METAL BLADE Founder Talks About METALLICA's Early Days

Australian Metclub chapter For Whom Metallica Tolls recently conducted an interview with Brian Slagel, founder of Metal Blade Records (the first record company to publish a METALLICA song). A few excerpts from the question-and-answer session follow:

FWMT: You have been a friend of Lars [Ulrich] for a very long time. Just how large was Lars' metal collection?

Slagel: "Well it was not that big at first, but he had stuff that I did not have since he was living in Europe before he moved to L.A. So it was cool to see stuff that I did not have or had not heard."

FWMT: Were you surprised when he managed to scratch up a band and record a track for you first "Metal Massacre", given that before this point his plans for a band had not come to much?

Slagel: "Yeah pretty much. I knew he was jamming with James and some other guys, but it did not seem that serious. When he called to be on the album though I said of course."

FWMT: What was your reaction when he gave you the tape in a format that was not compatible with your recording processes?

Slagel: "Surprise. I had told him what we needed and he just brought a cassette tape. It was pretty funny as none of us really knew what we were doing. The engineer was just telling us there was no way to get this on the album unless we upgraded it to a reel to reel tape. Which we did."

FWMT: What were your thoughts on Dave Mustaine's departure from the band, and the manner in which it occurred?

Slagel: "Well, Dave is incredibly talented. All of us back then liked to party, but Dave would go to great extremes with this. So I was not that surprised to see that happen. It is too bad he has held a grudge all these years against them though."

FWMT: Do you remember where you were when you heard about Cliff [Burton's death]?

Slagel: "Yeah, the manager from TRAUMA sent us a demo to be on 'Metal Massacre'. They played L.A. and I went to see them and was just blown away by Cliff. He was amazing. When Lars mentioned they were looking for a bass player I told him they should check out this guy in TRAUMA. The night Lars saw him he told me he would be in METALLICA."

Read the entire interview at For Whom Metallica Tolls.

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