Birth School Metallica Death: The Biography, Volume 1

Birth School Metallica Death: The Biography, Volume 1

by Paul Brannigan
     
 

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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…  See more details below

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.

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Editorial Reviews

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.”

Los Angeles Magazine, 11/26/13

“Sheds light on the hard rock shredders—and on the 1980s SoCal suburbia from which they emerged…A remarkable story of self-preservation and savvy brand expansion mixed with raw talent and unrelenting ambition.”

LegendaryRockInterviews.com, 1/2/2014

“These two are absolutely the right guys and this is absolutely the right book. Everyone involved in the band’s early years…are involved and lend their voice to the story. Lots of books and book reviews lay claim to a ‘you are there’ or ‘fly on the wall’ style of storytelling but again, most just seem to disappoint me. Birth, School, Metallica, Death literally evolves and flows in such a way that you don’t need photo spreads (of course there is a fine one contained here) because the words themselves string together a Ken Burns quality documentary in your mind…These guys are the trusted source for documenting it all. Five star book.”

Gibson.com, 12/20/2013

“Rock biographies are everywhere, but the best ones have great access to the artists. Birth School Metallica Death is one of those books and it’s a rollercoaster read. Like a classic Metallica song, Birth School Metallica Death is long and epic.”

Neufutur.com, 12/19/2013

“At almost 400 pages, and just the first part of a two volume set, Birth School Metallica Death, might just be the only book you need on the band. While many of the stories in the first volume are lore at this point, the access these two longtime metal music writers had to longtime acquaintances of the band and former producers gives the book the weight that many previous bios on the San Francisco band just didn’t have.”

MediaMikes.com, 1/8/14

“An in-depth look at arguably one of the greatest heavy metal bands of all time…The authors take you places normally off limits to the public…Fans of Metallica and or heavy metal music in general will surely enjoy Birth School Metallica Death…Not only does it contain some really cool interviews and accounts but it’s a fairly straight forward and easy read.”

Curled Up with a Good Book, 1/24/14

“The authors may be a bit biased, but that doesn’t mean they’re wrong. Metallica has enjoyed astonishing success and continue to lead the rest of the heavy metal pack. This book delves into why the band has become so important and how they’ve managed to stick together through a huge world of hurt.”

San Francisco Book Review, 2/3/14

“What this book does deliver is a wealth of history on the band members, the world of rock, and their rise to the top. It provides a behind-the-scenes picture for those unfamiliar with the music world of the struggles most musicians come up against and often continue to battle.”

John Shelton Ivany Top 21, Issue #438

“For those that love Metallica read it. You will learn how they came about and survived.”

SLUG Magazine, April 2014
“Vol. 1 is the band’s early days (i.e. the ‘easy to like’ period from inception to ’92), and while there’re a few decent ‘Tallica tomes on the market (notably Mick Wall’s Enter Night), this one gets my vote for being heavier on the anecdotal nuggets and lighter on the bloated rock-philosophizing…There’s nothing to complain about and more than enough for heads to dig into. Seek it out.”

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.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781482941722
Publisher:
Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Publication date:
11/05/2013
Edition description:
Unabridged

Meet the Author


Paul Brannigan is the author of This is a Call: The Life and Times of Dave Grohl, the acclaimed biography of ex-Nirvana drummer and Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl. A former editor of Kerrang!—the world’s biggest weekly music magazine—Brannigan currently contributes to Mojo and Q magazines. He lives in London.

Ian Winwood is Britain's foremost rock and metal journalist. His writing has appeared in Rolling Stone, The Guardian, Mojo, Kerrang!, Classic Rock, Revolver, NME, Q, The Mirror, and on the BBC. He lives in London.

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