When We Were Young: Earliest Metallica Recordings + Chumbawumba's Anarcho-Punk Beginnings Unveiled | West Coast Sound | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly
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When We Were Young: Earliest Metallica Recordings + Chumbawumba's Anarcho-Punk Beginnings Unveiled

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Fri, Mar 5, 2010 at 10:50 AM

click to enlarge Chumbawumba, Bath, 1986. Discovered by punk historian, Ian Glasper - MARC FREEMAN
  • Marc Freeman
  • Chumbawumba, Bath, 1986. Discovered by punk historian, Ian Glasper

Hold on to your butts, this may/or may not blow your mind. Ready? Chumbawumba was at one time a punk band. Yes, that Chumbawumba, the "I-get-knocked-down-and-I-get-up-again" karaeoke stallwarts, were once anarcho-punks punching up pubs with the best of them in the early 80's Brit punk scene. Their most recognizable song, which by now is coursing through your brain, was a far cry from their Crass-inspired early days, but Vice Magazine takes a look back to the early days of Brit Punk with punk historian, Ian Glasper.

It may be a shock to think that Chumbawumba will forever be known for their pop anthem instead of their political statements, but it's not as much of a shock as learning that Metallica were once, in a galaxy, far, far way, teenagers. Looking at Metallica today, you'd think they were hatched from eggs, or possibly created as music industry robots, intent on keeping the music industry safe from illegal downloading, like they were heavy metal Gorts from the Day the Earth Stood Still (no Keanu).

Or maybe they're just arrogant rich-guys who pound out lawsuits faster than blast beats.

Well, before they were a corporation, Metallica was just a band of dudes with long hair and questionable hygiene. The Metal Den has the proof, they uncovered "one of the earliest Metallica demo tracks ever." The track was recorded two months after the band formed in 1982, and recorded in a garage using a "$49.00 ghetto blaster in the air, and with James singing through the guitar amp," according to "official Metallica historian," and Pig Destroyer doctoral candidate (not really), Bob Nalbandian.

And yes, it rules.

Listen to Metallica's earliest recording with (O.C.'s own Dave Mustaine playing all the guitar parts and James Hetfield singing) after the jump, with more notes but Bob Nalbandian.

click to enlarge metallica_LA_3_4_10.jpg

"For METALLICA fans, this was definitely the rarest, and earliest, material to ever surface. No one knew this recording even existed, since original bassist Ron McGovney had the only copy of this garage practice session (this tape was too crude even be labeled a demo!).

The tape features the Diamond Head covers "Sucking My Love," "Helpless" and "Am I Evil" (the latter two which Metallica later re-recorded and released commercially), and their very first original tune, "Hit the Lights." Recorded in Ron's garage in March of '82 (two months after the band was formed) by suspending a $49.00 ghetto blaster in the air, and with James singing through the guitar amp, this is surprisingly a great recording for using such primitive means! James' voice was very high at the time and Lars' drumming sounds like hoof beats. Nevertheless, the band sounds tight for only being together for two months. Dave Mustaine performs all the guitar work on this rehearsal tape (James was only singing at the time), showing that he was quite advanced for a nineteen year-old guitarist from Orange County!"

Seven year's later:

Hey look, Chumbawumba!

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