metallicawithdavemustaine640 Metallica are reissuing their 1982 demo tape, No Life ’Til Leather, as a limited-edition cassette. The tape will be released on April 18th, on Record Store Day.

The seven-track cassette was first released in the summer of 1982, when the group consisted of guitarist James Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich, with bassist Ron McGovney and lead guitarist Dave Mustaine, who would go on to form Megadeth.

The tape’s seven songs include Hit the Lights, The Mechanix, Motorbreath, Seek & Destroy, Metal Militia, Jump in the Fire and Phantom Lord. All but The Mechanix would be featured on the group’s debut, Kill ’Em All. Mustaine wrote the song, a speed-metal track, and later recorded it for Megadeth’s 1985 debut, Killing Is My Business…and Business Is Good. Metallica rewrote the song as The Four Horsemen and released it on Kill ’Em All.

At the time of the tape’s original release Metallica were just one year away from issuing Kill ’Em All, and No Life ’Til Leather shows them in their unvarnished state. Metallica have remastered the tape for this reissue but haven’t attempted to alter the mix so that it can present “the same innocence and, I guess, borderline ignorance, of four kids barely out of puberty, rockin’ along, doing their thing,” Ulrich tells Rolling Stone.

The reissue will copy the original’s J-card paper liner, right down to Ulrich’s handwritten track listing. Ulrich estimates that he mailed between 50 and 100 copies of the original tape to tape traders, who would copy the recording and pass it along to friends, helping to spread the band’s music and popularity.

No Life ’Til Leather will be released on Blackened Recordings, Metallica’s label, and will be the first of what Ulrich says will be many more reissues.

According to the drummer, there are a “lot of goodies that are laying around in cardboard boxes and tape vaults.” He hopes to announce “a big package” of reissues within a couple of months.

“Yesterday, I found another tape and handed it to [engineer] Greg Fidelman, and there was some crazy stuff on the B-side that I didn’t even know existed,” Ulrich says. “It’s all coming. We’re doing our best.”

No Life ’Til Leather has never been officially released, but the demo is widely available on YouTube. Listen to Hit the Lights, below.




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  • Rattlehead on

    I agree with Shannon that Metallica ripped off Mustaine’s music. He wrote alot of Kill Em All and some of Ride the Lightning, and he specifically told them not to use his stuff. And, for the most part, Hammett copied a lot of the solos that Mustaine created. Mustaine had a lot to do with the initial success of Metallica, and he should get the appropriate credit, accordingly. I always wonder if Metallica would be one of the biggest bands if not for Mustaine’s early contributions. While I really enjoy Metallica’s 80’s albums, I think they gave Mustaine a raw deal.

    • Eddie on

      They did credit Dave for the co-writes he had and pay him publishing. More than someone like Ozzy/Sharon has done for many songs/albums. Dave was a great part of the earliest days but let’s be honest, their biggest albums he had no role in so I think they would have done just fine.

    • shannon mehaffey on

      Those first two albums put Metallica on the map, the first band of that ilk that got on a major, which was unheard of in that particular music business climate. Fact is, they used Dave’s music as a crutch to get them over the hump. (They even duplicated his leads!) I rate subsequent records, Justice, and Metallica highly, even higher than their first two, but would they have even been in that position, with the resources to create such great music, without those first two records? They paid him, but that’s what they were supposed to do, Sharon is the special case, not Metallica. What I will never understand is why Dave has anything to do with those guys. They always end up trying to make him look bad.

    • shannon mehaffey on

      They credit Mustaine on the records, but they put his name last in the order, which is very misleading.

    • Eddie on

      I honestly don’t get the obsession over the whole thing. Especially since Dave has had great success on his own for decades. Yes Mustaine played an important role early, but I can’t agree that a take away few co-writes and solos on a few songs from the first two albums and Metallica would have never happened. Puppets is their landmark album and of course the Black Album. That would be like saying Judas Priest would never have made it without Al Atkins.

    • shannon mehaffey on

      Obsession? I thought this was just a discussion..
      Your Al Atkins comparison is pretty good, but Priest didn’t kick him out, and then bring in someone else, and they didn’t credit him inappropriately. Dave was the main writer on the songs they credit his name last. As for them not making it without him, well, we’ll just never know. I am not obsessed with any of this stuff….this is an aside, a way to kill some time, a diversion.

    • Eddie on

      I didn’t mean you were obsessed. I just mean it has been a talking point for decades and I don’t see why that’s the case. They credited him, paid him, acknowledged him for their anniversary shows and in their film, and he has had a great career of his own calling all the shots and being the man.

    • shannon mehaffey on

      Lol… O.K, your statement up there, now, reads much differently.
      Eddie, you keep saying they paid him and credited him as if this is some special thing they did for him, when that’s just what they were supposed to do. They took out his guts, music is personal. They put him in their film, and from what I remember, Dave was so humiliated by it, he wanted to be taken out, and they said no. They always put him down, with some kind of backhanded compliment. So, what I’m saying is, after what they did to him from the get go, why keep putting yourself in that position?

    • MikeyMan on

      Obsession? A great album by UFO!

    • Dana on


      That is, hands down, my favorite UFO album. Plus, it holds a special place in my heart. My first love, whom took his life a year ago, was a Michael Schenker fanatic and he loved that record. He introduced me to it, and I will forever entwine that album, those great songs and Schenker’s solos, with him.

      D from 🙂

  • Rattlehead on

    I don’t agree with the Al Atkins comparison. Atkins may have had a few writing credits on Rocka Rolla, but that album did not put Priest on the map the way Mustaine’s credits on Kill Em All did with Metallica. Yes, Mustaine has had a great career, but in my opinion, he is not recognized for the great impact he had on Metallica’s success. I realize that him being bitter about Metallica’s stardom didn’t helped the situation, but Mustaine was integral in Metallica’s initial success.

  • MetalMania on

    I see the Metallica/Mustaine situation more like Eddie I think. Personally, as a fan of both Metallica and Megadeth, I’ve always acknowledged Mustaine’s contributions to early Metallica but I’ve never felt like without him they wouldn’t have gotten anywhere. Maybe I’m unaware of how much writing he actually did contribute, but I don’t think the songs were “all his”. As for Kirk Hammett’s soloing on “Kill ‘Em All”, I think he’s even acknowledged much, or even most of it was based on what Mustaine had played – they were pretty much going into the studio when they brought Kirk in and he didn’t have time to re-write all new solos. Listening to “Ride The Lightning” I’d say it’s very evident, the soloing in that album is MUCH better and fits into the songs much more cohesively. I’m not saying Mustaine wasn’t a good lead player, he was and is, but his style was a lot more haphazard to my ears in the early days. That’s part of what I’ve always liked about him – he often sounds like he’s on the edge of out of control, balanced against the precision of his “hired gun” lead players in Megadeth. I could be wrong but I’ve always felt that at least after “Kill ‘Em All”, Cliff Burton was a bigger influence on the songwriting in Metallica than whatever was left from Mustaine.

    • shannon mehaffey on

      The primary purpose of my statements was to illustrate the reasons why I don’t understand Mustaine’s continued relationship with James and Lars, not so much to highlight his importance to Metallica’s career, although I’d say it’s pretty significant.

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