Slash, Korn, Slayer, Slipknot, Anthrax, Hollywood Undead, Asking Alexandria, Five Finger Death Punch, Michelle Rodriguez and More Talk When They Discovered Metallica
Fri, 15 Apr 2011 11:03:06
Every hard rock fan has a Metallica story.
There was that moment of discovery either via a friend who had already seen the light, the radio, MTV back when they actually played music videos, the Heshers in the last row of math class, or one of the million VH1 specials about the band. There's nothing quite like the first time hearing Metallica either. It's life-changing for anyone who keeps themselves open to the music. No one will ever forget seeing the music video for "One", hearing the intro to "Enter Sandman", or falling under Master of Puppets' spell. Even for people who aren't fans, the first Metallica experience is paramount. However, for those of us who get it (and there are millions upon millions worldwide), it's a landmark moment.
Given the significance of discovering Metallica and with The Big Four taking over Indio next Saturday April 23, ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolorauthor Rick Florino spoke to numerous musicians and celebrities about the first time they heard Metallica and what the band means to them.
Slash, Kerry King of Slayer, Scott Ian of Anthrax, Jonathan Davis of Korn, Corey Taylor of Slipknot & Stone Sour, Sully Erna of Godsmack, Hollywood Undead, Michelle Rodriguez, and many more shared their stories in this exclusive feature.
When did you first discover Metallica and what do they mean to you?
Slash [Velvet Revolver, Guns N' Roses]
Slash: I first discovered Metallica when they came out with their first EP. Metallica has always been one of my favorite heavy metal bands. I think that they are one of the most versatile metal bands that came out in the '80s. They are also one of the most creative. I think that James Hetfield is one of the greatest heavy metal guitarists to ever walk this earth.
Kerry King of Slayer
Kerry King: I imagine it was at The Woodstock in Orange County when Dave Mustaine was in the band. I instantly became a fan. I couldn't believe Mustaine was ripping these incredible leads way back then and not even looking at his fingers. I still fucking looking at my fingers [Laughs]. There were no records then it was just seeing them. I think Metallica might've just been on the Metal Massacre compilation or something.
Scott Ian of Anthrax and The Damned Things
Scott Ian: I was actually at Johnny Z's record store, Rock'n Roll Heaven, in New Jersey. He played me the No Life 'Til Leather demo so that was the first time I had ever heard any Metallica. It was pretty mind-blowing to hear for the first time. One of the coolest feelings about hearing it was just knowing there was another band out there on the West Coast that had the same mindset. Certainly, we didn't sound alike at the time. Just the fact that they were playing their own music and had their own thing going on was how we felt about what we were doing as Anthrax in New York. It's not like we had the Internet back then and you could find out what people were doing all over the world. We didn't know there were other bands doing their own thing. It was hard to find out back in the day unless you were tape trading and things like that. I heard Metallica and thought, "These guys have the same mindset that we do. We're obviously all into the same music." It was a really good feeling to know that there were other people out there like us.
Jonathan Davis of Korn:
Jonathan Davis: I first heard them on either Master of Puppets or Ride the Lightning. I was at my buddy's house, and this guy came over and said, "You've got to hear this shit!" I was 14-years-old or something; I can't even remember how old I was [Laughs]. This dude put Metallica on, and I was like, "Wow, what the hell is that?" I only listened to them at that moment, and I sort of forgot about it afterwards. I thought it was cool, but I genuinely didn't get into them again until they hit with The Black Album. It was all over MTV at the time. I really got into Metallica when I got in Korn though. I love playing "One." It was cool to play it for them at the MTV Icon special. They're one of my favorite bands. I look up to them. They've been doing it for so long. That's truly the band I look up to—them and Ozzy Osbourne. We've also toured with Metallica a bunch; it's fucking awesome!
Fieldy of Korn & StillWell:
Fieldy: I was in high school! I remember I got Kill 'Em All. I heard it, and I didn't understand it. I was like, "What is this? It's fast metal, but I hear punk rock." I was blown away though. The musicians weren't sloppy at all; they were great. I was tripping out because it was the first time I heard something that was totally off the wall. I was even more blown away by Ride the Lightning. From there, I started following them and I became a fan all the way up to today. Death Magnetic is unbelievable! It's mind-blowing. I can't believe it. We'd love to tour with them again. They're really cool guys. It's an honor to play with Metallica.
Corey Taylor of Slipknot and Stone Sour
Corey Taylor: I actually talk about when I discovered Metallica in my book—The Seven Deadly Sins: Settling the Argument Between Born Bad and Damaged Good. That's how big it was [Laughs]. I remember hearing Master of Puppets at a friend's house. That line at the end of "Damage Inc."—"Fuck it all and fucking no regrets"—was the one that every metal head waited for with baited breath. When it came, you'd jump up and scream along to it. It was amazing. Metallica will always be important to me!
Sully Erna of Godsmack
Sully Erna: I first discovered them somewhere around 1982 or 1983. It was the early '80s. I remember that a friend of mine came over with Kill 'Em All and Ride The Lightning. For whatever it was worth, this dude was always way ahead of his time. He knew what new thing was going to hit before it hit. I was still very much into Iron Maiden and Judas Priest at that moment. That was metal, but it wasn't Metallica metal. My buddy put on Ride The Lightning, and the first song I heard was "Fight Fire With Fire." I just said, "What the fuck is this?!" [Laughs] It so fast, the double bass was flying, and the vocals stood out. I didn't get it at first. However, a week later, I was like, "This is the greatest band ever to walk the planet!" I couldn't get enough. That was my first Metallica experience.
J-Dog of Hollywood Undead
J-Dog: Everybody likes Metallica at one time or another [Laughs]. When I first heard Metallica, I was in school. Shit, I must've been ten-years-old. There were all of these heshers in the higher grade than me. They all had Metallica shirts on, and I asked, "What's that?" They sat me down and played cassette tapes of Metallica and made me listen to them [Laughs]. That's when they still had KNAC and Pirate Radio in LA. A couple of heshers sat me down and schooled me on Metallica at school.
Max Cavalera of The Cavalera Conspiracy & Soulfly
Max Cavalera: I cut my hair for Ride the Lightning [Laughs]. It's a true story. My cousin was trying to get Iggor and me to go the right way. We had long hair back then. He was like, "I'll make a deal with you. I'll give you an imported album and you can pick anything you want, if you cut your hair." I had a cassette tape of Ride the Lightning already and I loved it. There was an imported version of Ride the Lightning in there store. I thought, "I can get that one if I cut my hair! The hair will grow back. In one year, I'll have long hair again and I'll have an imported album! Fuck it!" I went out, cut my hair, and got Ride the Lightning as an imported album on vinyl. I loved the smell of the vinyl and looking at the pictures on the back cover. That blue album artwork was so fucking awesome. It's still my favorite Metallica record.
Andy Biersack of Black Veil Brides
Andy Biersack: When I was a very young kid, I had a neighbor named Kenny. He always had Metallica VHS. He'd bring over A Year and a Half in the Life of Metallica and other concert stuff. He brought over a VHS tape of the time right when Jason Newsted joined the band, and I was blown away. Pre-Black Album Metallica is some of the best metal that's ever been made. I still love The Black Album though. Metallica is Metallica; you can't go wrong there. In terms of really solid, intricate, and classical-sounding metal, we're definitely influenced hugely. That especially holds true for our guitar player Jinxx and the way we write bridges using that Bach-like influence. For what it's worth, James Hetfield is a fantastic metal singer. He created that gravelly metal voice that we all love.
Tyler Connolly of Theory of a Deadman
Tyler Connolly: The first song that I heard from Metallica was "One." I saw the music video, and it was the first music video that they ever did. It was like 800 minutes long [Laughs]. I didn't know much about the band. They had long hair and wore black. "Wherever I May Roam" from The Black Album was my favorite song, and I learned all of those songs on guitar. They definitely made a difference in my guitar playing. I was a guitar player first. I never was a singer until I was about 20-years-old so it was all about guitar playing. The good thing about Metallica is they're one of the greatest heavy metal bands of all time, but we can easily say a song like "Enter Sandman" is no different than a Beatles song. It really isn't. It's one of the greatest sing-a-long rock songs of all time from a band that is typically known for writing really dark, heavy eight-minute long tracks. I thought that was cool! I learned a lot from Metallica. They have massive appeal, and they do what they do. That's what we're looking for. We're looking for massive appeal but to still keep that Theory identity in it. Metallica did it. They're a huge influence.
Michelle Rodriguez of Battle: Los Angeles, Machete, and Avatar
Michelle Rodriguez: I think "Midnight Sonata" was the first melancholy song that I really heard. It was like I felt the pain of the world in that song, and it just made me want to cry. I was about eleven or twelve-years-old. Then I started discovering rock. I discovered The Doors. When I heard the organs, they reminded me of Mozart! Then, I discovered The Black Album by Metallica. The guitars on The Black Album are so similar to classical music. I started connecting the dots, and I realized, "Wow, this is the soundtrack to my life!" I can't live without melody…
Jeremy Spencer of Five Finger Death Punch
Jeremy Spencer: As a kid I sometimes may or may not have made the best decisions [Laughs], but I stole the Master Of Puppets cassette from Wal-Mart or somewhere like that. I remember going home, putting it on the family stereo and listening with headphones. I lay down on the floor and listened to the entire thing and I remember it just gave me the most exhausted feeling by the time it was over! It was so awesome that an album could tire you out just by listening to it. I loved every second of it and from then on I collected everything I could on Metallica. They were my favorite band!
Ben Bruce of Asking Alexandria
Ben Bruce: I was in my seventh grade art class. My art teacher was really cool; he used to let us pick a CD to listen to. It was my friend's turn to pick a CD, and he put on Ride The Lightning. As soon as that started, I was like, "Whoa, what the fuck is this?" I'd heard of Metallica, but I hadn't actually listened to them at that point. I was really into Blink-182, Sum 41, and all of that pop punk. I was blown away. The guitar was unlike anything I'd ever heard before. I got a weekly allowance from my parents, and every week that I went out, I bought a different Metallica CD until I had all of them. They're so good!
Myles Kennedy of Alter Bridge Myles Kennedy: I discovered Metallica when they released Ride the Lightning. I remember that I was going through a phase where I was searching for the heaviest and fastest band possible. At the time I was really into the New Wave of British Metal along with bands like Accept, etc. I heard 'For Whom the Bell Tolls' one day and I thought to myself, 'This is it....this is what I've been looking for.' Little did I know that they would eventually become biggest metal band in the world.
Mark Tremonti of Alter Bridge and Creed
Mark Tremonti: I discovered Metallica when I was in the 6th grade. Master of Puppets probably influenced me more than any other record.
Jeffrey Kendrick of DevilDriver and Founder AllAxess.com
Jeffrey Kendrick: I first discovered Metallica in 1991 when The Black Album dropped. Although some would criticize me being a "late arrival" on the Metallica train, it was just the time that I happened to discover them. Metallica has and still does represent the world to me! James Hetfield was my idol as a kid and the reason I started playing the guitar. Without Metallica, I would never be playing guitar in DevilDriver. They are the greatest band EVER!
Johann Urb of 2012 and Strictly Sexual: A Love Story
Johann Urb: Growing up in Finland, it was always dark and cold so heavy music spoke to me as a teenager. I still listen to Metallica—they're possibly my favorite band of all time. They're fucking brilliant. I love Death Magnetic. I always felt like, even in the early days, they spoke about important issues. For me, nature and taking care of this planet are crucial so we don't destroy it. In "Blackened," James Hetfield touches on that lyrically. Even though they're a metal band, they talk about how fucked up the government is and they address real issues. When they played Russia for the first time, it was incredible. They were connected to it because they were writing about the man. They're a metal band with a message and deeper meaning. I love that, and it always moves me and rocks me out! As a kid, I would bang my head to the point of neck injury, and there's no better band to do that to than Metallica. I still listen to them when I want to get fired up, work out or punch somebody—or get sentimental and howl at the moon.
Jake Scherer of New Medicine
Jake Scherer: Somebody put on a burned CD and it had "Enter Sandman". There was a music section at the video store where I used to rent VHS tapes. They had the making-of The Black Album. That was when I first really got into them and listened to the music. The tape showed them writing the album with Bob Rock and you learn about all of the guys. That was my fondest memory. Then I rented every other movie they had about Metallica [Laughs]. I got a bunch of their records. Somebody at school gave me Master of Puppets , and I loved that album! "Enter Sandman" and "Master of Puppets" are the first two songs I tried to learn on guitar.
Leigh Whannell Screenwriter of Saw and Insidious
Leigh Whannell: I discovered Metallica through a friend. It's the classic story. My friend had an older brother who was into cooler music. He started playing it and it scared the hell out of me. I saw the video for "One," which is from Johnny Got His Gun. It's the guy whose arms and legs are blown off. He can't see or hear, and he's trapped. He's tapping out Morse code like, "Kill me." It traumatized the shit out of me. Talk about horror influences! The video for "One" was wicked. That's where it started. I love Metallica!
When did you first discover Metallica? Are you going to "The Big Four"?
Check out our exclusive interview with Kerry King of Slayer about "The Big Four" here!
Check out our exclusive interview with Scott Ian of Anthrax and The Damned Things about "The Big Four"here!
Check out our exclusive interview with Jonathan Davis of Korn here!
Check out our exclusive interview with Asking Alexandria here!
Check out our exclusive interview J-Dog of Hollywood Undead here!
Check out our "Rogue On Rogue" interview between Michelle Rodriguez and James "Munky" Shaffer of Korn here!
Inception, (500) Days of Summer, and Hesher star Joseph Gordon-Levitt shares the first time he heard Metallica in this exclusive here!