Metallica have a sense of humor, a fact they proved recently with the video they made to troll Glastonbury protesters. And now they're proving it again in a spot for ESPN's SportsCenter that will air during tonight's Home Run Derby. The clip plays off the idea that since Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera retired at the end of last season (taking his "Enter Sandman" entrance music with him) they don't know what to do with themselves, so they have started coming up with their own ideas.
"Sometimes it can be quite freeing to put yourself at the mercy of others," Lars Ulrich says about making the ad. "ESPN's commercials have a tendency to be hilarious. We were like, 'That sounds like a good time.' The whole thing had an overriding impulsivity to it."
The headbangers filmed a variety of situations for the 30-second spot, all of which the drummer says were funny but he won't divulge the setups in case they're used for future commercials. What stood out to Ulrich most about making the clip was just how talented the sportscasters who appeared in the spot – Jay Harris, Scott Van Pelt and Stuart Scott – were when it came to acting.
"All these anchors and sports personalities are just so incredibly good at the deadpan element," he says. "It's just really fun to be around that environment, because there's a high degree of impulsivity and they don't take themselves very seriously."
That sort of irreverence also creeps into his interview with Rolling Stone. When asked what Metallica song would indeed be the best tune to complement the golf show the band pitches in the ad, Ulrich picks the galloping, vitriolic closing cut on the group's 1988 record ...And Justice for All. And, to demonstrate the irony of his selection – he proceeds to recite the lyrics straight-faced: "'Dear mother, dear father, what is this hell you have put me through?'" he says and then laughs. "Right there."
Ulrich's favorite moment in the spot comes at the end when Stuart Scott encounters Kirk Hammett in the break room.
"When he takes the tab off Kirk's 'guitar lessons' flier and uses it as his gum wrapper, that's just classic," Ulrich says with a laugh. "The whole thing is really funny. Man, let's do another 20 of these. It's really fun."