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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  • Mr. Rock And Roll on

    This makes me feel old. I remember listening to my friend’s copy back in the day. I was like, “It’s Motorhead and Judas Priest with a punk anger”…

  • James K. on

    Oh man, 1982! Where have the years gone? I actually bought KILL ‘EM ALL when it first came out and had never heard of Metallica. Bought it strictly from seeing the album cover. I’ve heard parts of NO LIFE ‘TIL LEATHER but I never picked up a copy for myself. It’s pretty damn cool that they’re doing this for all us old farts.

  • shannon mehaffey on

    That logo is almost pure genius…I remember being a youngster with my subscription to Circus, and they had a book for sale in the classifieds, which was a spoof of Encyclopedia Britannica, this version, Encyclopedia Metallica, and this was way back in ’81 or ’ I figured that’s where they got their band name from. But, you listen to this and wonder why Dave Mustaine would ever talk to these guys again…they kick him out, take his music, then, as is evident here, they bring someone in who just duplicates his solos almost note for note…Dave got himself fired, that’s not in dispute, but it’s still the two wrongs fallacy. In other words, that still doesn’t justify what they did to him. It was like they just left him for dead on the side of the road. Every time he goes back and does something with them, they end up hurting him. Me, I would’ve never had anything to do with them again ever after 1983. Not saying that James and Lars are bad people, what did Vivian say the other day? people have different relationships with different people.

  • Michael Monet on

    I don’t get it. Is this being sold as a cassette or a CD with a cassette photo on the liner notes? It will be cool to hear Mustaine as an actual band member of Metallica. This is cool but a “big package of re-issues” sounds a lot like KISS type stuff. Lars and James will be the next Gene and Paul with too much stuff. The novelty wears off after a while boys. METALLICA MEETS THE PHANTOM LORD OF THE PARK. Hate to see a great band watered down with stupid stuff. I’ll proceed with caution.

  • Jess Tilley on

    Buying this for sure on Record Store Day!

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