‘Stranger Things’ Wrote Eddie Munson Scene With Metallica’s ‘Master of Puppets’ in Mind
There was no band but Metallica in mind for Stranger Things 4's pivotal guitar scene to end the season. Series creators the Duffer Brothers had already envisioned the influential metal act's "Master of Puppets" in the now-iconic part led by the metalhead character Eddie Munson from their very first writing it.
That's what Hannah Davis, the director of creative sync licensing for Metallica‘s management company Q Prime, explained in a recent column on Metallica's official "So What!" blog. (Stop reading here for any spoiler-y info, or watch the scene down below.)
"The song was scripted in by the Duffer Brothers," Davis says, "so it was in their mind from the very beginning. Nora [Felder, Stranger Things music supervisor] reached out to me in November 2020. … Nora ran me through the scene and explained the character of Eddie Munson to me."
Davis continues, "Because he was a new character, there wasn't a real reference for how much of a 'fan' he was, so Nora explained he was a metalhead and that the fans would love him. She detailed how it started with him playing the riff on guitar, a visual instrumental, and then Metallica's recording would come in."
She recalls, however, "We didn't know the total scope in terms of how long it would play or how exactly the song would be used. … But everyone was so excited that it was a quick 'yes.'"
Either way, Metallica, well embedded in pop culture already, have seen their music reach new listeners with placements such as the July 1 Stranger Things sendup. Last Saturday (July 9), the band responded by duetting with the scene on TikTok. On Sunday (July 10), Metallica's "Enter Sandman" emerged in a new orchestral version on HBO's Westworld.
Tye Trujillo, the 17-year-old son of Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo, contributed the guitar solo used on the recording for Stranger Things. It's also part of the most recent Stranger Things soundtrack, which features further cuts by KISS, Journey and Talking Heads.
Giving a brief primer on licensing, Davis says, "Sync-licensing is whenever a piece of music is synchronized with visual media. Using a piece of music in that context requires a license, an approval, for both master recording and underlying composition."
She adds, "I have relationships with music supervisors like Nora … and I pitch our artist’s music for specific series and scenes and sometimes receive briefs on shows and so forth that are in production. I pitch across all areas, from film to TV to adverts to video games."
Munson, played by Joseph Quinn, waves the heavy metal flag throughout Stranger Things 4, which premiered on Netflix in May. On the show, he rocks a Dio back patch in addition to rocking out on guitar. Quinn even listened to metal to prepare for role.
Metallica, together over 40 years, will wrap up their current string of scheduled world tour dates in August. Last year, Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich said it was "way too early" to talk about a new Metallica album, though the band had seemingly been working on one.