METALLICA have posted the following statement on their web site, www.metallica.com:
"The rumors have been flying, web sites and message boards have been burning up and in the meantime, we found ourselves trying to cope with a most un-METALLICA-like situation: the prospect of canceling a tour.
"We're really sorry we've kept you hanging over the last few days. Here's the real deal — we've been going non-stop for the last 18 months with recording 'St. Anger', press, touring, and all the stuff that goes with that, and honestly, we're fried. To top it off, Lars has a rotator cuff injury that dates back to the 'Black' album touring days and it's flared up again in the last couple of weeks. So unfortunately we will have to miss out on touring in South America. Big-time apologies go out to our friends in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and all of you who were planning to travel there.
"We know we've been unusually quiet, but before we announced anything, we wanted to make sure that we would 100% be able to keep our commitment to our Japanese friends. We are really psyched that with the extra rest and treatment that Lars and everyone else will get over the next few weeks, we will now be able to head over to Japan as scheduled.
"Thanks for all your concerns and well wishes while we sorted this all out. We'll be back on the road soon."
The following is the official press release announcing the cancellation of METALLICA's South American tour:
METALLICA regrettably announced today that they are canceling their South American tour, which was set to begin on October 25th. All shows have been cancelled, and no dates have been rescheduled at this time.
The band cited physical injury and mental exhaustion as the reason for the cancellations. Stated METALLICA's James Hetfield, "Between reconnecting, recording, and touring 'St. Anger', we've been going non-stop for the last eighteen months, and, simply put, we are fried…both in body and in mind."
In particular, drummer Lars Ulrich is being treated for a recurring rotator cuff injury, dating back to their 1991-93 "Black Album" tour, and has been advised to continue to rest his shoulder in order to avoid any further aggravation to the injury.
Said Lars Ulrich of the cancellation, "Nothing, and I mean NOTHING disappoints us more than not being able to follow through on our commitments. It's been too long since we last toured South America, and I hope that our friends there will understand that for METALLICA to cancel these shows, there has to be a pretty heavy reason. In order for us to play 'the METALLICA way', we have to be at our absolute best. If not, we are not giving our fans what they expect from us… and what we demand from ourselves."
Bassist Robert Trujillo added, "We sincerely apologize to the fans, the promoters, and everyone involved in bringing METALLICA down to South America, and truly hope to play for you all in the near future."
Guitarist Kirk Hammett summed up the band's feelings this way: "This is the first time in our twenty-two year history that METALLICA have cancelled a tour, and we are beyond disappointed. Our decision was not an easy one, but it became obvious to all four of us that if we don't take care of ourselves now, we'll be no good to anyone in the future."
METALLICA will now begin their "Madly In Anger With You World Tour" in Tokyo, Japan on November 6.