Metal Blade Records CEO Brian Slagel Talks Metallica's 'Hit The Lights' Origins & Original Release
Jimmy Kay and Alan Dixon from Canada's The Metal Voice recently spoke to CEO and founder of Metal Blade Records Brian Slagel. In the interview Slagel spoke about the upcoming re-release of Metal Massacre Vol 1 on April 22, 2022 for the 40 year anniversary
Watch full interview here
When asked about which version of Metal Massacre Vol 1 will be released
"It's kind of the two versions combined into one basically, I've always wanted to do this. I thought it was going to be a nightmare to put together because back in the day we just did a 5 year licenses for the songs and we lost the rights for 35 years and I thought I don't know if everybody wants to do it again. It took me two hours and I reached out to every band and they immediately said yes no problem we are in. It's got every song that was ever on the original Metal Massacre Vol 1, both Steeler and Ratt. Metallica they used the second pressing (second song) the one without Lloyd Grant on it. We are only doing it on Vinyl cause I wanted to keep it to close to its roots cause all we did was vinyl 40 years ago and we are only doing 7000 (copies) of them. I wanted to make it really special and limited. "
When asked about how he included Metallica's original song 'Hit the lights' on the original Metal Massacre Vol 1 compilation
"The Michael Schenker group played a venue called the Country Club in Reseda, Los Angeles, California on December of 1980. Which I found out later everybody from Metallica to Armored Saint were there. All the bands were at that show even though no one knew each other. So I was there with my good friend John Kornarens who basically helped me with the fanzine and the compilation album. So after the show John sees a kid in the parking lot wearing a Saxon European T shirt. Now in 1980 nobody in L.A. knew who Saxon was let alone would be wearing a European T-shirt. So John runs up to the kid and says where did you get that shirt? And the kid (Lars) said I just moved here from Denmark two weeks ago I didn't think anyone knew who Saxon was and John said no no we are totally into it, my friend Brian and I are really into it so you got to meet him. So a couple days later I don't remember if it was his house or my house but Lars, John and I got all together and started going crazy over the NWOBHM. Lars moving here from Denmark didn't think he would know anybody, he didn't think he would find any friends who were into the scene, so we all became friends because of that. So fast forward to a year and a half later so I am putting together this compilation album (Metal Massacre) and Lars called me up and said hey if I put together a band can I be on the record? I said sure we need bands on the record why not. So I guess the story was he and James (Hetfield) recorded everything and then Lloyd Grant played the lead and that was the original 'Hit The Lights'. So they brought me a cassette tape at the very last minute, it almost didn't make it on the record. Lars was probably an hour away from not getting it on time. So they brought a cassette and it cost $50 dollars to bump it up to Quarter inch tape and none of us had the money. Luckily John Kornarens had 50 bucks so he paid the 50 bucks and Metallica ended up on the record. And I didn't hear it (the Song) until later, the recording wasn't great but the song was pretty decent."
At the brink of the 80’s, LA was cementing itself as the rock ‘n’ roll nucleus of the United States. A longtime fan of the local rock scene, Slagel spent many nights inside LA’s locales seeking out the most authentic, heaviest, unique bands to hit the West Coast. Alongside friend John Kornarens, the two split the Metal Massacre project in half - Slagel responsible for artwork and mastering facilities, while Kornarens secured a studio to make the record. “We were using the Yellow Pages a lot, total amateurs navigating the record like a high school project,” adds Kornarens. And that compilation was the foundation of Slagel’s METAL BLADE RECORDS, one of the premiere heavy metal record labels of all-time.
This year Metal Blade Records is celebrating their 40th Anniversary! To celebrate such a huge accomplishment they will be releasing a limited-edition vinyl "Metal Massacre," out April 22nd.
Metal Massacre Volume 1 Track Listing 2022 Re-Issue:
1 - STEELER - “COLD DAY IN HELL”
2 - BITCH - “LIVE FOR THE WHIP”
3 - MALICE - “CAPTIVE OF LIGHT”
4 - RATT - “TELL THE WORLD”
5 - AVATAR - “OCTAVE”
1 - BLACK ‘N BLUE - “CHAINS AROUND HEAVEN”
2 - CIRITH UNGOL - “DEATH OF THE SUN”
3 - DEMON FLIGHT - “DEAD OF THE NIGHT”
4 - PANDEMONIUM - “FIGHTING BACKWARDS”
5 - MALICE - “KICK YOU DOWN”
6 - METALLICA - “HIT THE LIGHTS”