The Thing That Should Not Let It Be

I don’t remember where I first read about these guys, but this is the most bizarre tribute / cover / whatever band I’ve heard since Dread Zeppelin.

Beatallica, a Metallica / Beatles mash-up of sorts, got its start in 2001 as a spoof by singer Jaymz Lennfield and guitarist Krk Hammetson. They recorded an EP, A Garage Dayz Nite, for giveaway at Milwaukee’s annual "Spoof Fest" concert. Later that year, one of the CDs made its way to Milwaukee resident David Dixon (the “Webmaster of Puppets”). Dixon created a web page that included mp3s of the songs, and it was he who dubbed the band "Beatallica". The band was unaware of the site until Dixon met them in the summer of 2002. Beatallica gave the web page its blessing, and after further urgings from its Internet fan base, recorded the EP Beatallica, also known as The Gray Album. The band released it online on April 1, 2004.

But all that fun wasn’t without some controversy. In early 2005, Sony/ATV Music Publishing, the company that holds rights to most of the Beatles catalog, sent a cease-and-desist notice to Beatallica. The notice states that the "music,” "news," and "merchandise" sections of the official Beatallica Web site constitute a copyright violation and should be taken down. The members of Metallica learned about the band and their problems and Lars Ulrich got in touch to help them out and also referred them to the band’s own lawyer. Ultimately, Sony decided not to pursue legal action against Beatallica, but maintained the right to do so in the future if necessary. Whatever that means.

Beatallica is a real “tribute” band. They perform regularly, in costume, or, as Hammetson told blogger Jeremy Brendan, “You know the look of a typical Beatles cover band, you know, with the costumes and authentic guitars and everything? Well, imagine those guys having a nightmare that they were thrown into a mosh pit. That's how we'll look.”

Check out Beatallica.org for show information. You can also download the entire Beatallica catalog for free at the site. Because of the legal issues, the band has opted to provide the music without charge. Meanwhile, check out these couple of songs.

Sgt. Hetfield’s Motorbreath Pub Band.mp3
Sandman (live).mp3


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