Wiig was Metallica chauffeur, art collection manager and on-call 24 hours… but he claims drummer didn’t deliver on pay deal
Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich has been hit with a lawsuit from a former personal assistant, demanded payment of agreed fees which never materialised.
Steven Wiig, 38, who appears briefly in the band’s documentary Some Kind of Monster, says his job included driving Ulrich around and administering his art collection. He says he was effectively on-call 24 hours a day, and worked up to 70 hours a week off the road and another 10 hours a week when the thrash band were on tour.
He first worked with Metallica in the 1990s, creating a number of on-road movies for them. In 2000 he moved to California to work for then-bassist Jason Newsted as PA and member of side-project band Papa Wheelie. Wiig began working for Ulrich in 2001.
He says: “I performed numerous duties including fan-club writer, photographer, videographer, backline assistant, production and personal assistant.”
Wiig left in 2009 for a finishing salary of $45,000 a year (about £28,000), paid in fortnightly instalments. But the deal also included annual bonuses, which he says weren’t paid in 2006 and 2008, and he only received a partial settlement last year.
Wiig’s lawsuit doesn’t say how much he is looking for in settlement.
But Ulrich’s lawyer says the former employee was actually paid £110,000 a year (£68,000) plus bonuses and a car, and he lived rent-free during his tenure.
Attorney Peter Paterno says: “Lars’ accountant is checking on 2006 but Steve got bonuses in every other year of his employment – deserved or not. In 2008 he received an extra $18,000. It’s not clear what’s motivating this, but it really doesn’t seem to be about his compensation, does it?”
Wiig is now working as a movie director, actor and musician. He played a park ranger in Sean Penn’s movie Into the Wild and last year filmed Faith No More’s reunion shows in San Francisco.
Meanwhile, Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett has revealed that a handful of the band’s most memorable moments were inspired by Gary Moore, who died suddenly at the weekend.
Hammett tells Rolling Stone: “The opening lick of the guitar solo in Master of Puppets is a variation of a lick that Gary played a lot. I remember hearing his blues album and being totally blown away – not only by the playing but the tone. I was so inspired I wrote a couple of riffs based on his sound and his feel. Those riffs ended up in The Unforgiven on the Black Album.”