Friday, November 18, 2016


My obligatory favorite band released their first new album in 8 years (!?) today.  Cliff was in the band for only 3 years and they wrote and recorded Kill 'Em All, Ride The Lightning, and Master Of Puppets in that time.  I know it was different times, the band guys were different people.. etc. etc. but still.

That being said, I haven't been this close to a Metallica album release since Ride The Lightning.  It all started 2 years ago when I was asked by the band to assist with the deluxe reissues of their first two albums and then being asked to be involved in a Spotify thing for the releases.  It was a trip being part of that historical process with a band who I've known since they only had a cassette tape demo out.  The Metal Godz work in mysterious ways.

Fast forward to almost 3 months ago and I was invited to hear the new Metallica album at their HQ in Marin.  I went straight from the airport after landing from a business trip in Dallas. I was running on fumes but when The Metal calls you must abide.. but at least it also included free pizza and beer.. but then I couldn't talk about it publicly until a couple of weeks ago... which was fine.

[Photo courtesy of]

Back in The Day an "album leak" was called an "advance tape".. but we still bought the album when it was released.  In those salad days we bought the album mainly to feel part of something.  The experience of going to a record store and holding the album in your hands, opening it, putting the disc on the turntable, and reading the liner notes during that first play bonded you with that band and that music.  I know, old man talking.. but we all interact with music differently now here in the 21st Century including me.  For the record here's how a Metallica album release day has been for Umlaut over the years:
  • Kill 'Em All - The Record Vault, San Francisco
  • Ride The Lightning - Tower Records, Mt. View, CA
  • Master Of Puppets - Tower Records, Mt. View, CA
  • And Justice For All - Tower Records Stonestown, San Francisco
  • The Black Album - A Record Factory, San Jose, CA
  • Load / Reload / St. Anger / Death Magnetic - I didn't buy any of these on day of release... 
  • Hardwired - Metallica website (for the deluxe CD) and Amoeba Records (for the indie only red vinyl) 
When Ride The Lightning came out I heard Tower Records in Mt. View had a copy in the Import section the night before release so I drove to the store at around 10:00pm to get it... and I still have it.  I couldn't wait a minute to get it  

I still have a vivid memory of walking into the same Tower Records for Master Of Puppets and being greeted by their full end cap display for the album and thinking "What the fuck.."  I had been going to that Tower for years discovering the music that changed my life.. and now a band who I knew (actually Metallica were the first band I ever became friends with..) were having an album release of this magnitude there.  Crazy, man.

Times have changed and trivial events like an album release are now something you can participate with on your phone while sitting on the toilet.  However, deep down inside my Inner Teenage Metalhead is still excited today and remembers when this was how a Metallica album release day felt and looked like:

In honor of my obligatory favorite band releasing their new album today: This is my old friend Rich "Bang That Head That Doesn't Bang" Burch (R.I.P.) outside of The Record Vault in San Francisco on the day Kill 'Em All was released.  From the pages of Ron Quintana's legendary Metal Mania fanzine.

Bang that head that doesn't bang, forever.  Forever..  and, yes, I do like the band's new album.  Quite a bit actually.