Heavy metal and sports are two worlds that you would never expect to collide. Music taste is a very personal thing, and you often hear sports players talking about the music that gets them pumped for a game. Some of that music just so happens to be metal. However, you never hear about it working the other way around.
While you are unlikely to come across a metal musician who warms up by watching football before going on stage, there are some artists in the genre with a passion for sports. Here are the headbanging heavy metal stars you can expect to see at your local sports bar.
The Metallica front man is most known for his rapid downstrokes, playing rhythm guitar, and shaping the thrash metal scene in the eighties; however, he almost had a completely different life. You see, Hetfield is more than just an NFL fan. In fact, there was a time in the front man’s life when he was considering pursuing a career in football instead of music. However, he was forced to choose between the two when his high school football coach told him he couldn’t play for the team unless he cut his hair. Having Hetfield as a player would really change the odds at Bet US, the home of NFL moneyline. Fortunately, heavy metal is a community that doesn’t care what you look like, and this pressure seemed to solidify James Hetfield’s love of music.
James Hetfield hasn’t fallen out of love with the sport, though. He is a huge Raiders fan and is often seen supporting them online or in the stands.
It seems that there is a link between football fandom and pioneering the thrash metal genre, as Kerry King from Slayer is also a huge NFL fan. Since the music press in the eighties always classified Slayer as a more extreme version of Metallica, it only makes sense that Kerry King also takes his passion for the sport to another level.
King is also a Raiders fan and considers his number 25 jersey from 1994 to be one of his most prized possessions. The co-lead guitarist may have never pursued a career in the sport, but he is firmly in the Raiders camp each season. He was even very vocal about his support for the team when they moved to Las Vegas.
Heavy metal as it is known today originated in the UK, so it only makes sense that musicians from this side of the pond also share a love of sport. In the case of Iron Maiden bassist and chief songwriter, Steve Harris, it is his love of soccer that keeps him going.
Steve Harris is a huge fan of West Ham and was even asked to train with the amateur team as a youngster during his days playing the sport. Fortunately, this stint didn’t work out, and metal fans get to enjoy one of the greatest catalogues of music in history. However, Harris did get to have some influence on the hammers when Iron Maiden was asked to collaborate on the team’s new kit design in 2022.
The Slipknot front man has consistently entered the conversation of best metal vocalist ever since the band launched its debut album to audiences in 1999. Sadly, Taylor’s favorite sports team can’t quite seem to find the same level of success, as the Indianapolis Colts haven’t won the Superbowl since 2006.
Corey Taylors’ love of the Colts is something that has stuck with him since he was a young child. It also seems that the love between the musician and the team is mutual. Corey Taylor has appeared on ESPN to discuss the sport on numerous occasions, and he was even lucky enough to meet former quarterback, Andrew Luck, backstage at his own Slipknot concert.
It is almost poetic that Malakian’s band System of a Down and his favorite sport, baseball, share an unfortunate symmetry in the current age. There are some music fans that do not consider System to be a true metal band and many sports fans who do not consider baseball to be a sport.
With that unfortunate parallel aside, the Armenian guitarist has always been a huge fan of American baseball. Daran Malakian has been a lifelong Dodgers fan and was even asked to play as part of the team during the 45th Annual Hollywood Stars match. This experience left a bitter taste in the guitarist’s mouth, though, but it did lead him to write the song Old School Hollywood, which is one of the best songs on System of a Down’s Mesmerise album.
These metal heads just go to show that you can find passion anywhere. It seems that sports and metal are two entities that are much closer than once thought.