It’s 1986 and I’m an awkward teen struggling with post-puberty in junior high in a small town in Northern California. It’s gym class and the objects of my raging hormones are two beautiful young stoner girls, each adorned in concert tees for some band I’d never heard of called Metallica. One wears a shirt with a toilet on it that boldly proclaims “Metal up your ass!”; the other bears a sullenly painted graveyard beneath an angry red sky. I’m smitten.
The following year, I get my first taste of Metallica’s music through a new friend of mine who has a copy of Master of Puppets hidden beneath his bed. By the time my ears adjust fro the opening assault of “Battery”, we’re well into the “Master of Puppets” track and my mind is blown. I’m smitten once more.
“…And Justice for All” gets me through the remaining years of my troubled high school career and by the time the “Black” Album drops, I’m a lifelong fan.
Shortly after high school, the band releases “The Unforgiven” and a music video that would go on to shape my early artistic brain into the demented thing it is today.
To date, there isn’t a single other band I’ve seen play live more times than Metallica.
“Metal up your ass”, indeed.