LOS ANGELES — We know Metallica and Limp Bizkit will headline the Summer Sanitarium Tour, but what we don't know is who will be in those bands. Or do we?
"We got Yngwie Malmsteen," Fred Durst deadpanned Wednesday at a press conference to announce the tour, which also features Linkin Park, the Deftones and Mudvayne.
"Oh man, he was next on my list," Lars Ulrich said of the Swedish metal guitar virtuoso.
"I'll take Steve Vai and give you him," Durst shot back.
Of course, Durst and Ulrich were joking. Metallica's bassist slot and Limp Bizkit's guitarist slot remain vacant. The latter band appears close to finalizing a replacement for Wes Borland, though.
"We know who. It's all good," said Durst, sporting a Minor Threat T-shirt. "We're going to let you know who that is the second you see us. We're not going to make a big deal about it. It's just going to be somebody really strong."
As for Jason Newsted's old role in Metallica, Ulrich said the band hopes to fill the opening by the end of the month.
"We were in the mindset of finishing the record and dealing with it when the record was done," the drummer said. "Then we woke up one day and thought maybe we should start thinking about it now so we don't wake up one day and have 10 minutes to get it together. We've had some cool cats come through the door, so we'll see."
Producer Bob Rock, who has played bass at some recent Metallica performances (see "Metallica Pump Up Raiders Fans With Surprise Concert"), will not fill the spot permanently. "Bob's a friend of ours and a member of our family, but not at that level," Ulrich said. "He has other family to deal with, and going out and playing 300 shows around the world for the next two years is not his thing."
After observing Durst and Ulrich talk band openings, Linkin Park drummer Rob Bourdon tried to find his way into the conversation. "We'll probably change a couple of crew guys around," he joked.
In all seriousness, the fact that two of the acts on the Summer Sanitarium Tour have high-profile vacancies certainly brings an interesting element to the outing, which will kick off July 4 (see "Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit, Metallica To Launch Joint Tour").
That Metallica and Limp Bizkit were once the unofficial spokespeople for the opposite sides of the Napster debate also makes the lineup a bit more interesting, although Ulrich and Durst said the issue is behind them.
"We settled it a long-ass time ago," Ulrich said. "That was not about music. That was not about respect. That was just standing your ground, two different positions on an issue that affects all of us. I have a lot of respect for where Fred was coming from."
Also intriguing is that Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park are hitting the stadium circuit at a time when rap-rock's future is blurry (see "Will Korn, Papa Roach And Limp Bizkit Evolve Or Die?"). And Metallica haven't released an album in five years or toured in three. In other words, the Summer Sanitarium Tour might be better titled the Make-or-Break Tour.
Of course, the bands are nothing but optimistic.
"I think this is a tour that separates the real from the not so real and the men from the boys," Durst said. "These are solid bands that seem really credible, very real. It seems like each band has something timeless about them and longevity in their spirit and [they're] not one-hit-wonders and bands just for temporary fixes on styles. Anybody who experiences it will go away feeling that, I believe. Sh-- floats."
"If you're gonna get a serious ass kicking, ear spanking in 2003, this is it," added Ulrich. "The stadium tour is a dying breed. Everybody tries to play it down. There's a time to play it down, but once in a while you have to play it up. And to have three bands who can all go out and headline in their own right on the same stage, to give the kids that chance once is going to be so awesome."
Ulrich said Metallica considered first supporting their upcoming St. Anger with a club tour and then increasing the size of venues with time.
"And then we said, 'F--- it,' " the drummer said. "Last time we were touring, we were doing stadiums with Korn and Kid Rock. So we thought, 'Why not just start where we left off, and we can go back and plays clubs if anyone cares.' We're so psyched just to go back out there, it's difficult to contain our energy and enthusiasm."
"Now we have to take our Metallica covers out of our set," Durst added with a smile.
"Same here," Ulrich joked.