QUESTION OF THE WEEK: IF YOU COULD HAVE BEEN PRESENT FOR THE CREATION OF ANY SINGLE METAL ALBUM, WHICH ONE WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
Welcome to “Question of the Week,” a (sometimes) weekly debate amongst the MetalSucks staff regarding a recent hot button issue.
For no particular reason whatsoever other than we thought it would be fun, this week we asked our writers:
IF YOU COULD HAVE BEEN PRESENT FOR THE CREATION OF ANY SINGLE METAL ALBUM, WHICH ONE WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
The MS staff’s answers after the jump.
It will shock exactly no one to learn that my answer is Chinese Democracy. And I would have wanted to be there from the entire process fourteen-year, starting when Slash was still in the band. Let’s talk about some of the madness I would have witnessed: A version of GN’R featuring co-lead guitars by Slash and Zakk Wylde. Matt Sorum actually discovered Robin Finck and introduced him to Axl, so there was briefly a version of GN’R featuring Axl Rose, Duff McKagan, Sorum, Finck, Dizzy Reed, and Paul Tobias. Brian May came in and recorded a guitar solo. Dave Navarro came in and recorded a guitar solo. Moby, Youth, and Roy Thomas Baker were all producers on the album or in discussions to be the producer at one point or another. Shaquille O’Neal came in and rapped over a track at one point. Josh Freese was in the band, and then Brain was hired to re-record all of Freese’s parts exactly as Freese had played them, and the aforementioned Roy Thomas Baker made him do each song in a single take, which apparently took months. Buckethead made them build him a man-size chicken coup in the studio from which he could record; he allegedly decorated it with fake corpses and real feces, and Axl finally made him take it down when the vocalist learned that Buckethead was watching porn while recording (which somehow violates Axl’s principles). And that’s just the shit we know about! Ever seen Hearts of Darkness, that amazing documentary about the making of Apocalypse Now? I think being there for the Chinese Democracy sessions probably made that look like a Church social.
Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music. So that I could have stopped it from happening.
Any Avantasia record. It would’ve been really interesting to sit and watch all the artists coming in and recording their stuff and bouncing off one another to create this epic rock opera. I like rock operas. I also like many artists collaborating together. And this would be infinitely more fun to watch than some bleeding heart Bob Geldof shindig.
Most of history’s mega-classic albums have that sense of magic which might be dispersed by even a quick peek behind the curtain, so to speak. So I’d just as soon remain ignorant of the grind work on Angel Dust and Suiciety and Seventh Son of a Seventh Son and Unquestionable Presence [Atheist mega-interview hits MS next week! — Ed.]. I’d be more interested in lurking about the sessions of a awesome big-budget record by a fun dudes at a neat moment in their band’s history. Like, I would love to have been chewed up and spat out by the heroin- and whiskey-machine known as the Rolling Stones during the creation of Exile On Main Street, even though those capers have been so canonized by rockist pussies. (I’ve photoshopped myself into the sleeve’s in-studio pics!) Even better, I’d attach myself to Steve Marriott as he assembled Humble Pie and set about recording their two (!) 1969 classics. (Also, it’d be a chance to warn HP’s Peter Frampton to never release a noodly live album.) But I’d have to pass on those, cuz somehow there’s a record that is both a undisputed godfucking classic and a representation of four people at a crossroads: Metallica’s …And Justice For All. The Metallidudes were in good playing shape having done the Garage Days Re-revisited EP; they were a emotional shambles having lost genius bass player/heshlord Cliff Burton; they were launching what would be a two-decade festival of abuse on his replacement Jason Newsted; they were under pressure as the biggest band in American metal to lead a movement and bump their investors into a higher tax bracket; they were at the end of Metallica phase one and a few short years away from near-total suckdom; aaaand they were pounding a bajillion beers a day. Sounds fun!
Metallica’s …And Justice For All. I could have sneakily turned the mixing knob for Jason Newsted’s bass tracks up to “audible,” and convinced Flemming Rasmussen to turn that dry taco shell production into a rich chile relleno.
I would choose Metallica’s Metallica, or, as we’ve all come to know it, “The Black Album.” Since the question mentions nothing about restrictions as to what I could bring with me when being present for said creation (TECHNICALITY!), I would bring a copy of Load, St. Anger, and a mix CD of the bad 2/3 of Death Magnetic. I would sit James, Lars, Kirk, and wee Jason down in a room together (I’d send Bob Rock off to get cigarettes a few states over or something) and play each of those albums in their entirety. I wouldn’t say a word or mention the band who had made them, just stand in the back of the room with my arms crossed as I watch their faces contort into disgusted looks, perhaps chuckling at their remarks of “There are barely any solos in this!”, “Is he using a trash can as a snare?”, “It sounds like the guy who wrote these riffs was late for something, but had to make an album anyway.”, or maybe even “This guy sings like the Arby’s version of Danzig.” After the last strained notes of criminally dull instrumental “Suicide & Redemption,” I would gently place the album covers of each of the three on a table in front of them, making sure their name was in full view. As their faces shift into silent horror, I would say, “Re-think everything you’ve written for this album.” and walk out. Then and only then could I get the proggier, 12-minute version of “Of Wolf and Man” I’ve always wanted, as well as the phrase “gimme fuel gimme fi-ah gimme that which I desi-ah” being stricken from our lexicon for good.
Easy. Metallica’s St. Anger. Imagine the fun to be had instigating trouble and playing the members (and producer) against one another. “Hey Lars, you shoulda heard the shit Bob Rock was talking about your mother.” A little effort and I’m positive that record could have been prevented.
Okay, kiddies, now it’s your turn! Weigh in with your answer to the question of the week below.