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Guitar World magazine flew all the way to Milan, Italy on July 6 just to get all of the members of METALLICA, SLAYER, MEGADETH and
ANTHRAX — the so-called “Big Four” of 1980s thrash metal — together for a once-in-a-lifetime photo shoot and historic roundtable discussion.

The cover of the magazine’s November 2011 issue featuring the photos and the article can be seen below.

Following the first U.S. “Big Four” concert in Indio, California on April 23, a second U.S. show featuring METALLICA, SLAYER, MEGADETH and ANTHRAX has been confirmed for September 14 at the new version of the legendary Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York City.

Brian Aberback of recently interviewed SLAYER vocalist/bassist Tom Araya, ANTHRAX guitarist Scott Ian, and MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson about the upcoming show. An excerpt from the article follows below. What has your experience been performing the “Big Four” shows?

Araya: “To finally have the four bands together on one stage, it’s a metalhead’s dream. I’ve always been a fan of the bands. It’s rejuvenated the whole metal scene and its re-exposed people to metal.”

Ian: “It’s one of the best things we’ve ever done, if not the best. METALLICA made this decision to call us all up and ask if we wanted to go have some fun and be with our friends, and that’s what it’s been about. The shows we’ve done have been incredible and it’s an awesome thing for the fans.”

Ellefson: “It’s a phenomenon beyond anything any of us could have ever dreamed about. I like how we’re keeping it as these big festival events. There are these types of festivals all over Europe but we don’t have anything of this magnitude in the states. It’s a great night out.” What was the common thread between the four bands that led to the “Big Four” collectively creating a new style of metal?

Araya: “We started the bands around the same time, around 1981, and we all came up with this certain sound and style. That, to me, is what makes it special. And we’re still viable to the music scene 30 years later.”

Ellefson: “The common thread is that we all formed in the early 1980s and we were also the first generation of kids growing up that had both heavy metal and punk rock records in our record collections. Ultimately that combination formed thrash metal.”

A series of similar shows last summer in Europe was wildly popular, leading to demand for a U.S. version. The “Big Four” package also played several more shows in Europe this past July.

All four bands were presented with awards for sales of a hundred thousand copies of a “Big Four” live DVD which was released late last year.

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