Metallica has had a long and incredible journey throughout musical history, from forming in 1981 to even earning the coveted induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April of 2009.
During their early years, like many bands, Metallica released many demo tapes when trying to get signed. No Life ‘til Leather, a demo tape recorded in 1982, became one of their most treasured collection of early works. Some of the most popular songs of that tape would also appear on Metallica’s debut studio-album Kill ‘Em All. In fact, both track listings appear to be similar, but the music has some different quirks such as the lack of a few of Cliff Burton’s bass solos.
No Life ‘til Leather was originally recorded as a seven track demo tape featuring the first lineup of Metallica: Lars Ulrich, James Hetfield, Dave Mustaine, and Ron McGoverny.
Music blog Blabbermouth states that in preparation and support for the March 2015 Record Store Day, the band announced that there will be a limited edition release of the aforementioned demo on cassette only and solely available in independent record stores. The limited release featured personal artwork of the original from Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich No Life ‘til Leather as well as expanded versions of the demo songs released on CD, vinyl, and as part of a collector’s edition.
Before the release of the collectors box set, Ulrich released a statement to Metal Forces in 2016: some unexpected difficulties on the legal side […] prevented the No Life ‘til Leather box set and our vision for how we were going to kick this whole reissue series off. We spent some time doing the dance, but then James and I decided that it wasn’t worth it getting bogged down in all the unpleasantries.” Many sources have tried to press further regarding what was the actual cause in preventing the reissue release, but Ulrich replies with “it’s a little more complicated.” Earlier on November 30th, however, Mustaine released a twitter statement claiming that Hetfield contacted him two years ago concerning the release, but that due to Ulrich wanting credit to songs that Mustaine “wrote every word and note to”, he passed.
As of now the release for the collector’s edition is indefinite, but Ulrich has said that they “haven’t shut the door on it.” See our review of their Hardwired….To Self Destruct here.
“No Life ‘Til Leather” track listing:
- Hit The Lights
- The Mechanix
- Seek & Destroy
- Metal Militia
- Jump In The Fire
- Phantom Lord
“No Life ‘Til Leather” recording lineup:
James Hetfield – lead vocals, rhythm guitar
Lars Ulrich – drums
Dave Mustaine – lead guitar
Ron McGovney – bass
Photo credits to Mauricio Alvarado