A variety of theories on what went wrong with James Hetfield’s microphone during Metallica’s performance at the Grammys on Sunday with Lady Gaga have surfaced. Below is the rundown of the top few theories.
A stagehand unplugged the mic: TMZ’s source claimed that a stagehand accidentally unplugged a wire beneath the stage between the mic check and the performance.
A dancer unplugged the mic: A Recording Academy spokesperson offered a different explanation. “What we believe happened was that either a dancer or an extra clipped the line running on the floor and it unplugged at the base of the mic,” the spokesperson told Pitchfork. While they didn’t name a specific responsible party, they explained that the incident “was, of course, accidental.”
The mic seems fine on a web stream: Hetfield’s voice can be heard on a video later uploaded of the performance to the internet, but many fans have speculated that it is an overdub from a recent live performance.
One fan wrote on Reddit, “I can’t explain how it could have happened but as far as the authenticity of the audio goes, I don’t think there’s a reason to doubt it. It was posted by a chapter so I would find it hard to believe they, actual, dedicated fans, would lie about a recording of their favorite band to the rest of the world. That seems worse than the fiasco itself and would come back to bite them in the ass if that ended up being the case. The source was named so it’s only a matter of time before other people who saw it online attest to there not being a mic issue. That really needs to happens sooner than later though, heh. And thank God James kept singing.”
Another wrote, “Yeah I can explain that. Everything feeds from guitar & mics to a main switch board, from there, feeds to web, speakers for audience, TV, AND recording are made. So the feed from the switch board to the speakers/amps could be misconfigured or off.”
Watch the new video below and decide for yourself.