Portugal. The Man on Covering “Don’t Tread on Me” for Metallica’s Black Album Anniversary: “We Wanted to Punk It Up”

Eric Howk and Zach Carothers discuss their contribution to The Metallica Blacklist

portugal the man metallica blacklist black album interview cover

At nearly every show they play, Portugal. The Man will shred through Metallica’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls” to open the show. It’s a testament to their versatile chameleon-like quality as a band, but also, it’s simply fun for them.

For PTM’s Eric Howk and Zach Carothers, Metallica was a fundamental band of their adolescence. Growing up in the dark, cold environment of Alaska, the two bonded over Metallica’s ferocity and vibrance at a young age, eventually forming a band and jamming the old tunes in their basements.

Now, over 20 years later, they’ve participated in The Metallica Blacklist covers album, out September 10th, by prepping a terrific cover of “Don’t Tread on Me.” Howk and Carothers may identify as the biggest Metallica fans of the group, but the full-band enthusiasm of “Don’t Tread on Me” is hard to ignore.

“We wanted to ‘punk’ it up a little bit,” says Howk about their arrangement. “We wanted to corrupt it; we took that intro melody and just wanted to make it worse.”

It’s a fitting act of dissonance, considering the dark themes that populate The Black Album, but Portugal. The Man are all smiles about it. Consequence caught up with Carothers and Howk to chat about their contribution to The Blacklist, their love for Metallica, and more.

Watch the video above, and stay tuned for Part 2 of the interview.


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