Metallica Let Stranger Things Use Their Song For A Wild Reason

By Michileen Martin | Published

stranger things 4 eddie munson

Going against the metal band’s history of blocking screen productions from their catalog, Metallica gave Netflix‘s Stranger Things the green light to use the title track of their 1986 album Master of Puppets in Season 4. Now drummer Lars Ulrich has revealed the reason behind the band’s decision. He says Metallica wants to share their music “with the world.”

Speaking to Howard Stern (via The Hollywood Reporter), Ulrich explained Metallica used to be “the ‘no’ guys” before letting Stranger Things and other screen productions use their tracks. “We did a 180,” Ulrich told Stern. “We just said, ‘You know what? This is stupid.'”

“‘Why are we hanging onto these [songs] like they’re so important, like they’re the crown jewels?’ We started saying yes to everything. Let’s share our music with the world.”

And the proof, as Fox Mulder of The X-Files might say, is out there. Stranger Things Season 4 isn’t the only relatively recent screen project you can hear Metallica’s music in. Not only does “Nothing Else Matters” appear in last year’s Jungle Cruise, but the band re-recorded a version of the song just for the flick.

metallica stranger things
Joseph Quinn as Eddie Munson performing “Master of Puppets” in the Upside Down in Stranger Things

“The Four Horseman,” from the band’s first studio album Kill ‘Em All was fittingly used in 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse. “For Whom the Bell Tolls”–from 1984’s Ride the Lightning–can be heard in 2015’s Daddy’s Home 2 and 2009’s Zombieland. Metallica’s “Master of Puppets”–besides Stranger Things–was also used in 2019’s Zombieland: Double Tap and in the 2003 comedy Old School.

Even in the sci-fi workplace thriller Severance, you can find some Metallica. At the memorial scene for Mark’s (Adam Scott) former co-worker, we see a home video of the late co-worker teaching his daughter how to play the 1991 hit “Enter Sandman.”

In spite of Metallica’s enduring popularity over the decades, Ulrich says he and the rest of the band was shocked by the response to the track playing on Stranger Things. “It was such a mindf–k to see how that became a phenomenon,” Ulrich said. “It was totally unexpected.”

“Who would’ve thought 40 years later that these songs could still have that impact? We were psyched to be part of it.”

In case you’re somehow one of the few who doesn’t know: in the Season 4 finale of Stranger Things, the loner metalhead Eddie Munson (Joseph Quinn) delivers an epic rendition Metallica’s “Master of Puppets” in the Upside Down in order to get the attention of the powerful villain Vecna. Eddie succeeds, ultimately sacrifices himself because of it, and in doing so earned the tears and love of Stranger Things fans everywhere.

Along with agreeing with Stern that by Metallica allowing Stranger Things to use the song, they opened up their catalog to a whole new generation of fans, Ulrich says he felt grateful to be a part of boosting Quinn’s career. The actor visited the band to jam with them–he actually learned to perform the song for his role–and Ulrich called him “such a sweetheart.”

“He’s been kind of slugging along for years and years and years, and all of a sudden this character gives him this break,” Ulrich recalled. “And he was just riding the cusp of that wave where you can feel that his life was changing… and what a joy to share that musical moment with him and be a part of riding that wave with him.”