And Here We Are...

April 16, 2016 News

Jeff Yeager

Metallica decided to play a gig at Rasputin Music in Berkeley to celebrate Record Store Day AND throw a lig at the old Metallica Mansion on Carlson Blvd. in El Cerrito. Steffan Chirazi scribbles furious adjectives (from 1983-85!) from the gig floor, then sprints over to El Cerrito to give you the skinny there. Spuling and grammeh NOT guaranteed!

So here we are...and I don't know what the word “reunion” really means, but right now, on the floor of Rasputin, amidst the people squeezed in between CD racks, THIS is a fucking reunion. I am standing with Brian Lew and John Kornarens, Bob Nalbandian is here too and 10 feet away are KJ Doughton and Ron Quintana. I look up to the classical music section where VIPs are, and there are Ray Burton and Jonny Z chatting, catching up...my writer side wants to go up and listen in, but I have a spot on the floor with old friends and I this is where I need to be, where YOU need to be. Just along from me is Metal Maria, hanging with Chuck Billy and from the middle we hear Metal Joe from Old Bridge asking if anyone is alive! LOUDLY!...

4:13 and it is getting hot in here as we wait...Torben arrives and is met with a cheer. Watching him sit down next to Ray is quite a sight. Other friends and family, all great people, are up there, but in the heady haze of FUN nostalgia, sights like Ray and Torben side-by-side in Berkeley, in the East Bay, in Cliff's fucking manor, his stomping grounds, is something special.

I hear strumming backstage to Def Leppard's "Wasted" so some band members must be hanging in the DVD section...and....here we go...

James has a classic Motörhead shirt on, with NO fanfare “HELPLESS”...so steady, so heavy but then comes “HIT THE LIGHTS” and they start to let it fucking rip! I think people here are in shock to be honest, there are jaws on floors and flies disappearing into gullets as people quantify exactly what it is they're fucking seeing!

“THE FOUR HORSEMEN” is every inch and then a few feet the breaker...I am waiting for the run riff right now and it does not disappoint, fuck, try writing a review as you headbang and play air guitar! Fuck this, I will be back soon...

Jeff Yeager

"Play a new song? Dood, WHAT?" Laughs James and everyone. He speaks about schooling people on vinyl, on records and how important it is plus how important stores like Rasputin are.

“RIIIIIIIIIIDE ZEEEE LIGHTNING”...hey hey hey hey and arms fly forwards, man you have to LOVE club gigs this tight and sweaty, there's barely room to air guitar to Kirk's lead but people are finding ways and I suspect bruises will be the price for the floor. It is such a thunderous and mighty song, so utterly obliterative in this rawest of forms...

“FADE...” brings a moment's calm...impossible not to think of Cliff, and I was going to save that thought for me until James just screamed, “CAN YOU HEAR US CLIFF, CAN YOU HEAR US CLIFF?” We all wanna feel he can...James then makes mention of roughly the same, tipping his hat to “all the people we miss” and paying particular word to Paul Baloff, of whom James laughs would have made things messy here!
“Jump In The Fire” is dedicated to them.

"BELLZ..." and everyone is thinking Oaktown Coliseum, bright sunlight, death-head riff to break backs and ears...a glorious dark cloud of malevolence (shit I thought I had run out of cheeser superlatives - obviously not - my old eaditter Geoff Barton would laugh)...they missed the ending hahahahaha.

"CREEEEEEPING DEATH" roars into frame, the stadium-slaying leviathan somehow squeezes into Rasputin...I look across and see KJ with a huge sweaty grin, cautiously banging, and 10 feet behind him is his teenage son, himself a classical musician of talent, and he is wide-eyed and grinning, innocent happiness in his eyes. Yeah man, your Dad was a crazy fucking Metallicahead who ran their fan club and wrote THE book hahaha, so COOL to see generations like this, sharing and vibing...

"METAL MILITIA" and how fitting with the Old Bridge crew in here, I look up to see Johnny smiling peacefully and headbanging gently...savage, sweaty and did it just happen? Lars pays major respect from the stage to Jonny Z and Marsha for believing and shouts out to Ray B and everyone...

Brett Murrary

We have adjourned to the Mansion. It's a little spiffier than before. As I walk in, Lars is showing old friends where they used to sleep, Kirk is on the couch with Lani and the kids, James is in the kitchen hanging with old friends, there are people in the backyard on couches and a bar set up in the garage. But the kitchen is where the action is. It is rammed with old friends and memories. There is sometimes a certain melancholy that can come with reminiscing, a feeling of “I wish it still was” or “what the fuck did I do”...it is fair to say that there is zero nada nowt not one JOT of that present. Nothing but joy. Nothing but FOND memories and ROOT appreciations and celebrations. I had heard someone pondering how it might be for the guys to revisit the Mansion, what feelings it might stir, but trust me, it is all positive and all very, very warm.

Brett Murray

Mayor of El Cerrito, Greg Lyman, honoring Metallica as a cultural institution!!!! Something...it is fair to say...no-one actually believed THAT was going to happen back in the mid-80s when they culturally impacted the street with rivers of beer and echoes of suspect glory!!! Oh if I had a penny for every person I have heard say “if these walls could talk” I might be able to buy the place myself. Lars made a public request for the return of the original garage in which “Master...” was written, said-scruffy structure is sadly no longer on the premises, but the walls still breathe and I wonder if you listened closely enough (or drank enough cheap beer?!) whether you'd hear the history.

For a while there, sometime between the early 90s and the mid-2000s, in this writer's opinion, there was a reticence on Metallica's part to revisit these wonderful, fantastic and treasured pasts. Perhaps an apprehension, maybe a slight fear of what such journeys might uncover... since opening up to it all a decade or so ago , and with the box set reissues and this most excellent of days (© Bill & Ted) have shown, we have all enjoyed the purest and most incredible experiences. We have all revisited great times, we have all raged again to great music, and we have all been able to look warmly back on these early days and the roles they had (and continue to have) in our lives. No-one more so than the band members themselves, who are firmly planted in the back yard hanging and chatting with the old crew as I quietly leave them to soak it all in...