Rock stars and heavy metal headbangers have been appearing in movies and television for decades, either as performers or parodied versions of themselves, and we’ve assembled the list of the best ones
As one of the most hard-hitting music genres, metal can often get a bad rap for taking itself far too seriously. But true fans know that for all the dark and heavy music that the artists make and the intensity of their live shows, many metal musicians still very have a fun side. There are plenty of movies and television series about the rock and metal lifestyle and culture, and many of them often feature real rock stars who get to show off a bit of a sillier, more self-aware aspect of themselves that people may not be familiar with. Here are Knotfest’s picks for the best – and often funny – cameos from metal musicians.
Ozzy Osbourne in ‘Little Nicky’ (VOD)
The Prince of Darkness is certainly no stranger to the cameras, popping up in countless television series and music videos and movies throughout his unparalleled career in entertainment. One of his more memorable appearances is in the 2000 Adam Sandler comedy Little Nicky, where the Black Sabbath frontman is summoned by Sandler’s character – who just so happens to be one of the sons of Satan. Ozzy winds up saving the day by recreating his infamous bat-biting incident.
Randy Blythe in ‘Paradise City’ (Amazon Prime Video)
As a continuation of the film American Satan, Paradise City features a wide variety of rock and metal artists who show up throughout the series, such as members of Black Veil Brides and Asking Alexandria. One of the standouts is the frontman for one of the heaviest bands in the business: Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe. In the series, Blythe appears as the singer for a washed-up band that’s extremely down on their luck, facing tour bus issues and struggling to find an audience that cares about them anymore.
Dave Grohl in ‘The Muppets’ (Disney+)
Dave Grohl is one of the recognizable artists in the business thanks to his work with Nirvana and Foo Fighters and his endless collaborations with other notable acts. Grohl has appeared on both Sesame Street and the 2015 series The Muppets (where he battles Animal to a drum-off), but his silliest cameo is in the 2011 Muppets film. Grohl acts as the drummer for a Muppets tribute band named The Moopets, where he dresses up as Animal and does an excellent impression of the wildest muppet of all.
Lars Ulrich in ‘Get Him to the Greek’ (Hulu)
Get Him to the Greek serves as a spin-off to the landmark comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and has Russell Brand reprise his role as free-spirit British rock star Aldous Snow. The film has cameo appearances from multiple stars and musicians, but the most hilariously unexpected one is none other than Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich. Ulrich appears as himself and is caught sleeping with pop star Jackie Q (played by Rose Byrne), who just so happens to be Aldous Snow’s girlfriend.
Ronnie James Dio in ‘The Pick of Destiny’ (Netflix)
Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny is one of the most ridiculously funny and absurd comedies of the 2000s, but for anyone already familiar with the silly musical stylings of Jack Black and Kyle Gass, that’s no surprise. The Pick of Destiny is a fictional tale of the origins of Tenacious D, beginning with a young Jack Black growing up in a religiously oppressive household. His father – played by none other than Meat Loaf – hates the “Satanic” music that Black loves dearly and tries to stop him from listening to it. But Black is inspired by legendary metal musician Ronnie James Dio, who literally pops out of the young boy’s poster to offer words of wisdom and encouragement.
Alice Cooper in ‘Dark Shadows’ (HBO Max)
2012’s Dark Shadows, based on the classic gothic television series of the same name, is one of the more overlooked works of Tim Burton. It’s very much Burton in classic form, with his distinct visual style complimenting the looks of the film’s vampires and witches played by (who else?) the likes of Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Michelle Pfeiffer, Eva Green and more, as well as a score by frequent collaborator Danny Elfman. In the film, Depp’s character hosts a ball where Alice Cooper appears as himself providing the entertainment, singing hits like No More Mr. Nice Guy and Ballad of Dwight Fry.
Corey Taylor in ‘Sharknado: The 4th Awakens’ (Amazon Prime Video)
The Sharknado series is one of, if not the silliest franchise to ever grace the screen. The name really says it all, and as the series progressed, things only continued to grow crazier and crazier. The fourth entry in the series goes beyond mere sharknados and tosses in cownados and lightningnados as well, and while every film in the franchise has had celebrity cameos, none are quite as surprising as Slipknot and Stone Sour frontman Corey Taylor appearing as a security guard named Frankie who works at the Shark World Hotel.
Chester Bennington in ‘Saw: The Final Chapter’ (HBO Max)
Legendary vocalist Chester Bennington was no stranger to acting, having made a couple of brief appearances in the deranged action franchise Crank before taking on a larger role in Saw: The Final Chapter (also known as Saw 3D). As the seventh installment in the horror franchise, audiences were already very familiar with the series’ elaborate and gruesome death traps that made Saw such an iconic franchise in the first place, but the particular one that Bennington finds himself in is especially horrid. The singer – who was already a fan of the movies – plays Evan, a white supremacist who finds himself glued to the seat of a car with no easy way out, and things get messy very quickly.
Sid Wilson in ‘Paradise City’ (Amazon Prime Video)
Sid Wilson is likely the wildest member out of the controlled chaos that is Slipknot. The famous DJ for the group made a name for himself with his various onstage antics that include stage diving and dances, and he channels that same kind of energy into his character for Paradise City. Wilson plays an upcoming artist named Fritz, a frenetic man who believes himself to already be a big-name star despite not actually working his way up there yet and seemingly not having too much actual talent. He gets some of the biggest laughs of the show.
Lemmy Kilmister in ‘Airheads’ (VOD)
Airheads is a comedy from the early 90s that starred Brendan Fraser, Steve Buscemi, and Adam Sandler as a trio of aspiring rock stars doing whatever it takes to make it big. As an obvious love letter to the world of rock and metal, the film features music from various artists and even features White Zombie appearing in the film and performing their song Feed the Gods. But the best cameo goes to the late great Lemmy, frontman of Motörhead, who pops up in a scene where members of a crowd acknowledge their former uncool hobbies. Lemmy’s appearance is brief, where he admits to having been the editor of the school magazine, but it’s a damn funny moment from one of the grittiest musicians in history.