When Metallica first started to make a dent in the metal scene, most people had a hard time understanding what they were hearing.
We may have been used to the likes of Judas Priest and even Iron Maiden giving us something a little bit heavier, but these guys blended the punk speed and attitude with some of the gnarliest riffs of the early ‘80s, giving way to the entire thrash scene just a few years later.
They may have had plenty of fans at the time, but one of their peers wasn’t so sure that they actually had a future.
As Metallica drudged away playing any show they could before joining MegaForce Records, some of their first bills were working with local legends Twisted Sister, but Dee Snider wasn’t nearly as hopeful as they were about their future, saying:
“Watching them in Holland, turning to my bass player, I went, ‘You know, these guys got a lot of heart, but they’re never going to go anywhere.’ I couldn’t imagine that something so heavy could cross over and become accepted.”
Then again, Twisted Sister and Metallica are like comparing apples to…baseball bats in the world of heavy metal, but Dee was also quick to say that he has massive respect for Metallica for how they forged their own path, saying:
“they didn’t give an inch along the way, very impressive. they had individual deals with every different distribution company of the world, and I remember going, ‘These guys, they’ve not budged.’ ‘You want our record? It’s on our own terms.”
Funny enough, Metallica and Twisted Sister actually played more early shows together than Dee even realized, until the band themselves schooled him, saying:
“It wasn’t until we toured with them in Europe that they said, ‘Dude, we opened for you on one of our first shows on the East Coast.’ I was like, ‘Ah, yeah, I missed history apparently because I was too busy putting on my lipstick.’ So yeah, that was the first time, and then we toured with them.”
It might have taken a while for Kill Em All to work up to its potential, but Metallica weren’t going to stay in opening act territory for much longer, nearly blowing people like Ozzy Osbourne off the stage and hitting the arena circuit before they even made a video. Twisted Sister may have stood for the MTV era of metal, but Metallica weren’t going to put on lipstick to make you pay attention.