Feature: How I Got Into Metallica…
Thu, 18 Sep 2008 08:23:58
Let's face it, if you're in a metal band, Metallica definitely influenced you in one way or another. Chances are, if slinging speed riffs is your business, one or more of Metallica's albums helped define a period of your life. We asked some of today's best and brightest metal luminaries how they got into "The Four Horsemen." Their stories are hilarious, enlightening and downright heavy!
We also got some thoughts from Trivium frontman Matt Heafy about Metallica's latest epic, Death Magnetic. Matt exclaimed, "Man, it's fucking cool! We were listening to it in the dressing room last night, and I was like, 'Fuck, this is really awesome!' I went in and bought it right when it came out. I feel like it's a really great combination of everything they've ever done. That's what it sounds like to me, basically. We're always up to tour with them, so if you talk to them, tell them that [Laughs]! We did some festivals with them about a year and a half ago, and it was just amazing!"
Find out what hard rock's elite had to say about Metallica below.
How and where did you first discover Metallica? What was your initial reaction?
Shavo Odadjian, Achozen // System of a Down // urSESSION.com
The first time I heard Metallica, I was in third grade, sorry Lars [Laughs]. I heard Kill ‘Em All. A friend of mine lived in this apartment building in Hollywood where I used to skate around. The older kids—the stoners and heshers—would hang out there. One of those kids had Kill 'Em All on the stereo one day. At the time, I was listening to Quiet Riot and Kiss's Lick It Up. Also Ratt was going on back then. Motley Crue was going on. I heard Kill 'Em All and went, "Shit, why isn't this going on?" [Laughs] It was only going on with bands like Venom and Celtic Frost—shit like that. It wasn't going on the way Metallica made it go on though.
I don't care what people say—"After The Black Album, after St. Anger, after whatever"—it's bullshit! That's fuckin' Metallica. Metallica could shit on a fuckin' plate and release it. I don't give a fuck because Metallica already did what they did to music. Now, they're having fun. Let the motherfuckers have fun. Let them do what the fuck they want to do. A true artist doesn't worry about what his fans are going to think because that's playing for the masses—not playing to the masses. Don't conform because your old school fans think you changed. Who cares? An artist changes. If Metallica did Ride The Lightning seven times around, Metallica would not be Metallica, period. If Metallica did Kill 'Em All, Master of Puppets, or …And Justice For All every year, Metallica would not be Metallica. Instead, they do what they do, and they're real.
Phil Demmel, Machine Head
I was in my 7th period "Guitar Class" in high school when someone brought the Kill 'Em All vinyl in and started to crank it. There was a group of eight of us that instantly came over and gave each other the "confused puppy" look, as though we couldn't believe what we were hearing. Fast tunes, fast solos, growling but understandable vocals—It was perfect. I'm still that 16-year-old kid when I hear them today.
“A true artist doesn't worry about what his fans are going to think because that's playing for the masses—not playing to the masses.”
Dez Fafara, Devildriver // Coal Chamber // The Family Management
The first time I ever heard Metallica, I had just left a long time girlfriend. I was moving in with one of my best friends, who had a roommate that I had never met before. The guy's name was Mark, and the first night I moved my shit into the house, he brought a 12-pack of Coors downstairs and put on a cassette tape. That tape was Ride The Lightning. After that night, all things metal changed for me! I borrowed that tape, and I played it all day, every day on the construction site where I was working. I played that tape until it got jammed in my truck player and I had to forcibly remove it! By then, I was hooked!
Herman Li, DragonForce
I discovered Metallica on The Black Album through TV and commercial radio stations. I think the first song I heard from them was "Enter Sandman." It's a really catchy song with a great tune, and I thought the guitar work was awesome. I actually rented that album off the library first, then I got their entire catalogue. Funny enough, the first song I ever played in front of an audience with my band back in school was "Enter Sandman," as well!
Mikael Akerfeldt, OPETH
I first took notice of them when the Master of Puppets album came out, around 1986 I believe. I had heard some songs off the previous record, but at the time, I thought it was too fast or something for me. The Puppets album, however, had some slower stuff on there that attracted me to them. It showed they had some interest in music overall, rather than just being heavy, I guess. I became a fan pretty fast, and soon enough I was worshipping them. By the time ...And Justice came out, I was already a "'Tallica" superfan. That record got me to re-evaluate my ideas on what heavy metal was, and through them, I started developing my own style.
Kevin Talley, DAATH
My brother Rob turned me on to the band during the Justice days, and I was floored by the drumming. I played along to that record for years and, even to this day, it has a huge influence on my writing. These days, they still put on an amazing show.
Eyal Levi, DAATH
I was twelve years old. I had to go to a friend's house to watch Headbanger's Ball (Rikki Rachtman-era) because I wasn't allowed to watch evil MTV at mine. "Enter Sandman" was getting world premiered, and I couldn't believe how heavy and dark and powerful that song was. The video was scary too. I think I can safely say that is when I officially got into metal. I bought every single Metallica album right after that.
Mike Portnoy, Dream Theater
I remember the first time I heard Metallica. I found them really early on. It was sometime in 1983, shortly after their debut Kill Em All was released. A friend of mine was a college radio DJ, and he was sent a promo version of the album. He thought it sounded like noise, but I listened to it and was immediately blown away by its raw intensity. I traded him my copy of AC/DC's Back In Black for it and never looked back. It was the heaviest thing I had ever heard, and I had been looking for a sound like that for years.
I immediately started covering "Seek & Destroy" in the band I was in at the time, and I even remember that Ride The Lightning was released the very same day I passed my road test and got my driver's license. I made my very first drive a trip to the local record shop to pick up the album that very afternoon. I also remember seeing them live for the first time at L'Amour in Brooklyn when they were opening for W.A.S.P. and knowing that they were inevitably going to blow up the whole scene and change music forever.
Master Of Puppets was released when myself, John Petrucci and John Myung were at the Berklee College Of Music. I totally remember picking up the album the day it came out. The three of us sat around my stereo like some sort of religious ritual. I dropped the needle onto the record (what the hell is that?), and we were floored by what we heard. About 50 minutes later, we peeled our faces off the walls and realized that we had just listened to metal's quintessential masterpiece.
I also remember the three of us being together in Sept '86 when we heard that Cliff Burton had died. We sat in my bedroom with a case of beer listening to 'Orion' and practically were brought to tears.
16 years later in 2002, Dream Theater paid tribute to the mighty Metallica by performing the Master Of Puppets album live in its entirety at three different shows in Barcelona, Chicago and New York City—an idea that Lars Ulrich has since told me directly inspired Metallica's doing the same thing themselves a few years later!
People have always known DT's obvious influences to be bands like Rush, Yes, Pink Floyd, etc....but it was always just as important for us to incorporate the "Balls & Chunk" of the metal bands we grew up with. Those first few Metallica albums were a big part of our early days.
I continue to admire and respect Metallica for not only what they've done in the past, but for what I know they are still capable of doing in the future...and I am as eager and excited as anybody else to hear Death Magnetic.
Metal Up Your Ass!