So What!: The Good, the Mad, and the Ugly

So What!: The Good, the Mad, and the Ugly

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by Metallica

One of the top album sellers of all time, Metallica has achieved the kind of success few bands can claim, with over 90 million albums sold worldwide. Now Metallica delivers exactly what their fans have been waiting for: the only complete and fully authorized book of its kind--an all-access pass to the band, onstage, backstage, and beyond.

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One of the top album sellers of all time, Metallica has achieved the kind of success few bands can claim, with over 90 million albums sold worldwide. Now Metallica delivers exactly what their fans have been waiting for: the only complete and fully authorized book of its kind--an all-access pass to the band, onstage, backstage, and beyond.

Based on material exclusively created for their official fan club's magazine of the same name, So What! is a detailed 'scrapbook' of the band's career-its milestones and memories on the road to metal-mania. And Metallica's candid involvement in this book is evident, in countless transcripts of exclusive roundtable discussions, journal excerpts, and personal comments scribbled throughout--plus festival reports, fan questions answered by the band, and approximately 1,000 rare and unique photos. The book also gives the honest, inside track on some of their darker days: their search for a new bassist; insight into singer/guitarist James Hetfield's rehab; and notes taken during their extended hiatus from 1999-2002.

From their early days in the 1980s as young, exciting, abrasive, and loud unknowns, through their current multimillion-selling album, St. Anger (including the 2004 Grammy-winning title track), Metallica has earned its reputation as one of the most highly regarded and hard-rocking bands of all time. In fact, So What! will hit shelves during an eighty-city stadium tour, where they will play to 50,000 fans a night--all hungry for more.

Through it all they have maintained notoriously strong ties to their legions of fans: giving out backstage passes at every show, flying lucky fans in for a privateconcert, even bringing club members on tour with them. Produced in a high-quality format, and pulled together with the hard and humorous attitude that has earned Metallica their place in the rock-god stratosphere, So What! is a fan must-have. Band devotees will expect nothing less.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal - Library Journal
The recently released documentary Metallica: Some Kind of Monster offers some revealing glimpses into the biggest metal band in history: bassist Jason Newsted's sudden departure, group therapy, rehab for frontman James Hetfield, drummer Lars Ulrich's crusade against Napster, and, after it all, an album, St. Anger. Unfortunately, Metallica's first authorized book doesn't deliver as much-in fact, it's a disappointment on par with the boys chopping their hair off. Focusing on the latter half of the group's 25-year career, the book is nothing more than a collection of reprinted articles and interviews from the group's fan-club magazine of the same title. While it mines some semiprecious nuggets-e.g., rare interviews with the complete group, a story written by Ulrich's father-it does little to penetrate issues like why Newsted left and how close the group was to calling it quits when Hetfield entered rehab. Its most revealing aspects come in the form of handwritten comments from the band on past articles and the dozens of candid photos. Recommended only for Metallica sycophants and completists; those looking for the truth should find a theater. [Coming in November from St. Martin's is the official book tie-in to Metallica: Some Kind of Monster, titled Metallica: This Monster Lives, by directors Joe Berlinger and Greg Milner.-Ed.]-Robert Morast, Argus Leader, Sioux Falls, SD Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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Broadway Books
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Metallica '84 Revisited

The following was the first article written by Steffan Chirazi about Metallica way back in October 1984. It was published in a now sadly defunct English music paper called "Sounds."

As we trundle through Paris at 12:35 a.m., precariously perched in the METALLICA tour bus, the forehead of bassist Cliff Burton suddenly makes a close but rhythmic acquaintance with the front dashboard. The explanation for this over-zealous behavior is the tape of the Anti Nowhere League which blares out; Cliff is simply showing his appreciation in the strongest possible way.

With Metallica, whether on the road or the stage, there are no pretenses. No demonstrations of cool rock star behavior, no flash tailored garments. Nope, this lot are as basic as you or I, none of this false, haughty ‘we're famous now' attitude, more a ‘hello' ‘ow ya doin' down-to-earth approach. Indeed it is worth noting the next time you catch a glimpse of Metallica, that Cliff is the owner of the biggest, oldest and scruffiest Levi flares currently in existence.

But enough of this — I'll serve you up with the basic and important Metallica logistical data first of all. Formed in early '82 by Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield (drummer and rhythm guitar/vocals), Metallica were completed by lead guitarist David Mustaine and bassist Ron McGovney. McGovney was soon replaced by Cliff Burton, who was good enough to convince the band to uproot to San Francisco from L.A., and the band's following started to take off in a big way.

It was at this time that it became evident that Mustaine, alcohol, pressure and therefore Metallica didn't mix, so Mustaine wasreplaced by Kirk Hammett, another club circuit discovery. Out came "Kill 'Em All" in '83 and presto, Metallica have been growing bigger, better and stronger all the time.

So back to the present day, and among the chaos, confusion and plain goddamn fun that surrounds a foreign festival, I managed to collar lead guitarist Kirk Hammett and Lars Ulrich in the already mentioned ‘headbangin' heaven' bus. I always did find it strange how such a fast, heavy and powerful band should suddenly rear its ugly head from amongst the Journeys, Survivors and Kisses of the humdrum, stagnating U.S. rock scene of the time.

"Yeah, well, we got sick of seeing every band in the States trying out this kind of AC/DC, Kiss, Journey approach, and we just wanted to go out and play our way. At first we had to play a few covers because we immediately went for doing gigs, but the important thing was that we were out there playing and playing them our way."

One gets the feeling from this that there was a conscious rebellion against the American rock scene, although Lars stressed that nothing Metallica does is consciously planned.

"I think that there is some truth behind the rebellion bit, but it certainly wasn't a conscious feeling. Everything Metallica does is spontaneous, I think if we lose our spontaneity we will be in one hell of a lot of trouble."

Everything Metallica does may well be spontaneous, but the change from the out and out thrash metal on "Kill 'Em All" to the more melodious, mid-paced thrash of "Ride the Lightning" is surely a planned progression.

"No way. As far as I'm concerned, Metallica really changed with the arrival of Kirk and Cliff. Incidentally, I'd like to say that Metallica bears no grudges against Dave Mustaine and that we thank him and acknowledge his contribution to early Metallica.

"Anyway, as I was saying, it was just before "Kill 'Em All" that we really changed, y'know, and between the two albums there has been a progression, but through what we've learnt and seen, not sitting down and really planning as such.

"I mean, we did ‘Fade to Black,' a ballad right? We didn't think ‘hey man, let's construct a heavy ballad, yeah,' we just all felt it was right and so we did it. Metallica are a feeling not a preplanned package, we don't deliberate on things for weeks and weeks. Oh yeah, I hate the f**kin' phrase ‘thrash metal," says Lars complete with upturned nose and very loud ‘eeuuurgghh' to match his disgusted expression. I must say I don't understand his apparent vehemence — after all, Metallica are the best thrash metal band around.

"The phrase ‘thrash' suggests lack of music ability and that's one thing we do not suffer from. I don't know what exactly I'd call us but I hate the phrase thrash, ugghh!

"It's all down to personal taste, I can see your view but I can also see Lars' point of view. I guess it's a reasonably accurate description if used properly," pipes up Kirk.

I feel that "Ride the Lightening" is ample justification of both arguments, on the one hand providing some good ol' heads-down thrash and on the other, copious displays of musical ability within it all. On that point I embarked upon the band's live show. Is that also spontaneous?

"I think it is, yes. We go out there and do it as we feel it, If Cliff wants to headbang whilst he's playing ‘Whiplash' then he will, if he doesn't he won't. (Wow —Ed). It's not a pre-rehearsed venture. The only thing we play before we go onstage, is that we're gonna try and kick as much f**kin' ass as we can. We do play for ourselves though to a large extent. If people like us we welcome them; if they don't f**k ‘em."

"We have a certain reputation," continues Lars, "inasmuch as we are expected to go out there and whack out with energy and 500mph speed and satisfy this demand; now although that's real nice, we'd like to think that the same feeling and goodness can also transfer to vinyl. Some bands can only do it live — they fell flat on record whereas I think we really pull it off!"

Certainly, Metallica's vinyl energy is there in all its glory, but it is their live show which is guaranteed to produce flying hair and air-guitar players and to boost the post show aspirin sales. This live show really does kill, dammit — even lensman Tony ‘Wayne' Mottram, a person with fussy tastes, is raving the Metallica live cause.

Britain will get to see Metallica during October/November. Initially, the band were going to hit the road for a full European tour, this little affair starting in France starting the whole onslaught. However, the inescapable hassles of business have intervened.

"Yeah, well we're currently involved in a legal dispute with Johnny Z and Megaforce Records back in the U.S. We're not under either anymore. Although certain complications have grown, we expect the legal situation to be cleared up very soon. Johnny Z did a great job for us but we felt that we'd outgrown each other."

This means that Britain will see Metallica headline four to six dates including The Birmingham Odeon and the London Lyceum.

"We also want to release a single for the European tour which could be ‘Ride the Lightening' but once the legal shit is fully sorted out we're gonna make things happen."

Metallica have been making things happen for quite a while in Europe, as is apparent by the amount of patches I saw adorning the jackets of European metallurgists, and by their extremely high record sales across the channel and yonder. Everybody loves Metallica, as was evident at their performance yesterday, where headbanging was a literal affair and not just a few polite nods.

The band will certainly blitz Britain, believe me, the British metal banger having had only one fleeting chance to catch them before, in the hellhole of Soho, the Marquee Club. And let me personally assure you lads n' lasses, we're talking bloody big blitzes of pure metal here. However Lars has still left me with a niggling point, that of his refusal to accept the term ‘thrash' in conjunction with Metallica. The stubborn bugger still refuses to totally accept the phrase, saying "if you were to call us the original, the first thrash metal band, then maybe you'd have some justification, but even then I find it difficult to justify as an adjective for Metallica."

Well, one point at a time, eh? Primarily, it is patently obvious to all the acts such as Exciter, Anthrax and Slayer are simply by-products of a style of music created and perpetrated by Metallica. These bands are the offspring of the thrash metal Metallica invented. Secondly, justification of the term ‘thrash' can be found in "Kill ‘Em All" and the latest ‘n' greatest "Ride the Lightning" and owners of these two platters will undoubtedly offer their own mutual support.

But really, what the hell! At least we have Metallica, and whatever way you want to classify them, these San Franciscan stormers continue to pick their audiences up by the scruff of the neck, violently shake them for 90 or so minutes and deposit them gleefully back into their seats, watching the infatuated faces beg for more. Everyone wants more of Metallica, which makes a statement Lars made "y'know, we're gonna wake a few people up," profoundly punctual in its delivery. People are waking up all the time to this particular metal beat… do the sensible thing and wake up with them.


Meet the Author

Formed in 1981 in the Los Angeles suburbs by guitarist/singer James Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich, METALLICA today comprises Hetfield, Ulrich, guitarist Kirk Hammett, and bassist Robert Trujillo. STEFFAN CHIRAZI first met Metallica in 1984 as a seventeen-year-old rock journalist. Now, twenty years later, he is the editor of So What! magazine. Metallica and Chirazi live in San Francisco.


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So What! 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the ultimate Metallica book! Very insightfull, moving, and incredible. To look at one of the greatest rock bands of all time through intimate photos, notes, and entries. Truly spectacular!