Top 10 Facts About Metallica's Album Ride the LightningRide the Lightning was recorded and released in 1984.
The only things they had were their guitars. Thank god the other metal bands helped.
"James had this special Marshall amp that had been modified when he recorded Kill 'Em All. We had to get all the Marshall amps from some of the metal bands that were in Denmark at that time, so like nine Marshall amps, and spent the first day testing them. We actually recreated James' guitar sound on Kill 'Em All, but just beefed it up. He was really pleased with that."
We, the metal fans, also like the sound of James guitar in this album and many fans would agree that James probably got his best tone ever.
"They were young kids. We didn't have any problems with them staying at the studio. But you know, they were like kids are, I enjoyed it. We'd start recording at 7 at night and go on 'til 4 or 5 in the morning. So they'd just crash and sleep all day."
It's strange that Flemming Rasmussen was only 26 years old and he was only 4 years older than Kirk and Cliff and 5 years older than James and Lars. But he talked about Metallica as if he was much older then them.
"It wasn't a particularly fun or happy time. But we were glad to be at a great studio in good working conditions. Everything else outside the studio was a struggle."
Rainbow's Difficult to Cure came out in 1981.
"We were really excited to be at Sweet Silence Studios because that's where Rainbow did Difficult to Cure. We were excited because we liked the sound of that album, and we were looking to get a similar sound for our album, using that studio and the same engineer, Flemming."
(Flemming is Flemming Rasmussen, the owner of the studio, mixer and engineer).
"Flemming was completely in tune to what we were doing. He was recording us with lots of ambiance, and we wanted heavy sounds and big drums."
"Mercyful Fate's rehearsal room was right next to Sweet Silence Studios. We actually finished the last couple of songs we did for Ride the Lightning - like "Fade to Black," "For Whom the Bell Tolls" and "Escape" - in their rehearsal room. We were obviously huge fans of theirs, but we also became friends and they were our peers."
"It was a trip meeting Mercyful Fate because their music makes you think the guys are a bunch of evil, satanic, human-sacrificing devil worshippers. But in reality, they're all a bunch of goofy Danish guys. King Diamond had a bit of an aura about him, but you couldn't find a sweeter, more funny guy than him."
Escape is a song with a more commercial sound - Metallica played it live probably only once (or twice).
Metal fans and Metallica fans aren't crazy about it either.
Flemming Rasmussen is a great metal producer and engineer because even in the early 80s he was completely aware of the nature and role of the metal music (especially that metal should not serve and please big audiences and labels). He said about this song:
"Metallica were on this small, independent label, so that was [the song 'Escape'] their way of pleasing a major label, so they could get signed. Luckily, they went away from that whole pleasing-a-record-label thing."
Funny how Escape is supposed to be a commercial song, and it went on to be the least known song on the album.
In fact they didn't play the song live until 2012 which was 27 years since the song was released
"I'm pretty sure Cliff didn't - well, it was Cliff or Kirk - but one of them just stood there moving his mouth. At one point, the other three decided not to sing, just to check it out, and either Cliff or Kirk didn't say a word".
"I was reading The Stand by Stephen King, and there was this one passage where this guy was on death row said he was waiting to "ride the lightning." I remember thinking, "Wow, what a great song title." I told James, and it ended up being a song and the album title."
"We didn't really have anything else to do besides work on music and drink Carlsberg beer. We collected absolutely every single beer bottle in our friend's apartment, because you were able to take in four six packs of empty beer bottles and get one six pack of full beer bottles back. Once we figured that out, that was a little thing that we did. Being homesick gave us the right amount of, I don't want to say "depression," but a little bit of longing that I think made its way into the recording process."