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Metallica back tribute act faced with legal threat

Lars and co tell Canadian band Sandman to file cease and desist notice "in the trash"

Metallica have given their blessing to a tribute band who were sent a 41-page cease and desist letter by an "overzealous attorney."

Canadian band Sandman – fronted by Warmachine singer Joe Di Taranto – were told to stop using Metallica's registered trademarks on their promotional material. Sandman's logo uses the same font adopted by Metallica on their 2003 album St Anger and they refer to themselves as "Canada's tribute to Metallica."

The legal papers were delivered to FitzRay's, a venue in London, Ontario, where Sandman were due to perform at the weekend.

It reads: “We are kindly writing to request that Sandman stop using the name Metallica, the phonetic equivalent of Metallica or any of Metallica’s logos on or to identify or promote live musical performances."

Di Taranto posted an image of the front page of the letter on Facebook, adding: "So as some of you may or may not know, in my spare time from Warmachine, I play in a couple of tribute acts – one being a ‎Metallica tribute called Sandman.

"Last night when we arrived at the venue for our show in London, we were served with cease and desist papers courtesy of Metallica's lawyers. Quite funny."

But when Metallica heard about the legal action, they immediately rescinded the letter and gave their backing to Sandman, joking that their lawyer was "permanently ice fishing in Alaska."

In a statement to Rolling Stone, Metallica say: "Sandman should file the letter in the trash. Keep doing what you’re doing. We totally support you. And in the meantime, our attorney can be found at San Francisco International Airport catching a flight to go permanently ice fishing in Alaska.

"It turns out that a certain letter was delivered to the band Sandman that neither we nor our management were aware of until it surfaced online. Lucky for us, the band was kind enough to post it for us to see, and it turns out that we have a very overzealous attorney who sent this letter without our knowledge.

"We have a long history of not only enjoying tribute bands, but we started as one. Heck, we even recorded a two-disc album of covers. We will always remember those days and continue to enjoy tribute bands, even inviting them to support us on various tours over the years."

Drummer Lars Ulrich also personally called Di Taranto to apologise for the letter.

Metallica are working on their 10th album.

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