Thursday, April 02, 2009

Hit The Lights

T-Minus 24 hours...

In honor of what is going down in Cleveland this weekend, Umlaut is offering up this gift: Back in 1984, Metallica seriously entertained the idea of adding a frontman to the band so James could concentrate on playing rhythm guitar and be able to rage more onstage.

Initially the band asked John Bush of Armored Saint to join, but he declined the offer. As a result, the band ran an ad in Kerrang! magazine requesting tapes from potential lead singers. Candidates were instructed to send their tapes to the band's fan club address in care of the fan club president, Umlaut's old friend K.J. Doughton.

As you can imagine, K.J.'s mailbox was filled with cassette tapes from far and wide. K.J. forwarded these entries to the band, but one of the tapes became legendary within our inner circle of Metallica supporters. That tape was submitted by one Jimmy Hull of Austin, Texas.

Jimmy Hull Audition Tape - 1984
(From the Umlaut Archives)

I won't even attempt to describe why Jimmy's audition is so special.. Click HERE to download and relive the 3:48 minutes of Metal Madness.

This is NOT a joke, but a charming bit of Metallica history. Of course, history tells how the band soon abandoned their quest for a lead singer.. and the result of that decision is what will be honored in Cleveland this weekend.

After all these years, Umlaut still wonders whatever became of Jimmy Hull... and I also wonder if he still dreams of what could have been if he'd gotten the call to join Metallica.

"Acting like a maniac... whiplash!"