Birth School Metallica Death, Volume 1: The Biography

Birth School Metallica Death, Volume 1: The Biography

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by Paul Brannigan, Ian Winwood
     
 

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There has never been a hard rock band like Metallica. The California quartet has sold more than 100 million albums worldwide, won nine Grammy Awards, and had five consecutive albums hit number one on the Billboard charts. But Metallica’s story, epic in scope, is a tale about much more than sales figures and critical acclaim, and their journey from scuzzy

Overview

There has never been a hard rock band like Metallica. The California quartet has sold more than 100 million albums worldwide, won nine Grammy Awards, and had five consecutive albums hit number one on the Billboard charts. But Metallica’s story, epic in scope, is a tale about much more than sales figures and critical acclaim, and their journey from scuzzy Los Angeles garages to the world’s most storied stadiums has been dramatic and painful, their gigantic successes often shot through with tension, tragedy, loss, and controversy.

Birth School Metallica Death is the definitive story of the most significant rock band since Led Zeppelin. Volume 1 covers the band’s formation up to their breakthrough eponymous fifth album, aka “The Black Album.” The intense and sometimes fraught relationship between aloof-yet-simmering singer, chief lyricist, and rhythm guitarist James Hetfield and the outspoken and ambitious drummer Lars Ulrich is the saga’s emotional core. Their earliest years saw the release of three unimpeachable classics—Kill ’Em All, Ride the Lightning, and Master of Puppets—genre-defining masterpieces that took hard rock to a new level, both artistically and commercially. During these tumultuous times, the band persevered through line-up changes when guitarist Dave Mustaine was replaced by Kirk Hammet, and their bass player, the beloved Cliff Burton, was tragically killed in a bus crash while on tour in Europe.

But it was the breakthrough of …And Justice for All that rent the fabric of the mainstream, hitting the top of the charts without benefit of radio airplay or the then-crucial presence on MTV. And finally in 1991, with the release of their fifth studio album, nicknamed “The Black Album,” Metallica hit the next level—five hit singles including their best-known songs “Enter Sandman” and “Nothing Else Matters”—and their first album atop the Billboard charts.

In Birth School Metallica Death, veteran music journalists and Metallica confidants Paul Brannigan and Ian Winwood detail this meteoric rise to international fame in an epic saga of family, community, self-belief, the pursuit of dreams, and music that rocks. Told through first-hand interviews with the band and those closest to them, the story of Metallica’s rise to the mainstream has never been so vividly documented.

Editorial Reviews

Metallica began in 1981 with a small newspaper ad invite and has been taking off ever. With more than 100 million albums already sold, this heavy metal combine has obviously earned a full throttle biography. Rock biographer Paul Brannigan (This is a Call) and seasoned music journalist Ian Winwood here combine with the first half of a definitive, authorized history of this still evolving band. Extensive interviews with the band, their family members and other close associates lend a strong, intimate personal tone to this story of Metallica's early and middle years.

Publishers Weekly
11/04/2013
Writers Brannigan (This is a Call: The Life and Times of Dave Grohl) and Winwood cover the genesis of one of the world's most popular metal bands from its infancy to the group's seminal "Black Album" and subsequent stardom in the first book of a two-volume biography. Brannigan and Winwood dig deep into the band members' formative years, noting key musical influences, prior bands, and influential backers such as Johnny Zazula and Brian Slagel. Even though diehard fans may be familiar with the story arc, notably the tragic death of bassist Cliff Burton, the authors present fresh insights into the hazing that surrounded Jason Newsted, Burton's replacement, as well as the band members' insecurities, drug usage, and musical shortcomings. As former editor of Kerrang!, Britain's popular heavy metal magazine, Brannigan had the opportunity to interview a number of those in Metallica's orbit over the years, this special access and familiarity adds breadth to the book. This objective study is a refreshing approach to the traditional music biography. Even the most knowledgeable fans will eagerly await the second volume. (Nov.)
From the Publisher

Classic Rock (UK), October 2013
“Introduces us to the boys who went on to be metal kings…[Brannigan and Winwood] have worked closely with the band over the years, and it shows, both in the access they’ve gained, the anecdotes they witnessed first-hand and the warmth they afford their subjects. No stone is left unturned as the band’s insane life is meticulously researched.”

Q Magazine, October 2013
“Roach shows how thoroughly she has researched her subject…while also giving modern readers something to think about in our own days of social and political witch hunts. Six Women of Salem…will provide a greater sense of the real-world lives of those who engaged in and were victimized by those events.”

Metal Hammer
“The Metallica story has been told many times before, but seldom as entertainingly or as smartly as this…Ian Winwood and Paul Brannigan’s vivid prose makes this well-worn saga seem somehow fresh and fascinating again.”

Publishers Weekly, 11/1/13
“Brannigan and Winwood dig deep into the band members’' formative years…As former editor of Kerrang!, Britain's popular heavy metal magazine, Brannigan had the opportunity to interview a number of those in Metallica's orbit over the years, this special access and familiarity adds breadth to the book. This objective study is a refreshing approach to the traditional music biography. Even the most knowledgeable fans will eagerly await the second volume.”

Kirkus Reviews, 12/1/13
“[An] ambitious undertaking…The authors’ enthusiasm for their subject is infectious. They’re well-placed to show how Metallica learned from their British New Wave of heavy-metal forebears and, in true Oedipal fashion, killed the fathers to create something new. For metal heads and most fans of hard rock.”

Mojo, December 2013
“It’s hard to imagine the tale of San Francisco metal behemoths Metallica being told more authoritatively than it is here…Gripping reading.”

The Chop Shop
 “When it comes to a good biography I'm only looking for a couple of things; I'd like to learn and be entertained. The new book Birth, School, Metallica, Death delivers on both counts…If you like Bios, this will give you a great trip into the formation and rise of one of America's most successful rock bands of all time.”

Goldmine, December 2013
“This book makes Metallica’s story (and the development of the metal scene in the U.S.) interesting and accessible.”

Examiner.com, 11/15/13
“Vivid detail. The writers…meticulously researched the band , the associates , the players and names to make a complete picture…I give this book five out of five stars…If you are or were a Metallica fan or just want a great biography to read I highly recommend Birth School Metallica Death.”

The RockFather.com, 11/5/13
“It would make a fantastic offering for the metal fan on your holiday shopping list.”

Heavy Metal I.C.U., 11/10/13
“Amazing…One helluva great read!”

Shu-Izmz.com,  11/5/13
“[An] in-depth and detailed biographical history of the most successful album-selling heavy metal band of the past 30 plus years…Reads just as one would think, and hope, as a chronological history of the band’s rise to fame…Fans of music, biographies, and metal will find Birth School Metallica Death to be one of the great books to chronicle Metallica’s rise to fame and glory.”

Kirkus Reviews
2013-11-07
First half of a projected two-part biography of the metal masters of the universe. Former Kerrang! editor Brannigan (This Is a Call: The Life and Times of Dave Grohl, 2010) and U.K. rock journalist Winwood dreamed up this ambitious undertaking over pints in a London pub. Both Brits had covered Metallica for years, and clearly, both held the megaband in the highest regard. This volume covers the hardworking, hard-drinking, hard-driving band's first decade, from its founding in Los Angeles by drummer Lars Ulrich and rhythm guitarist/vocalist James Hetfield in 1981 to the preview of its game-changing fifth album at Madison Square Garden in 1991. (Among the 10,000 fans lined up to hear the album were "members of that summer's other most celebrated band: Nirvana.") True to its title, this biography also follows each significant member--including founding lead guitarist Dave Mustaine and the man who replaced him, Kirk Hammett--from birth through school, life in Metallica and, in the case of bassist Cliff Burton, shockingly premature death in a tour bus accident in 1986. Though a devastating personal and professional loss for his colleagues, Burton's death caused scarcely a skipped beat in Metallica's unstoppable momentum toward world domination: Three weeks later, the bassist was replaced by speed-metal hero Jason Newsted. In one of their most interesting revelations, Brannigan and Winwood entertain (without fully dispelling) rumors that Burton and Hetfield had actually been conspiring to replace Ulrich, whose talents as drummer were as controversial as his talents at self-promotion were not. Though the writing is uneven, sometimes bogging the narrative's momentum down in unnecessary verbosity, the authors' enthusiasm for their subject is infectious. They're well-placed to show how Metallica learned from their British New Wave of heavy-metal forebears and, in true Oedipal fashion, killed the fathers to create something new. For metal heads and most fans of hard rock.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780306821875
Publisher:
Da Capo Press
Publication date:
11/05/2013
Sold by:
Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
392
Sales rank:
403,238
File size:
3 MB

Meet the Author

Paul Brannigan and Ian Winwood are two of the UK's foremost music writers. A contributor to Rolling Stone, Classic Rock, Q, and Metal Hammer magazines, Brannigan is the author of the acclaimed This Is a Call: The Life and Times of Dave Grohl, while Winwood has written for Rolling Stone, the Guardian, Mojo, Kerrang!, NME, and the BBC. Both reside in London.

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