Whenever a band rises to stadium-filling levels and sells boatloads of records, there is usually a lot of material like this book that materializes. These shots were meaningless when Metallica was still just a struggling metal band, but once they passed over to superstar status, these early photos gained a newfound status and value.
The author/photographer has apparently been shooting since 1979. He was the chief shooter for a heavy rock magazine called Metal Rendezvous International, and this status allowed him access to the then-fledgling band. This book contains photos from San Francisco clubs the Stone and the Old Waldorf, capturing the earliest images of the group's original lineup. This included guitarist Dave Mustaine and bassist Ron McGovney. Additionally, there are some historic photos of bassist Cliff Burton's first gig with the band, as well as Mustaine's final show and guitar player Kirk Hammett's debut appearance.
Here is how Hale himself described those early adventures:
"I was there with my camera at every one of their early Bay Area shows, live without a photo pit, crushed among the savage crowd as they headbanged fearlessly to their local heroes. It wasn't an easy gig by any means but it was an experience."
Indeed, being at the right place at the right time certainly paid dividends. There are some engaging shots here of the band live, backstage, and generally being rock hoodlums. If you're a diehard Metallica fan, you'll probably want to take a look.
Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. © Steven Rosen, 2009