Metallica and their trip to Antarctica

interview metallica antarctica

We meet one of the world’s most iconic rock bands, Metallica, during their stopover in Chiles Punta Arenas. From there, they will head to the Antarctic to play an exclusive gig, organized by Coke Zero, at the Argentinean Carlini Station on King George Island.

Everything starts on Friday, December 6th, when the band arrives at Punta Arenas’ Carlos Ibáñez del Campo airport at 1 p.m in their charter plane coming from San Francisco, after only a short stop in Peru’s capital Lima to refuel. In Punta Arenas they meet up with the local production crew and a delegation from Aerovías DAP, the local airline which has been flying from the capital of the Magallanes, the southernmost region of Chile, to the white continent for 20 years.

Before Metallica take off to the Antarctic, and facilitated by the delay of their manager’s flight, James Hetfield, traveling with his wife and their three kids, uses the opportunity to take a guided tour of the city, accompanied by bass player Robert Trujillo and his wife.

Guided by DAP’s Catalina Navarrete, the tour leads them to Punta Arenas’ main cemetery where James seizes the chance to take some pictures of one of the world’s most beautiful cemeteries; he regularly photographs cemeteries, his manager tells us. Afterwards they visit the famous Foot of the Indio at the Plaza de Armas. Its legend says, you will return to Punta Arenas if you touch its big toe. The family picture taken on this occasion subsequently goes viral on various social networks, thus even leading to a publication in the national media.

At 5 p.m., the band’s manager has arrived meanwhile, they embark the BAe 146-200 to the perpetual ice. Midair crew and band relax giving us the opportunity to chat a little bit with James.

Hi James, we know you’ve been to Alaska before so you’re familiar with the polar regions. What do you expect from this trip?
Hi! That’s true, but this trip is completely different. We’re travelling there to play a concert. That’s the reason for our journey, besides a little bit of penguin hunting. (laughs for a few seconds). No, just kidding. Believe it or not, we’re really excited. Experiences like these are always challenging but we believe everything’s going to work out. We don’t have any room for doubts.

interview metallica antarctica james hetfield

As the Antarctic is also a tourist destination, I was wondering whether this trip is business or holiday? I’m asking because your family is accompanying you.
Whenever time allows it, we try to get to explore as much as possible. Sometimes it’s not possible because of our full schedules. In this case, however, I can assure you that it’s work. We’re here to play and fulfill a commitment, but at the same time we like to have our families with us on extraordinary journeys like this one. You don’t get to see these places every day, it’s a special occasion.

After chatting with the good-humored James, we take a seat beside Kirk Hammett who comments on the trip like this:
I think it’s going to be really awesome, but I hope it won’t be too cold. I’ll have to use gloves while playing (laughs, gesturing with his hands.), but we’re enthusiastic about the opportunity to do this show. I hope people will enjoy it.

A few minutes later, captain Sergio Cortéz announces we’re ready to land. On the ground, a group of about 50 people, consisting of members of the Chilean navy, the air force, and members of the Base Presidente Eduardo Frei Montalva, awaits Metallicas arrival on the airfield of the Chilean station. The first to greet the band is Alejo Contreras, a well-known explorer of the Antarctic and head of the DAP group’s activities there. After he chatted with their manager for a few minutes the band leaves the plane to a warm welcome of applause and the clicking of cameras, and happily meets the waiting group.

Photographer and Review by Ivan Vega © Copyright

Interviewer: twansibon
Dec 14, 2013

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