Not Metallica: Red Hot Chili Peppers Mistaken For Heavy Metal Band By Belarus Airport Officials

Members of a band most of us know were detained by airport officials last week. On Sunday, the Red Hot Chili Peppers were mistaken for Metallica by Belarus airport officials and asked to sign CDs and merchandise. Said merchandise had the Metallica logo and pictures of the band, the latter of which makes even less sense.

Perhaps they were dressed in such a way to cover who they were? Officials had pictures of James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, and the rest of the band on the merchandise and thought that Anthony, Flea, and company were the same people.


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The Red Hot Chili Peppers were at a stopping point between Kiev, Ukraine, and Moscow, Russia, when the mistake was made. Bassist Flea took to Instagram to report his amusement with the situation.

“We were called into customs officials office at an airport in Belarus and they asked us to sign a bunch of Metallica [CDs] and photos. We tried to explain to them that we weren’t Metallica but they insisted that we sign anyway. They had the power. Well I did play [“Fight Fire with Fire”] with Metallica once. I love Metallica anyways but I’m no Robert Trujillo.”

While hugely popular, RHCP is not Metallica. The two bands generally sound and look very different, even if their past efforts have seen similar failures.

Metallica had been on hiatus for nearly ten years after the release of their self-titled album, and when they tried to get experimental with Load, Re-Load, S&M, and Saint Anger, sporting short hair, most fans had given up. The sound was so different at that point that long-time fans of the once thrash metal band said they were not Metallica anymore. It wasn’t until the band attempted to go back to their roots that some fans decided to give them another chance.

Red Hot Chili Peppers found the same problem when they released their One Hot Minute album. It was so different from their over-caffeinated musical origins that it was considered their worst album ever made. Songs like “Aeroplane” and “My Friends” made them sound like they’d mostly given up the high energy sounds. It wasn’t until they released By the Way in 2002 that the fans believed they were back to form.

RHCP is not Metallica, but an autograph was an autograph and the Belarus airport officials wouldn’t listen when the group tried to tell them so. It’s possible after learning of their mistake, they might post these Metallica items signed by RCHP on eBay and make some money on what could be collector’s items.

Of course, after Anthony Kiedis’ health scare a couple of months ago, the situation could have been a lot worse. They could have said no to the officials, insisting even further that they are not Metallica, and ended up arrested. This probably would have gotten more of their shows canceled.

[Image via Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartMedia]