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
[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.
Rolling Stone (3 and ½ stars)
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.
Independent on Sunday (UK)
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.
[A] flaming juggernaut of a heavy-metal biog... the author writes a deceptively casual-looking, sincere but half-amused prose.
'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.
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.
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
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.
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