IAN CHRISTE – …And Platinum for One (capítulo de um livro sobre a história do heavy metal – sugestão alternativa de título: THE BAND THAT KILLED GLAM!)

Heavy metal was experiencing a golden age, and Metallica was poised to join the multiplatinum ranks of Ratt and Mötley Crüe when the death of Cliff Burton stopped them in their tracks. Still recovering from the loss of their bassist, Metallica returned to its unused rehearsal space in late October 1986, soon after the bus accident in Sweden. Hundreds of applicants plugged in to Cliff Burton’s abandoned bass gear and auditioned in vain for a band loath to replace a dear friend. Among the parade was Kirk Hammett’s pal from algebra class, Les Claypool, who was rejected on the grounds that he played too well. Others were shown the door based on looks alone, seconds after entering the room.

On the recommendation of Brian Slagel, Lars Ulrich eventually hired Jason Newsted—the letter writer, songwriter, and source of energy behind Phoenix, Arizona-based Flotsam & Jetsam, a graduate of Metal Massacre VII. In him Metallica found not a fully equivalent replacement for Cliff Burton but a reverent substitute. Among his primary qualifications: Metallica was his favorite band. Something of a late-comer to Diamond Head and the other NWOBHM groups, Newsted grew up listening to Kiss and Motown records, and he professed an affinity for jazz fusion. Yet the disciplined zeal he developed in Flotsam prepared him perfectly to jump aboard the Metallica juggernaut.

Metallica debuted the new member at a surprise appearance opening for Metal Church on November 8, 1986, at the Country Club in Reseda, California. Those in attendance could be excused for thinking that the band had grabbed a fan from the audience, strapped a bass on him, and ordered him to thrash—after turning his volume down so low he could do little harm. That was not far from the truth.”

Whenever one of them missed Cliff Burton, something bad happened to Newsted. They took his drinks and clothing, they told foreign hosts he was gay, and they assaulted his hotel room in the wee hours of the morning. Newsted responded with his own weird behavior: packing away sandwiches from the backstage buffet each night in case he was asked to leave unexpectedly the next morning.”

Metallica canceled a scheduled appearance on Saturday Night Live in March 1987 because James Hetfield again broke his arm skateboarding, further forestalling arrival on the main stage of American life.”

Heavy metal was at its peak, and it was sweet, brother.” David Wayne, Metal Church

Soon The $5.98 E.P., Garage Days Re-Revisited presented Jason the new kid and several other changes to the masses. Released on August 21, 1987, the album was smartly titled after its retail price. This prevented record stores from selling the EP as a full-price new Metallica album, for which there was now substantial demand. All tracks on the record were cover versions of Metallica’s favorite songs, continuing the practice begun when Am I Evil? and Blitzkrieg appeared on the import Creeping Death.

The $5.98 E.P. surprised the public with music by cult acts Budgie, Killing Joke, Diamond Head, the Misfits, and Holocaust— associations that clearly set Metallica apart from hair metal superstars Mötley Crüe, who had just recorded Elvis Presley’s Jailhouse Rock. Diamond Head and Holocaust were classic NWOBHM bands, but obscurities in America: Budgie was an early-1970s English pub band with a heavy shot of Black Sabbath in its beer. Killing Joke helped define the evocative and macabre post-punk movement in Britain. By clear design none of these groups had anything to do with prevailing metal trends—the eclectic selections on Garage Days simply explained Metallica’s heritage to fans and peeked into the band’s current frame of mind.”

As for the reject pile, Metallica had decided against material by other hardcore bands such as Discharge, as well as more songs by Diamond Head and the NWOBHM doom group Witchfinder General though similiar selections trickled out continually on limited-release B-sides and imports. Cliff Burton had often half-sarcastically mentioned a desire to play Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Free Bird, a generic rock anthem that would certainly have called for a raging Metallica overhaul. The band declined, though, to perform that familiar encore for their departed bassist.”

Garage Days Re-Revisited immediately cracked the Billboard Hot 30, just as Master of Puppets was ending its 72-week run on the album charts. (…) January 1988 brought the Elektra reissue of Kill ‘Em All. Now widely promoted, the band’s debut LP took its own place in Billboard 5 years after it was first released as a hastily financed independent dark horse.

In December 1987 Metallica released Cliff ‘Em All, a video collection of camcorder bootlegs and television appearances highlighted by several eye-opening free-form bass solos by Burton. In do-it-yourself fashion the footage was gathered mostly on the cheap from underground videotape traders. Nonetheless, the tape went platinum, with Burton’s share of the royalties going to his parents, Jan and Ray Burton. As a measure of its wide appeal, the band was surprised to receive a number of letters from kids upset to see Burton smoking weed on Cliff ‘Em All. The message was clear: the quartet was no longer playing only to its peers— now there was a younger generation expecting to look up to Metallica as role models.”

Revealing commercial desires, the band first tried recording with Guns N’ Roses producer Mike Clink—but reverted to Rasmussen after bristling under the suggestions of a <golden-eared> studio professional with no experience in the trenches of real metal. Guided well by its management team at Q Prime, Metallica seemed to be succeeding beyond conventional advice. If the band’s next effort went platinum with no radio, no MTV, and no gimmicks, Metallica would not be just a gritty alternative to glam metalthey would be its replacement.”

If Metallica’s 55-minute sets had put Ozzy Osbourne through his paces every night of the 6-month Ultimate Sin journey in 1986, it was par for the course the crowd only loved Ozzy more for offering the extra value of a great opener.

The story was different in 1988 – in a blockbuster 26-date summer American stadium tour with Van Halen, Scorpions, Dokken and Kingdom Come, dubbed, masterfully Monsters of Rock –, as Metallica absolutely stole the show. What was supposed to be a powerhouse bill combining the best of heavy metal transformed into a passing of the baton from heavy-weights and light-weights alike to Metallica, the band in a class of its own.”

In fact, more fans went home from Monsters of Rock with Metallica t-shirts than those of any other band, and rumors estimated Metallica sales above those of all four other acts combined. After the Ozzy tour Master of Puppets became Metallica’s first gold record—during the Monsters tour it was bumped up to platinum. Said Van Halen singer Sammy Hagar to Hit Parader: <They’ll be the new kings of rock, just you wait and see.>”

The new album suffered from the loss of a major musical dimension, Cliff Burton, who would likely have explored the thrash metal of Master of Puppets more deeply rather than simply extending its playing time.”

Sonic shortcomings and adamant heft notwithstanding, the unrelenting Justice immediately became the first Metallica record to enter the Billboard Top 10.”

I can’t really fathom it. It’s a weird thing to look at Billboard and see it amongst Whitney Houston and INXS.” Newsted

Propelled quickly past long-looming milestones, Justice was simultaneously certified gold and platinum on Halloween 1988, only 9 weeks after its release. The ambitious double album went on to sell 7 million copies and counting, one of the most ardent and unsympathetic musical successes ever recorded.”

Equals to Celtic Frost in staunch individuality, their Noise Records labelmates Voivod made the transition sublimely from subterranean noise-mongers to post-thrash metal sophisticates. First appearing alongside Hellhammer on Metal Massacre V, the band went from noisy Motörhead worship on their 1984 debut, War and Pain, to a clean yet heavy, polyrhythmic science-fiction slam four years later.” “The fourth album, 1988’s Dimension Hatross, represented the progressive pinnacle of their evolution, as booming drums battered mind-expanding layers of extended guitar chords within a heavy mechanical system. Their meticulous music emulated the cacophony of a landscape of competing factories, yet its human spirit was overwhelming.”

Even the glam scene was showing signs of sophistication, sprouting bands like Tesla and Extreme to counterbalance its chain saw-wielding novelty acts like Jackyl.”

In 1985, a less welcoming time for complex metal, arguments over commercial direction had split apart Mercyful Fate, one of the creative treasures of the early 1980s. Only a few years later guitarist Hank Shermann’s mainstream direction had already proved self-defeatingwhile vocalist King Diamond charted in Billboard by continuing the gothic horror of Mercyful Fate.” ?! Não é uma análise muito superficial da “porra” toda?!

Having savored its resistance long enough, Metallica finally filmed its first video for MTV during the first week of December 1988late in the game, considering that the album had already gone platinum.”

Inevitable reactionary responses followed in metal circles, the first notes of a backlash. <People overestimate Metallica because they’re Metallica,>[?] said S.O.D. singer Billy Milano. <The whole thing is, Sabbath had that sound 14 years ago. 12 years ago they were rocking out heavier than anything today. You can’t even get heavier than Sabbath. Sabbath was the rudimentary of everything.>”

Metallica was now challenged with the logistical problems of entertaining hundreds of thousands of new fans as a headlining stadium act. <We don’t need 50-feet-tall dragons to sell our tickets>, Lars Ulrich insisted to Kerrang!, but soon James Hetfield adopted Glenn Danzig’s black jeans, wrist gauntlets, and sleeveless black shirts as the band streamlined its anti-image to meet arena-size expectations. Though many show-business traditions went against the band’s ethic, Metallica soon developed a large-scale stage set. Befitting the group’s op-ed page-inspired lyrics, the stage included a towering faux marble statue representing Justice, which crumbled in ruins at the end of each night, leaving audiences to contemplate the decaying state of America’s judicial institutions.”

Debuting in 1988 with Straight Outta Compton, the rap group NWA could be considered the Slayer to Public Enemy’s Metallica, advocating aggression instead of circumspection. Like Slayer, their albums required PMRCapproved parental-advisory labels, though NWA willingly recorded clean versions for wider sales.”

the heavy metal and hip-hop scenes had long been eyeballing each other with curiosity and admiration.” “As samplers became prevalent, rapper Ice-T based the title track to his 1987 debut, Rhyme Pays, on Black Sabbath’s War Pigs and later created Midnight on the ominous foundation of Black Sabbath itself. The influential Jungle Brothers based a track from their second LP on Bill Ward’s crisp drum break from Behind the Wall of Sleep on Black Sabbath.”

Perhaps the worst aspect of rap music was that in the 1990s its enormous success began to lure talented African-American musicians away from heavy metal. Though stereotyped as <white music>, heavy metal itself was a voice from outside the dominant culture, and in its world race distinctions would always be secondary to talent. The original drummer of Judas Priest, Chris Campbell, was a black Englishman. Thin Lizzy’s revered leader, Phil Lynott, was as black as he was Irish. Metallica’s first lead guitarist, Lloyd Grant, the only band member who could play the guitar solo for Hit the Lights on Metal Massacre, was Jamaican. Needless to say, the race of performers was only one aspect of the equation—never especially relevant to the metal spirit.”

Underground legend Katon W. DePena of Hiraxa oneman letter-writing hurricanekept his unusual soaring vocal attack as Hirax developed from power metal to metalcore style [?]. When asked about his unique voice, he cited the 1950s soul singer Sam Cooke as a primary inspiration.”

Rappers were initially toastmasters, who entertained crowds at street parties in the late 1970s while DJs spun records together to form new songs. By the late 1980s the approaches of the MCs and the DJs had become much more sophisticated, turning to digital-sampling technology and opening up a new world for recording. Public Enemy sampled Slayer, and The Geto Boys soon introduced murderous lyrics lifted from the same splatter movies as death metal.”

But the brainiest union of thrash metal and rap influences was San Francisco’s Faith No More, featuring a black front man, a gay keyboard player, and a gun-toting guitarist who had grown up with Cliff Burton. Faith No More’s sarcastic 1987 college radio hit, We Care a Lot, was an oddity that dared bridge the gap between S.O.D. and lighter funk music. The strange synthesizer-based band benefited tremendously from the patronage of local allies Metallica, who trumpeted the band’s unorthodox appeal at every opportunity. One critic joked that James Hetfield sporting a band’s shirt on stage—or, in Faith No More’s case, on the back cover of The $5.98 E.P.—was worth 100,000 record sales.”

Leaving progressive thrashers Blind Illusion, bassist Les Claypool recruited Possessed guitarist Larry Lalonde for the party band Primus, a vehicle for Claypool’s vast repertoire of quirky cartoon voices and banjo-style bass playing. Though he had been deemed too proficient to join Metallica, Claypool now found an eager audience as he quick-fired popcorn bass riffs in a Slayer-like flurry.”

Kerrang! in the early days was important, because it focused only on heavy metal music. They embraced Dio rapidly, and we were on the cover quite a few times. Then they decided we’d had enough success. Eventually Kerrang! became Kerrap! to a lot of people. I know the feelings Iron Maiden have about them. I don’t think they’ll play in England at all, just because of the British press. I think the good writers went away, and the guys who had been making the tea became the writers. So Maiden stopped presenting big stages, we stopped doing it, Priest stopped doing it—just because I think we felt really slighted that we were trying to give so much more and the press just kept castigating us so much.”Ronnie James Dio

A lot of people were very successful during the 1980s, like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden and Motörhead, and a lot of them, sadly, have fallen by the wayside, because for whatever reason they weren’t really willing to modernize their music.” Dave Mustaine

At the close of the 1980s the towers of traditional heavy metal were crumbling. Returning to Europe, Metallica outsold Iron Maiden in Belgium threefold. <The day there ain’t no Iron Maiden to spearhead British music is the day heavy metal takes a swift downward pitch in this green and pleasant land of ours>, wrote Howard Johnson in Kerrang! in 1989. Yet as Margaret Thatcher was deposed in 1990, so waned Iron Maiden’s breed of dissent. Longtime singer Bruce Dickinson left the band in 1992 to spend time with his family. In semi-retirement he recorded an election-year novelty single with Rowan Atkinson, aka Mr. Bean [??!], and authored two comic novels, The Adventures of Lord Iffy Boatrace and The Missionary Position: The Further Adventures of Lord Iffy—detailing the exploits of a cross-dressing English nobleman.”

At the 1989 Grammy Awards, where the band performed live to fanatic applause, Metallica was nominated in the brand-new Best Metal Performance category alongside Jane’s Addiction, Iggy Pop, AC/DC and Jethro Tull. The new category was a nod to heavy metal’s huge popularity, yet after a decade of platinum albums by metal acts, the music business still fostered metal’s outsider status by flubbing even the most basic attempts at recognition. Groans were audible in the theater and disbelief echoed across the country, as presenter Lita Ford opened the envelope to reveal that the winners were Jethro Tull—aging deliverers of fanciful flutes and concept records. Metallica’s sales figures got it in the door, but the music industry’s concept of heavy metal still dated to a time before even Black Sabbath existed.”

Duff McKagen of Guns N’ Roses acknowledged the greater significance of One even as he took home the Best Video prize for Sweet Child O’ Mine.

Welcomed even where Judas Priest and Iron Maiden were not, Metallica took metal to a new level of respectability. Heavy metal could no longer be purely an outsider’s paradise, a game of secret record stores and tape trader’s treasure stashes. Heavy metal held the popular majority, and Metallica had become ambassador to the world outside the heavy metal parking lot. Justice had already sold more than 2 million copies in two years, and nearly every fan of heavy metal was now a Metallica loyalist.”

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