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Enter Night: A Biography of Metallica

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Overview

Sprung from the roots of 70s hard rock, Metallica defined the look and sound of 1980s heavy metal, just as Led Zeppelin had for hard rock and the Sex Pistols for punk before them. Inventors of thrash metal—Slayer, Anthrax and Megadeth followed—it was always Metallica who led the way, who pushed to another level, who became the last of the superstar rockers.

 Though plagued by adversities, including the death of their bassist in a bus crash,  infighting and substance abuse, they survived to became the ...

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Enter Night: A Biography of Metallica

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Overview

Sprung from the roots of 70s hard rock, Metallica defined the look and sound of 1980s heavy metal, just as Led Zeppelin had for hard rock and the Sex Pistols for punk before them. Inventors of thrash metal—Slayer, Anthrax and Megadeth followed—it was always Metallica who led the way, who pushed to another level, who became the last of the superstar rockers.

 Though plagued by adversities, including the death of their bassist in a bus crash,  infighting and substance abuse, they survived to became the biggest-selling band in the world. With 100 million records sold worldwide, their music has extended its reach beyond rock and metal, and into the pop mainstream, as they went from speed metal to MTV with their hit single “Enter Sandman”. Until now there hasn’t been a critical, authoritative, in-depth portrait of the band. Mick Wall’s thoroughly researched, insightful work is enriched by his interviews with band members, record company execs, roadies, and fellow musicians. He tells the story of how a tennis-playing, music-loving Danish immigrant named Lars Ulrich created a band with singer James Hetfield and made his dreams a reality. Enter Night delves into the various incarnations of the band, and the personalities of all key members, past and present—especially Ulrich and Hetfield—to produce the definitive word on the biggest metal band on the planet

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[Y]ou want this. You want Mick Wall's Enter Night. The Metallisaga is fascinating, almost an epic, and Wall is well up to the task of telling it."—Boston Phoenix 

"They may be the greatest band of all time, but Metallica have been plagued by a load of artistic misfires and band-member squabbles.  In this extensive biography by British rock journalist Mick Wall, no lowlight goes unnoticed...His narrative is straightforward and fast-paced - it's fun to see the band transform almost overnight from scruffy, Mötorhead-loving teenagers to hard-partying gods of thunder." —Rolling Stone (3 and ½ stars)

"Wall has a long history with Metallica...his deep archive of interviews give a sense of the story unfolding in real time."—New York Times Book Review

 

"Enter Night, Mick Wall's biography of Metallica confirms this grizzled veteran to be [an] engaged and waspishly authoritative chronicler of metal's most hirsute behemoths." —Independent on Sunday (UK)

"[A] flaming juggernaut of a heavy-metal biog... the author writes a deceptively casual-looking, sincere but half-amused prose." —Guardian (UK)

'It takes a writer of Mick Walls' pedigree and calibre... to present the whole wild, wonderful and emotionally draining tale all over again and make it as consistently fascinating and momentous as Enter Night...this is the definitive account of heavy metal's biggest band of all." —Classic Rock

 

"Millions of words have been written on Metallica, but few journalists have been present at so many of the band's milestones... [Wall's] eye for detail through the early years makes the book truly enlightening in the way it captures the character of the major players." —Rock Sound 

 

"A cinderblock of a bio, a worthy addition to the library of any self-respecting member of the Metal Militia...The writer clearly did his homework."—The Cleveland Sound

Library Journal
To many fans, the band Metallica died on September 27, 1986, when bassist and iconoclast Cliff Burton was killed in a tour bus accident. Wisely, Wall (When Giants Walked the Earth: A Biography of Led Zeppelin) starts his biography at the band's darkest moment and illustrates how long and at what costs it took them to become the biggest metal band of all time. Free from the fanboy perspective that dulls previous Metallica books, this one paints a full-color portrait of the boys in black via insider and outsider interviews. Focusing on the mostly unexamined early years (another wise choice), Wall defies the 21st-century Metallica mythology to remind readers what the band was—a group of pimply, smelly misfits who couldn't play their instruments. He stares down rumors, and his portraits of peer jealousy show us the monsters these metal messiahs really were. VERDICT While Wall bravely exposes the band's scars, he doesn't join the chorus of latter-day Metallica critics but reveals a vanguard act pushing boundaries few artists can. For the fans of the band, or simply of music, this balanced book is a dream.—Robert Morast, Fargo, ND
Kirkus Reviews

Semi-sympathetic biography of a difficult band to like.

British music journalist Wall (When Giants Walked the Earth: A Biography of Led Zeppelin, 2009, etc.), who has also penned bios of Ozzy Osbourne, Bono and other major rock acts, has followed Metallica since they first broke across the Atlantic with their debut LP in 1983. For the most part, he tells a straightforward history most fans will know. Beginning with the tragedy that robbed them of their heart and soul just as they were poised to become one of the biggest bands in the world—the death of bassist Cliff Burton in a bizarre bus accident in Sweden in 1986—Wall returns to the Metallica's birth in the hyperactive mind of drummer Lars Ulrich, the metal-obsessed scion of a Danish tennis dynasty. In Los Angeles, Ullrich met his polar opposite, the surly rhythm guitarist James Hetfield, product of a broken home of outsider Christian Scientists. This odd couple formed the backbone of Metallica and pioneered—along with Burton, a loose cannon of a guitarist named Dave Mustaine, who founded Megadeth, and his replacement Kirk Hammett—what became known as thrash metal, an amalgam of British heavy metal and West Coast punk rock. In the early days, the band was beloved for its anti-style style—no teased hair, spandex or mascara—and unusually honest subject matter for metal songs—death and violence rather than elves and devils. After the blockbuster success of their eponymous LP, which fans dubbed The Black Album, Wall argues (non-controversially) that the band lost their way. As square institutions like MTV, the Grammy Awards and even the U.S. Congress embraced them, Metallica practically threw it all away on an ill-conceived attack on their fan base over "theft" of their music on Napster's revolutionary file-sharing platform. Nearly all of the material in the book will be familiar to most Metallica fans and readers who have seen the 2004 filmSome Kind of Monster.

Wall's tales of encounters with the band over the years all seem to make the point that he has never been a true Metallica fan. That would explain this lackluster treatment.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781250007315
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 8/21/2012
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 175,016
  • Product dimensions: 5.64 (w) x 8.06 (h) x 1.32 (d)

Meet the Author

MICK WALL is one of England’s best known music journalists: his work has appeared in Classic Rock, Mojo, the London Times and a variety of other publications, and his books include eleven rock ‘n’ roll biographies.  He has also served as a trusted on-camera source for a number of BBC-TV music documentaries. He lives in England.

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Read an Excerpt

Excerpt from ENTER NIGHT

They say opposites attract. That was not the case when Lars Ulrich met James Hetfield in 1981. The only thing James appeared to have in common with Lars was their age. Where Lars was small and doll-like, pretty-boy Euro-trash who ate with his mouth open and would go days without showering, James was tall and rangy, a full-blooded young American of Irish-German descent who brushed his teeth twice a day and always wore clean underwear. Where Lars never shut up, James never used two words where none would do. Where Lars came from a background of money and travel, of music and art, of multilingual, open-door hippy liberalism, James came from a plain-folks working class family with strict fundamentalist religious beliefs, latterly an absentee father and, most recently and painfully, a deceased mother. Where Lars was ready to push his way through any door and say hi, James stayed in the shadows, couldn’t even bring himself to meet anyone in the eye.

A loner at high school, like Lars it was music that would finally bring James Hetfield into contact with other similarly obsessed classroom loners like Ron McGovney. “There was the cheerleaders, the jocks, the marching band people,” Ron recalls. James had discovered rock via his two older half-brothers. “I was always looking for something other people didn’t always dig. When I was into Black Sabbath, all my friends would go, ‘Oh, my mom won’t let me have that album’. So I had to go out and get it.” Now he looked to form his own band. Encouraged by James, who’d used early piano lessons as a springboard to playing guitar, Ron started having lessons. “I knew nothing about bass.” He just wanted to learn how to play Stairway To Heaven. James would be the UFO guy, tackling hard-line anthems like Doctor, Doctor and Lights Out.

Various high school outfits ensued. “My parents had a main house with three rental houses in the back,” McGovney recalls. “They let James and me live in the middle house rent-free. We converted the garage into our rehearsal studio.” Having left high school, they both had jobs now too, using their money to fund their latest group, Phantom Lord. “I worked at my parents’ truck repair shop during the day,” recalls Ron. James had a job in “a sticker factory” called Santa Fe Springs. They used their first month’s salaries to insulate the garage against noise, putting up dry wall, painting the rafters black and the ceiling silver.

In the final entry in his high school year book, under ‘plans’, Hetfield had written: ‘Play music. Get rich’. As with most young bands, however, Phantom Lord splintered before it had even played a gig. They carried on under a series of different guises. The one most surprising being Leather Charm, a glam band featuring James as a pouting glam singer, even dropping guitar to concentrate on becoming a full-on frontman. Once again, however, the new band quickly fell apart. Then they saw the ad in The Recycler: ‘Drummer looking for other metal musicians to jam with. Tygers of Pan Tang, Diamond Head and Iron Maiden’. A meet was arranged but James thought the kid that had placed the ad “weird” and “smelled funny.” He couldn’t even really play drums. “We ate McDonald’s, he ate herring,” was how James summarised it 20 years later. “His father was famous. A rich, only child, spoiled – that’s why he’s got his mouth. Knows what he wants [and] gotten it his whole life.”

Lars though sensed they might be more in common. “Even though we come from two different worlds, we were both loners. And in each other we found something that just connected with something deeper.” The first time James went to Lars’ parents’ house he was deeply impressed. “I was searching for people that I could identify with,” said James. “There's a part of me that craves family and another part of me that just can't stand people.” Unlike his own family home, where outsiders were rare, all were welcome here, differences celebrated, individualism prized. In Lars’ bedroom there was a whole wall of records by groups James had never even heard of. He brought his tape-recorder, filling cassettes with tracks by Venom, Motörhead, Saxon, Samson... “I bombarded James with all this new British stuff,” Lars said, “and soon he was sold on getting something together that would stand out in the ocean of mediocrity.”

Copyright © 2011 by Mick Wall

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements ix

Prologue - Just Before the Dawn 1

Part 1 Born to Die 5

1 The Prince 7

2 The Cowardly Lion 34

3 Leather on Your Lips 64

4 Nightfall at the Halfway House 98

5 Long-haired Punks 130

6 Calling Aunt Jane 160

7 Masterpiece 193

Part 2 The Art of Darkness 223

8 Come, Sweet Death 225

9 Blackened 257

10 Wild Chicks, Fast Cars and Lots of Drugs 285

11 Long Black Limousine 318

12 Loaded 348

13 Monstrum 379

14 The New Black 412

Notes and Sources 447

Index 453

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2013

    I thought the book was really good. The stories about Lars' and

    I thought the book was really good. The stories about Lars' and James' cildhoods are especially pleasing to hear. I have read several differant Metallica Bio's and this one was deffinitaley the best. They are my favorite band and I love to jam to their songs all the time on the bass and guitar. They are a great insparation and this book brought that to life. Thanks Mike Wall.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 26, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Enter Enlightenment. Not a simple, soft, rehashing of the well

    Enter Enlightenment.

    Not a simple, soft, rehashing of the well documented history every hardcore Metallica fan already knows due to endless reruns and re-edits of vh1’s Behind the Music. Author Mick Wall pens the tale of the four horsemen with bone crushing intensity from the perspective of a British rock journalist. A lot of attention is focused on the early years, the Cliff Burton era in particular. For many fans; myself included, this is the best part of the story. The character building climb up the mountain to getting signed by a major record label is often way more riveting than the tales of excess and debauchery that usually follow. Wall’s own story covering the band is also interesting and offers a new perspective on what the boys were like at different phases of their journey to metal stardom.

    Wall deserves much praise for cutting through all the metal hero worshipping hype and getting to the cold, brutal, and often ugly truth. Consider the mistreatment of Jason Newsted. He’s the Meg Griffin of Metallica. Placed in what is viewed through hindsight as an absolute unwinnable situation; the lads certainly didn’t welcome Jason with open arms and in fact, would eventually drive him away. James may write pummeling riff after pummeling riff, and Lars may have the business savvy of a billion dollar global entrepreneur mastermind ; but they seem like real a-holes when you get down to it. Why give the guy the job if you’re not willing to welcome him as a brother?

    Wall dares to question Metallica’s relevance and what the future might hold for them. He also probes then phenomena of how they seem to do things that alienate their fans, i.e. the Black album, S&M, and the whole Napster debacle. Given the St. Anger, and Lulu records, I wonder if we are one Hetfield relapse away from the inevitable, career-ending Metallica country album. This is a must-read for any metal fan.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2012

    Grest Great read

    Must read for music fans

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