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Thin Lizzy’s Eric Bell says he didn’t like playing with Metallica

Eric Bell
Photo by Belfast Telegraph

Classic Rock

Thin Lizzy’s Eric Bell says he didn’t like playing with Metallica

The original Thin Lizzy guitarist Eric Bell, who was the one that named the band, recalled in an interview with Guitar World that he didn’t like playing with Metallica. They had covered the famous Lizzy version for the traditional song “Whiskey In The Jar” in 1998, being released on their covers album “Garage Inc.” Their version became a worldwide hit and when they performed in Dublin, Ireland the next year, they invited Bell to play with them that song on stage.


The guitarist said that he didn’t know anything about Metallica at the time because it wasn’t his kind of music and it wasn’t a good experience to play with them.

Thin Lizzy’s Eric Bell says he didn’t like playing with Metallica

“I didn’t know anything about Metallica. Not a thing. I’m not into that type of music. So when someone told me they’d recorded ‘Whiskey in the Jar‘ I was like, ‘Oh, who are they?’ And then they asked me to do the gig, which was chaos. I don’t know why they called me. I think the impression they had was that I knew who they were, I didn’t. They thought I was in awe of them – not true.

“One of the roadies drove me to their hotel, and I stood in the hall waiting. And one by one, they came down, shook my hand, and they expected me to be impressed. But I didn’t know who they were, I’d never heard their music, and I wasn’t bothered. That took them by surprise.”

He continued:

“It wasn’t enjoyable. There was no chemistry. They tuned a whole step down, which is typical for them. I, however, didn’t. So now I’m hearing Whiskey in the Jar in F, which was very odd. From that point forward, my brain wasn’t into it. I just played it my way, and we went our separate ways,” Eric Bell said.

Although Thin Lizzy made the song be a hit all over the world after releasing their version on the album “Vagabonds of the Western World” in 1972, the song existed for centuries, long before the electric guitar existed. Their cover was a number 1 hit in Ireland and peaked at number 6 on the United Kingdom singles chart.

Metallica’s version peaked at number 17 in Ireland but was a number one hit on the UK Rock & Metal charts.

I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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