By Brian Ives
Tomorrow night at the GRAMMYs, a week after her triumphant performance at the Super Bowl Halftime show, Lady Gaga will take the stage for a very different performance; she’ll collaborate with Metallica for what will probably be a once-in-a-lifetime performance.
And while some fans surely are puzzled by the seeming randomness of the pairing, it actually makes sense: although Gaga’s music is far from being heavy metal, she is a longtime fan of the genre and the subculture.
Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) August 19, 2015
In a 2015 interview, she discussed the impact of Iron Maiden: “They’re one of the greatest rock bands in history, in my opinion. Some people really don’t know the importance of metal and the scope of it. Those guys were filling stadiums, and they still are,” she said (and indeed, they’ve just announced another arena tour). “And it’s because of the culture of the music, the poetry that’s so powerful, that whenever the fans come together they unite in the essence of what Iron Maiden is all about. I always used to say to people, when they would say, ‘Oh, she’s the next Madonna.’ No, I’m the next Iron Maiden.”
Gaga is a solo artist who excels at collaboration, regardless of genre: take, for instance, her duet with Beyonce on “Telephone,” her duet album with Tony Bennett (2014’s Cheek to Cheek) or the fact that she used E Street Band saxophonist Clarence Clemons on “Edge of Glory.” So here’s hoping her next major collaborative project sees her working with a metal (or hard rock) artist. Here’s a few rockers we’d love to see her jam with (other than Metallica). Of course, the best-case scenario for a collaboration would be for it to yield a brand-new song, but for the purposes of this list, we’ll delve into existing songs.
Iron Maiden: Clearly she’s a fan, and is one of the few vocalists who could go toe-to-toe or note-for-note with Bruce Dickinson. We’d love to hear her join them for “The Number of the Beast,” and maybe a bit of her own “Perfect Illusion.” Imagine hearing Dickinson singing “It wasn’t looo-ooo-ove!” with his operatic falsetto.
Judas Priest: Frontman Rob Halford came out of the closet nearly twenty years ago in an interview with MTV; these days, his sexuality isn’t even an issue anymore. But a Gaga/Priest collaborative version of LGBT anthem “Born This Way” would be a powerful moment. And they could pair that with “Breaking the Law.”
Slipknot: (1) They’re one of the few metal bands whose stage costumes are as elaborate as Gaga’s and (2) it would be interesting to see what kind of mask Gaga would wear; you don’t join Slipknot onstage if you’re not dressed for the occasion! Gaga would surely enjoy “The Heretic Anthem,” while we’d love to hear Slipknot brutalize “Bad Romance.”
Alice Cooper: We know he’s a fan; he’s covered “Born This Way” in his sets. But, really, we’d love to see him take on Beyonce’s vocals in “Telephone”; on the flipside, Alice’s “Be My Lover” might be a cool duet for the duo.
KISS: Since putting their makeup back on in the ’90s, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley have said that new members won’t get new makeup designs: every lead guitarist uses Ace Frehley’s “spaceman” persona, and every drummer would use Peter Criss’ “Catman.” But they might make an exception if Lady Gaga were to join them temporarily. Unlike most heavy bands, KISS can rock a disco jam – exhibit A is “I Was Made for Lovin’ You” – so they’d probably do great with “Poker Face.” And we’d love to hear Gaga’s take on “Love Gun.”