Music, My Stories

A Justice Conversation

Here is a normal work day conversation over Skype For Business.

If you see any sentences in Italics, it’s basically me trying to fill gaps for the reader.

Enjoy.

Me:

Go listen to the deluxe reissue of “…And Justice For All”.

It has the album remastered, then there is a live performance and the best parts are the demos from James Riffs tapes.

Tom:

Did they finally put Newstead’s bass track up?

From Day 1, Tom has been pissed about the missing bass, more so than the actual bassist.

Me:

Nope, still missing.

Tom:

Not interested then…

Me:

Apparently they couldn’t remix it, because of Lars.

There are so many tape cuts and re-joins to punch Lars in, the tapes are more or less useless.

If you don’t want to hear the album, check out the demos.

There is an interview with Steve Thompson who mixed the album explaining why they couldn’t remix it due to so many cuts to the tape.

Tom:

They had an opportunity to really change the dynamic of this reissue which everyone would have wanted to check out and then they threw it away.

You can see how heavily (with sarcasm) the missing bass affects Tom.

Me:

Just listen to the demo tapes.

Tom:

I will check out the demo’s.

Me:

Get over the missing bass. It’s been missing since 1988. 30 years ago.

Tom:

Wow. 30 years from the first time I heard “One”.

Me:

I know, where does time ago. I remember picking it up from Brashs at Westfield…

Tom:

Brashs lol.

Me:

Do you remember it?

Tom:

Yeah I remember it.

I’ve still got a tape deck that I bought from there at my parents place but I don’t think that record store was called Brashs.

Me:

It was Brashs. “Justice” and “Dr Feelgood” came from that store, plus a lot of blank BASF cassettes that ended up in my trousers as I walked out. Money was in short supply.

Tom:

Was it called something else before Brashs?

Me:

Nope just Brashs… They had a very small collection of music to sell as they mainly focused on Hi Fi products.

Tom:

Its where I picked up my five vinyl singles after I won them on a radio contest.

Remember when I picked that Sinead O’Conner’s “Nothing Compares” would be number one in the contest.

I still think the shop was called something else. Yep, I’m a stubborn prick

Tom is one of those people who is always right. If you don’t know him, it will rub you up the wrong way, but hey, we’ve been mates for 36 years, so I’m used to him.

Me:

You can call it whatever you want. In the end history will show it was called Brashs.

And then around the corner on the other side was Rings Music World.

Tom:

Rings Music World. That was it.

I have two remastered ones on Spotify. One has 9 songs and the other 147?

I knew he was talking about Rings Music World when I was talking to Brashs. I just thought I’d play the game a little bit longer.

Me:

147 songs

Tom:

I’m listening to “Frayed Ends of Sanity” demo and James vocal melody.

Nah nah nah

lol

Bah nah nah, whoa nah na

James Hetfield has a magical ability to hum out a perfect syllable melody, with whoas and nahs which he would then use to write lyrics to. I always enjoy listening to those demos.

Me:

Brilliant lyrics, so inspiring

Of course, I’m being sarcastic here.

Tom:

Then from out of nowhere “Frayed Ends of Sanity, hear them calling me”.

Me:

It looks like he had the title and the hook and too many vodkas.

Maybe it was tea or Buds.

Tom:

I like the demo’s better. Guitar’s sound tough. Man he could write some riffs back then.

There is a general view that when you have nothing, you have nothing to lose, so you are free to do what you want.

This is what I believe Tom is referring to when it comes to James and his technical riffs because after you break through into the mainstream, then you have something to lose and you are not as free as you want to be.

Me:

Damn right. I think we both have agreed that James could sack everyone and it will still be Metallica. In the end, he’s the songwriter and the voice.

This is so true. Lars knows it, hence the reason why he trademarked the Metallica name in his name as the owner.

Tom:

Guitar Solo – Live At Long Beach Arena.

What happened to Kirk?

Kirks guitar playing on Metallica albums from Load onwards is covered up with too much wah. Maybe that was the reason they told him, no guitar solos on “St Anger”, as they got sick of hearing the wah.

Me:

He got lazy.

How is the guitar solo – I haven’t heard it…

Tom:

Nothing impressive, but you can hear how tight he used to be and the range of ideas he had as opposed to the standard sloppy mess he does now with bends and the Wah to cover it all up.

Then he plays “Little Wing”. Its no Stevie Ray Vaughan version though.

Me:

I watched a few pro shot videos of Metallica on their recent tour.

“Fade To Black”, “Now That You’re Dead”, “Spit Out The Bone” and man Kirk is a mess with his leads, even in the “Fade To Black” intro lead he ad libs some hammer ons and pull offs and he misses the beat. It’s pretty poor.

Tom:

I think their live concerts today are not worth it. More dissapointing. Lars is all over the place with tempo’s and ad libbing whatever the hell he wants.

I went on YouTube looking for some drum lesson things and came across a whole set of video’s of drummers “Lars’ing” songs. It was hilarious.

Lars’ing is basically a drummer playing pop songs to the way Lars might play them. Sometimes a bit too busy than needed.

The big difference as mentioned in the comments is that this drummer is on tempo and his fills are spot on and don’t carry over. So I call Lars’ing songs with the correct tempo.

Me:

I saw em on “St Anger” and when Lars refused to play some of the double kick stuff, I was like what a waste.

James as usual was on song, Trujillo was the new guy, and James kept saying how hes a brother and been part of Metallica forever.

As much as the fans bang on Lars, there is no denying he is perpetual. For everything that gets thrown his way, he has built a 38 year career in music.

Tom:

I think James suffers live from trying to keep up with Lars’ shennaigans and ridiculous tempo changes.

Me:

I don’t think James cares anymore it.

Tom:

There’s a clip of where they let Joey from Slipknot play a few tracks live probably 10 years back when they were on tour together. Its sounds spectacular.

Tempo is on point and the double kick is like a machine.

It was a festival and Lars called in sick so the show went on with a few drummers from the other bands on the bill.

Me:

I was the one that told you about it.

Did you forget?

Right, I forgot, you are stubborn prick.

Tom always takes credit for things, remember he’s always right.

Tom:

Well my thoughts are as follows:

Lars is still stuck on the idea that they are the fastest band in the world and thats why people come to see them.

It was one of their calling cards in the 80’s, so I think on purpose, he tries to play faster to live up to that ridiculous title he has in his head.

Maybe Tom is right after all.

Me:

Lars reckons he will be playing Metallica songs, well into his 70’s. Umm, yeah…

There is an interview doing the rounds that mentions this.

Tom:

Kirk is also over thrash and has no interest in playing the same solo again, and thinks by ad-libbing licks however he wants, it somehow adds to the individual performance concert goers can experience.

He thinks thats what makes each concert special and this is what fans prefer rather than hearing the song as they know it.

While James is only trying to salvage the carnage of these two buffoon’s ideas whilst saving his voice.

Kirk believes he’s a blues guitarist but he’s not. And he lied about why he didn’t have songwriting credits, blaming his lost phone. It was up to James to set the record straight and he said his riffs just weren’t good enough to warrant inclusion.

Me:

No argument from me over that one. Its easy to be critical, but for the prices they are charging for tickets, I think the fans deserve to get what they paid for.

For the live part of the “Justice” release, I like how “Blackened” segued into “For Whom The Bells Tolls” – that worked brilliantly.. Crush em with speed and then kick it back a little bit with heaviness.

Tom:

I’m at a point where I would comfortably say that “For Whom the Bells Toll” is Metallica’s best song.

Seriously what is a heavier song than that in Metallica’s catalogue?

Me:

“For Whom The Bells Toll” – well you know I have a special place in my heart for that song. The fact that we have 2 minutes of skull crushing music before the vocals even start is enough to get my ramped..

To me that’s progressive music because all formula of what a song should have goes out the window.

Plus I always say that “Ride The Lightning” is THE Metallica album… Everything that came after is because of RIDE.. It was that good they re-wrote it twice in song styles with “Master” and “Justice”.

Tom:

Now you’re re-writing history again. You said “Master” was the best.

Me:

I’ve never said “Master” is the best. It’s a great album but “Ride” is THE album.

Tom:

Yes you have.

Me:

Hell, I get into debates with people about which one is THE album.

Your memory is crap..

Tom:

I know you get into arguments about which one is better, and I argued “Ride” is better and you “Master”.

Its good that you’ve finally come to your senses and admitted “Ride” is better.

Remember, Tom is always right.

Me:

Speaking of the heaviest song, “Harvester” has to be up there… I’m listening to that live version, from Seattle and it’s thundering…

Tom:

They have a number of heavy songs.

I always liked “The God that Failed” from the Black album. I prefer that over “Sad but True”.

Sorry “Sad Patrol”. I never liked it.

I hate “Wherever I May Roam” as well.

We had a drummer in a band who believed James sang “Sad Patrol” in the Chorus instead of “Sad But True”. The syllables are the same was his answer.

Me:

But I don’t mind jamming that Em groove.

To “Sad But True”.

When I first heard the album, “Holier Than Thou” grabbed me straight away.

Tom:

Yeah that is crushing.

“Unforgiven” is the best song on the album. Wasn’t a big fan of “Enter Sandman” either.

Actually I hated it. But I liked jamming it.

Me:

Whats the go with all these Metallica songs, great to jam but you don’t like it…

Tom:

It’s a weird relationship

“St Anger” is full of those kind of songs.

Me:

True, okay songs, but cool grooves. It’s sort of my relationship with melodic death metal or metal core bands.

Tom:

Other stand outs for the Black album would be “Don’t Tread On Me” for the lyrics and “Through The Never” (the main riff and that heavy bridge riff – I absolutely love)

And probably “Struggle Within”, again because of one riff after the solo which I absolutely love.

That’s Tom in a nutshell. A riff or a solo in an okay song will elevate the status of the song to a higher plane.

Me:

I tell ya, 1989 Metallica live, are, on fire… James vocally as well is killing it. It sounds like James is having a riot with “Seek And Destroy”.

Check it out. His dialogue with the crowd and the way he gets them to sing along is pure gold and you can hear he is having a lot of fun with it.

And that is the end of our conversation. When you talk about music, you go on such different tangents and it’s so much fun.

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