METALLICA: Release Of ‘No Life ’Til Leather’ Expanded Versions Put On Hold Due To “Legal” Issues
June 12th, 2016
To celebrate Record Store Day in 2015, on April 18th San Francisco, California-based heavy metal group Metallica released 1982 demo tape No Life ’Til Leather as a limited edition cassette available for purchase at independent record stores as well as the band’s official website. The original source material was tracked down especially, and remastered. Its artwork was created from drummer Lars Ulrich’s personal copy, and displays the man’s handwriting.
Expanded versions of No Life ’Til Leather in CD, vinyl and limited edition deluxe box set format featuring additional recordings and extra items were originally scheduled for a summer 2015 release, but so far have failed to materialise.
Speaking exclusively to Metal Forces, Lars Ulrich explained the delay: “There were some unexpected difficulties on the legal side that prevented the No Life ’Til Leather box set and our vision for how we were going to kick this whole reissue series off. We spent some time doing that dance, but then James (Hetfield) and I decided that it wasn’t worth it getting bogged down in all the unpleasantries, because this was supposed to be a celebration and not end up being a tug of war, so we thought, you know what, fuck it, we’ll just move on to Kill ’Em All.”
No Life ’Til Leather features former Metallica members Dave Mustaine (guitar, Megadeth) and Ron McGovney (bass), and the original recordings had been paid for by High Velocity record label owner Kenny Kane with a view of releasing an EP in 1982. However, Ulrich refused to be drawn into details of the legal obstacles. “It’s a little more complicated than that,” he revealed. “There’s no reason to go deeper into it, it was just something that we hadn’t expected.”
Metallica, though, haven’t given up entirely on the planned expanded versions appearing at a later date. “As you know, I am the eternal optimist and I am the eternal glass is well fucking half full, so who knows?” stated Ulrich. “I think some of those parties have circled back around now that they’ve seen that this is real and so we’ll have to see. It would be great to share No Life ’Til Leather in a year or two with our fans and with the people that care. We haven’t shut the door on it.”
Metallica recorded demo tape No Life ’Til Leather on July 6th, 1982 at Chateau East Studio in Tustin, California, three weeks following the issue of compilation platter Metal Massacre. Metal Massacre had included a rendition of ‘Hit The Lights’.
The track listing for No Life ’Til Leather was as follows;
01. ‘Hit The Lights’
02. ‘The Mechanix’
04. ‘Seek & Destroy’
05. ‘Metal Militia’
06. ‘Jump In The Fire’
07. ‘Phantom Lord’
No Life ’Til Leather’s recording line-up was as follows;
James Hetfield (vocals and guitar)
Lars Ulrich (drums)
Dave Mustaine (lead guitar)
Ron McGovney (bass)
‘The Mechanix’ was later re-recorded as ‘The Four Horseman’, that respective track as well as the other six featured being included on July 1983 inaugural full-length album Kill ’Em All in re-recorded fashion. Mustaine would record his rendition as ‘Mechanix’, and include the composition on June 1985 Megadeth debut Killing Is My Business… And Business Is Good!
No Life ’Til Leather was initially recorded with a view to becoming Metallica’s first EP. Kenny Kane – owner of Californian punk label High Velocity, an imprint of Rocshire Records – was approached beforehand by drummer Lars Ulrich with respect to releasing the effort, the owner subsequently agreeing to paying for recording costs. Upon hearing the recordings he refused however, claiming that he had been misled into believing Metallica was a punk outfit.
Nevertheless, Ulrich suggested the band distribute the seven-track affair as a limited edition cassette tape entitled No Life ’Til Leather, its titled inspired by the name of June 1981 Motörhead live album No Sleep ’Til Hammersmith.
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