Everyone’s gotta start somewhere and though Metallica now routinely pack stadiums, there was a point where the group actually performed in a roller rink. This new revelation comes courtesy of former bassist Ron McGovney by way of Ratt‘s Stephen Pearcy.
Pearcy has been reflecting through Ratt’s past on social media and his website via his “Backstage Past” series. In a recent posting, the Ratt frontman stated, “Someone asked me; ‘Did Ratt and Metallica do shows in the early days? We did shows, who said we never got along, lol. Looks like some of us did. Nothing but respect for the band. We all have our day.”
In his posting, Pearcy showed confirmation of a Los Angeles performance at the Troubadour with both Ratt and Metallica on the bill, a flier for a show at Oakland Stadium that included both bands and photos of backstage hijinks between the two groups hanging out. He also noted that these photos and fliers all took place circa “84-85.”
But the relationship between the bands even pre-dates that. Former Metallica bassist Ron McGovney chimed in on the post with a ticket stub from a 1982 show at Billy Barty’s Roller Fantasy. The musician recalled, “Metallica /Ratt played at a roller skating rink in 1982. People were actually skating in front of us while we were on stage!”
That notion seems wild these days given the popularity of Metallica, their stadium tours and globe-trotting ways. But imagine breaking up the “couples skate” for a little heavy metal headbanging on wheels courtesy of Papa Het and company.
The other thing of interest is that the show in question is billed as “Billy Barty’s Roller Fantasy.” Barty was a popular actor of short stature who was cast in a wealth of films and TV roles dating back to the 1930s. In the ’70s, he appeared in several of Sid and Marty Kroft’s children’s TV shows including The Bugaloos and Sigmund and the Sea Monsters. He was also a cast member on the ’70s sitcom The Redd Foxx Show. While no additional details were given on the roller rink show, it’s not known if the famous actor played a role in the night’s festivities or simply had lent his name to the venue where the group played.
Another Metallica and Ratt connection from the early days occurred when both acts were featured on the first pressing of the Metal Massacre series put out by Brian Slagel. The first installment in 1982 included Metallica’s “Hit the Lights” (initially billed as Mettallica) and Ratt’s “Tell the World.”