It didn’t take long for metal and punk to influence each other. Crossover bands like D.R.I. and Suicidal Tendencies embraced both genres. Even strictly METAL bands had punk influences. What follows are just a few examples of what happens when METAL COVERS PUNK!
SAINT VITUS – THIRSTY AND MISERABLE
No band was better prepared to cover Black Flag than Saint Vitus. Spot produced their early records and Dez Candena sang backup on their namesake song. A proud SST band, Black Flag is in the Vitus DNA.
Saint Vitus transform “Thirsty and Miserable” into a doomfest. The frantic pace of the original is replaced with sustaing power chords. It’s a fun listen, particularly when Dez is namedropped as needing a ride to the liquor store. Of course the tempo picks up at the end. There needs to be chaos to sustain a David Chandler solo.
The song ends with the familiar dilemma of a closed liquor store. Instead of searching for the “key to mother’s liquor cabinet,” the Saint Vitus gang find a different solution. Wino shouts, “Fuck that, we’re gonna break in,” moments before a feedback drenched note closes out the song.
MEGADETH – ANARCHY IN THE UK
Megadeth could have chosen any song from So Far, So Good, So What to release as a single. Rather than highlight an original composition, a video was shot for “Anarchy in the U.K.” After all, there was a real Sex Pistol playing on the track. Steve Jones just happened to be living in southern California and agreed to stop by the studio. The song remained a staple in Megadeth shows for years and the video is still fun to watch.
“Anarchy” actually wasn’t Mustaine’s first choice. Initially, Dave wanted to cover “Problems,” but opted to record an instantly recognizable Pistol’s song. Considering the success of “Anarchy,” it was a wise decision. Besides, Dave would eventually get his way. A long overdue cover of “Problems” was eventually released on the Hidden Treasures EP.
LAAZ ROCKIT – HOLIDAY IN CAMBODIA
Laaz Rockit maintain a distinctly metal vibe while recreating “Holiday in Cambodia.” Michael Coons wisely refrains from imitating Jello Biafra. He spits out each phrase with confidence, though the band did catch slack for manipulating the line, “Bragging how you know that the suckers feel cold.” In the end, it didn’t really matter. Laaz Rockit created a lasting metal version of a punk classic.
SLAYER – RICHARD HUNG HIMSELF
It’s no secret that Slayer are huge punk fans. Jeff Hanneman sported DK and Black Flag logos on his guitars for years. Even in their earliest interviews, the band openly discussed their punk influences.
In 1996, Slayer released an album consisting largely of punk covers. The record contains a few original songs, but recording classics from the likes of D.R.I., The Stooges and Minor Threat was the whole point of Undisputed Attitude. Slayer’s version of the D.I. classic, “Richard Hung Himself,” remains particularly memorable.
M.O.D. – I Love Livin’ in the City
The first M.O.D. record sounded a lot like S.O.D. By Gross Misconduct, the band seemed to prefer the metal side of crossover. Of course, punk will always be part of M.O.D. Recording a Fear classic was genius. Hearing Billy Milano sing “I Love Livin’ in the City” never gets old.
S.O.D. also played the song during their reunion show in 1992. Flanked by members of Anthrax and Nuclear Assault, Milano channeled Lee Ving once again, this time in front of a rabid New York audience.
ANTHRAX – GOD SAVE THE QUEEN
Before unleashing Spreading the Disease upon the metal world, Anthrax introduced Joey Belladonna through the Armed and Dangerous EP. In addition to the title track, older songs were re-recorded with the new vocalist. As an added bonus, the record included a metalized version of “God Save the Queen.”
SACRED REICH – LET’S HAVE A WAR
Surf Nicaragua established Sacred Reich as a politically conscious band that questioned government sanctioned aggression. Covering “Let’s Have a War” made perfect sense. Frontman Phil Rind deserves much credit for his handling of the vocals. It’s not easy to sing a Fear song and Rind nails the melody.
OVERKILL – FUCK YOU
Overkill practically claimed the Subhumans, “Fuck You” as their own song. Released as an EP in 1987, the defiant anthem has always been part of the band’s setlist. It’s hard to imagine an Overkill concert without hearing Blitz scream, “WE DON’T CARE WHAT YOU SAY…FUCK YOU!”
METALLICA – LAST CARESS/GREEN HELL
Metallica were huge fans of the Misfits. The band sang the praises of the cult act whenever they could. Frequently sporting t-shirts from the sacred trinity of Misfits/Samhain/Danzig, untold scores of metalheads were turned on to The Misfits through Metallica.
When Metallica recorded a 5 song EP of covers, it was only natural to include a few Misfits tunes. Released in 1987, the spirit of early Metallica shines throughout the medley of “Last Caress” and “Green Hell” (with a few bars of Iron Maiden’s “Run to the Hills” tacked on at the end).
Want more punk covers? Check out what happens when PUNKS COVER PUNKS!