No Life ’til leather, we’re gonna kick some ass tonight…
So says Metallica, on “Hit The Lights,” the opening track of their 1982 demo No Life ’til Leather, which, after over three decades, is finally getting an official release for this year’s Record Store Day.
The mighty Metallica will be releasing the 1982 demo No Life ’til Leather as a re-mastered limited edition cassette tape for Record Store Day this April. This offering will contain the original demo recordings for the seven songs that went on to make up the bulk of the thrash metal legends’ first album, 1983’s Kill ‘Em All, including the popular “Seek & Destroy.” The demo tracks were performed by the band’s original line-up of James Hetfield (lead vocals and rhythm guitar), Lars Ulrich (drums); Dave Mustaine (lead guitar), who went on to form fellow Big 4 thrash band Megadeth; and Ron McGovney (bass). (For Kill ‘Em All, current guitarist Kirk Hammett replaced Mustaine, while Cliff Burton, who died in 1986, stepped in as bassist).
The limited edition Record Store Day demo tape release will have a re-mastered version of the original 1982 mix, and this will be the first time the demo is being offered commercially ever.
See cassette art and track listing here below (image above is of the aforementioned original line-up, but is not an official photo for the limited edition cassette release and was not included in the press release).
A note from Metallica:
This year we decided to celebrate Record Store Day with our friends at independent retail by taking a huge leap back in time to our humble beginnings with that little rectangle of plastic known as the “demo tape.” In 1982 we recorded seven songs that became our initial calling card known as No Life ’til Leather and it led us to our first record deal . . . the rest, as you some of you may know, is history! We hope you enjoy this little walk down memory lane with us and that you will continue to join us in supporting independent record stores around the world.
Hit The Lights
Seek & Destroy
Jump In The Fire
Record July 6, 1982 at Chateau East Studio, Tustin, CA.
The No Life ’til Leather cassette tape will be available for purchase at local record stores and at the band’s website, Metallica.com. Expanded versions of this demo tape will be available on CD, vinyl, and as a collector’s set sometime this Summer.
Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters will server as ambassador of this year’s Record Store Day, which takes place on April 18, 2015.
Regarding the Record Store Day offering, Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich laughingly told Rolling Stone recently that “Twelve people will be able to play it, but everybody else will be able to hold it in their hands and, uh, have a great time with it.” Well, let me stand up and be counted as one of the twelve who still owns a cassette tape boom box, as well as being someone who still has a massive cassette tape collection of hard rock and heavy metal albums AND still has several demo cassettes of 1980’s New York City-area heavy metal bands, including Type O Negative’s green-colored tape from back when they were still going by the name Repulsion. Yes, back in my day, dear children, recording a demo tape was a prerequisite for getting your name out there in hopes that it would get passed around and listened to. This 1982 Metallica demo was probably the most sought after demo of the metal genre and it’s something I’ve listened to for years because although Kill ‘Em All is amazing and til this day is still one of my favorite albums of all time, there’s nothing like hearing that rawness and magic captured on No Life ’til Leather.
Snagging the No Life ’til Leather cassette tape this Record Store Day is something I know I’ll be attempting, if I can indeed find an actual record store.
By the way, while I always thought there’d be some kind of market for vinyl albums, I never thought I’d see the day when cassette tapes would make a comeback. I think the thanks for this comeback should solely go to director James Gunn’s Guardians Of The Guardians, who’s main character Star-Lord has a heavily used cassette Walkman complete with a homemade cassette tape song mix in his arsenal. The film’s soundtrack was even released in cassette tape format and quickly sold out, but is getting a digital download re-release.
More of my two cents: For those of you who don’t know, the “compact cassette” tape was good for one thing and one thing only – portability (and I’m referring to pre-made products, not the recordable tapes). Otherwise, it had an inferior sound quality to vinyl and warped easily. Oh, and the tape itself oftentimes would come off of the spool and you’d have to employ a pencil in the tape’s holes to get it back on. Oh, and there was no SKIP button. Nope, if you wanted to skip a song, you’d have to press (and sometimes also hold down) the Fast Forward button and wait forever while being subjected to the annoying high-pitched sounds of the forwarding. In that way, I do not miss cassette tapes, but they did serve their purpose at the time thanks to their aforementioned portability and gave me so many great memories and listening experiences.