Thin Lizzy’s Eric Bell Calls Metallica ‘Pack of Bastards’
He joined the band onstage in Dublin for a rendition of “Whiskey in the Jar,” which Metallica recorded in 1998 and was inspired by Thin Lizzy’s 1973 version.
Bell told the Irish Sun that he’d been flown from the U.K. to Dublin on the band’s private jet, played the show, then been flown back home, landing at a private airfield.
“It was about half three in the morning,” he said. “The transport was all lined up, and there was a car to take me home. I was quietly expecting about two grand, which wouldn’t have meant a thing to them. But I got handed over a big ball of Metallica T-shirts, key rings and hats. I got paid fuck all. Then they all fucked off.”
Listen to Metallica and Eric Bell Perform ‘Whiskey in the Jar’
The newspaper noted that Bell said “there was no agreement on the fee.” He also admitted he signed a piece of paper after the show without reading it, so he wasn’t certain if he’d waived the right to payment by adding his signature.
“It wasn’t until I was sitting in my car on the way home I realized they hadn’t paid me,” he said. “I thought I’d get something in the post, but [I didn't hear a word]. Later, somebody tried to get in touch with Metallica to get me something but they found it impossible and they gave up.”
Bell added that "they are a pack of bastards. I couldn’t believe what they did, especially as they are so well off. I should have been paid £2,000 but got fuck all. It’s pure ignorance really. … If Metallica ever asked me to guest with them again, I’d ask for five grand in advance -- in cash, so I’d know I had it in my pocket.”
He recalled the entire experience as a bemusing episode, saying it had been funny when he met Metallica because he didn’t know anything about them and didn’t recognize them, but they were surrounded by a large entourage of “sergeant majors” who expected him to “genuflect” in their presence. Bell said the performance itself had gone well but he never felt fully engaged by the band members at any point. “If somebody puts a form in front of me in future," he concluded, "I will read it.”