind of scary."

But the band say it was worth it when they finally arrived and saw a stunning reaction from 40,000 local fans enjoying their show.

Hammett adds that he still managed to sneak in classic riffs from their banned songs.

"What I did is, I had an open guitar solo thing where I just sit there and riff," said Hammett. "I played the riff for 'Master Of Puppets' and a couple of other songs that weren't allowed to be played. I played just the music, so I kind of snuck it in there."

52 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Good ol' Kirk!
    They should have just played it anyway. What are they going to charge them with, singing a song at a concert and free speech?
    Doesn't matter what they charge them with. They will simply ban them from playing or entering their Country. Simple as that.
    "Chop your breakfast on a mirror" WHOA!! That's rude, it brings bad luck!
    I can't imagine how they'd react to Cannibal Corpse or Cattle Decapitation's lyrics lol.
    this next song were gonna get crucified for playing but who cares. this song is called I CUM BLOOD!!!!
    "Hammett adds that he still managed to sneak in classic riffs from their banned songs." Whooa. We have a badass over here.
    When you're defying a communist country that strictly told you not to do something, I would say, "Yeah, he's a ****ing badass!"
    But the problem was the lyrics, not the actual music, so... yeah. Not that big of a deal. It was more fan service than anything else.
    In other news, Guns N Roses banned from playing 'Chinese Democracy' in China.
    Its great to see after all these years, thousands of gigs and millions of album sales they still just want to please the fans and are more than happy to go out of their way to do it.
    They aren't problems, just opportunities. Great solution! I always said the music carries the lyrics anyway.
    It's surprising that the government put effort into censoring Metallica live given the fact that all the fans in China more than likely have heard all of the banned songs and can continue to listen to them. Though I'd be really interested in hearing what Rage Against the Machine would do in this situation if they got into it.
    Von II
    I think they should have said "no". They can't play songs like "Master of Puppets", because the Chinese Master of Puppets government says so, and all they do is obey these ridiculous oppressors. Yeah wow Kirk, you dared to play some riffs in a solo, you're such a badass rebel.
    The fans would have liked the songs. But they couldn't hear them because of the government. So he played the riffs so they could at least hear parts of them live. It was for the fans and not so he could look like a freedom fighter.
    If I was a Chinese Metallica fan I'd rather have they don't play a few songs instead of not coming at all.
    Congrats on having probably the stupidest, most ill-informed comment I've where read on this site. They came to play for the fans, and unfortunately had to leave some songs out of the set I'm order to do so. How is that obeying oppressors? At least Chinese fans got a show. I can see you went to the Axl Rose school of music.
    That's exactly what 'obeying oppressors' means though. Their freedom of expression was limited. It's just like having a producer who forces you to make more pop-ish choruses in order to have the record published. That's commonly referred to as selling out.
    Von II
    Sure, as a fan, you rather have them play a show without some songs than no show. I can agree with that. But as long as you keep going with the system, the system wont change. If you keep with the "Hey, something is better than nothing although we could have more without somebody's opinion forced upon us" way, you wont progress. Freedom of expression in most modern countries wasn't given in one day either, you take it for granted because people in your country fought for it a long time ago. You call me stupid and ill-informed, I call you shortsighted. It's like little kids, "you can have one cookie now or all the cookies later". And you all grab for the one cookie.
    lol, this is China they're talking about, they don't give a **** about what occidental societies call "freedom of expression". Although, they do behave like any other country, you either do as they say, or go **** yourself. In these modern times, individual acts of "rebellion" account for shit.
    Von II
    Individual acts of rebellion? I think there are few bands with such power and reach as Metallica. If there is someone to start such a "rebellion", Metallica would be one of the bands best suited. Hell, I should give up and become sheep like the rest of the world.
    They couldn't just change up the one line of lyrics? Jesus, I can't believe people can live under communism.
    China isn't really communist. Look it up, they make business just like any other capitalist Estate. They HAD to live under Mao's cultural revolution though XD
    It has nothing to do with communism. Similar things could happen in capitalist countries that have less freedom. Communism doesn't necessarily mean no freedom. Why is communism such a bad word? I don't want to start a political debate but what's wrong with communism? If you could make it work, it would be a good thing (though it's hard to make communism work). It would solve lots of problems (again if you made it work). Though the problem with communism is that it doesn't really work, at least at the moment - the world would need to change first.
    "If you could make it work" Communism fails not because communism is bad, but because of power creep. With every communist country that is "bad," we usually have someone in supreme power (Castro, Kim Jong, Stalin, et. Cetra) who ends up getting power drunk and then bad shit happens. Not to mentioned the idea of equality for all doesn't always work. There will always be someone naturally more attractive, more muscular, more intelligent, than others, and that in and of itself is inequality.
    It's like on Live Shit when he thrown in some parts of Escape, Ride the Lightning, No Remorse and a few others. Good job!
    If they still had balls they would have played it anyway. Just like back in the day when they opened with "So What" on MTV. Then again, China being a potential market for them, of course they don't want to worsen their relationship with them.
    Jame's been behaving properly for a long time now. Those days are way past.