This week marked the 31 year anniversary [editor’s note: jesus fucking christ] of Metallica’s equally lauded and vilified self-titled album, more commonly known as ‘The Black Album.’ It’s of course infamous for catapulting the band into the mainstream while also abandoning their signature thrash sound and speed that had made them underground kingpins. To this day, the record is one of the best selling albums of all time, and Metallica is still one of the biggest bands in the world by chart AND ticket sales, having sold an astounding 20 million tickets and over 1 billion dollars in gross concert ticket revenue throughout their career.
Dave Mustaine’s storied history with Metallica is well documented over the years. But what we found particularly interesting about the unearthed early 90’s interview below was that Mustaine [mostly] abandons his then-trademarked bitterness for Metallica in lieu of some actually thoughtful critique.
You can watch below, or if you’d prefer to read, we’ve transcribed Mustaine’s comments:
“Just because they’ve stripped down their sound and they’ve done some slower songs and stuff like that, I think anybody with half a brain would know that we’ve been compared to Metallica many many many times and then rightly so… I mean I was a big formulation in the beginning of that band. It’s like saying that they’re going to compare Joe Perry to Aerosmith. You know if he wouldn’t have joined back with Aerosmith, The Joe Perry project did one of the most uh accurate songs ever, let the music do the talking. Aerosmith did that. You know I talked to Lars the other day and I told him when I listened to his record [The Black Album] I said you know I thought that ‘The Unforgiven’ was the best song in the whole album and I listened to his whole album and this was [about the first time I heard it was almost a year ago or something]. And he goes ‘man that really meant a lot to me man’ you know and I went well you know I mean I really don’t really care too much for the rest of the album because that song means so much more than everything else because the chords were innovative and it was really cool.”
Mustaine went on to add:
“If people try and compare us to to a multi-platinum act that’s okay. It’s better than comparing us to a barroom band and some of the shit that’s around where we live. But I think you know if you have something successful and people are comparing you to that you know, it’s kind of a way of flattering. You know, for us to say that we’re compared to some of our predecessors that have achieved a much higher level of status than we have, that’s fine. Just spell our name right whoever you compare us to!”