During an interview on Speak N’ Destroy, former Megadeth guitarist Marty Friedman talked about his first impression of Metallica after listening to their ‘No Life ‘Til Leather’ demo in 1982 and discussed how their work contributed to the development of metal.
As you know, Metallica is popular for its unconventional and unique approach to metal music since day one. It doesn’t get more metal than that with a band name such as theirs. However, it took the band a while, in specific three albums, to achieve worldwide success as their music was sometimes regarded as too different.
In his recent interview, Marty Friedman talked about how he was pleasantly surprised after listening to Metallica’s first demo ‘No Life ‘Til Leather.’ He remembers being surprised at their sound as it was a fusion of punk-rock but still metal. He recalls thinking that ‘they were the shit.’
He then went on to explain why metal was underground at that time and said that no one knew about the Scorpions, Judas Priest, or others in the United States, let alone in Hawaii where he lived. Marty said that ‘it was a niche market‘ and that he was highly surprised that Metallica had the courage to be so uncommercial.
He also stated that even though he had heard their demo, their first album ‘Kill ‘Em All’ which was released in 1983, still came as a shock to him. He recalls being astonished and a little jealous that their record was being sold in a record store in Hawai, and recalls feeling excited as this gave him the hope that Megadeath could also surface from the underground someday.
Here’s what Marty said in the interview:
“When I heard the Metallica demo, I was like, ‘This is it, these are the guys!’ It sounded like punk-rock, but it sounds like metal, and it just kills – this is it. I remember I just loved that demo a lot – I just thought they were the shit.
At that time, even in the mainland, no one knew who the Scorpions were, Judas Priest, or any of those bands – it was a niche market. There were some maniacs who knew that stuff and that was it, but in Hawaii, forget about it. There was really nothing – and not only that, but there was just no one who cared in the slightest about what we were doing.
So we could send tapes out to people in Europe and Japan and America, underground people would rave about this stuff. I was a huge fan of the demo, but I was completely blind-sighted when ‘Kill ‘Em All’ came out.”
He went on to say:
“I thought the music was so uncommercial, that these guys would never in a million years get a record deal. I just liked it too much, so there was no way – I mean, what was on the charts back then, Duran Duran and stuff like that, right? I never ever dreamed that it would ever come out. I mean, if it did come out, it would come out on some indie thing…
When I saw the record in an actual record store – in Hawaii no less – I’m like, I just could not freaking believe it. And I’m like – it was the coolest thing ever. It kind of made me think, ‘Well, if this happens, then maybe someday I might have a shot of getting out of the complete underground.’
Because nothing was more underground than Metallica at that time, they were just doing underground better than anybody else at the time – or at least in my particular taste. I was just blown away – I was shocked, I was happy. I was a bit jealous because up until that point, we were kind of in the same circles.”