Metallica didn’t perform an impromptu parking lot set as some had hoped they would Saturday during the first annual Record Store Day, yet cheers rang out, tears fell and metal reigned during an epic six-hour marathon of autograph-signing, chatting and pictures.
Ending a grubby, shivering, boozy three-day parking lot camp-out for 400 fans, Rasputin Music and DVDs in Mountain View, CA near San Jose opened its doors at 10:30 a.m. to give away hundreds of RSD commemorative posters, T-shirts, and CDs. Songs from Master of Puppets, Kill Em All and Ride the Lightning played. James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett and 2003 addition on bass Robert Trujillo arrived individually by black towncar at 2 p.m. to commune with the black-clad throng, assembled from as far away as Australia and Japan. The screaming, bird-flipping hordes chased each car into Rasputin’s loading area, and surrounded the strip-mall building, awaiting a chance to asked their idols about American tour dates (“September,” said Hetfield) and vocals on the new album (“I’m working on ’em,” Hetfield promised). Others asked when they could hear the first new Metallica album in five years, produced by Rick Rubin (“This fall,” said Trujillo).
Ulrich sat at the front of the greeting table, the first to sign hundreds of Lightning vinyl records, Hetfield signature ESP Truckster guitars and more than a dozen plastic Guitar Hero controllers from the multiplatinum-selling video game. Lars laughed and commented, “I can only play one song, [Black Sabbath’s] “Paranoid” on ‘Expert’.” Meanwhile, Hetfield marveled as he signed sepia-toned, twenty-two-year-old Master of Puppets tour posters, or a full-sized back tattoo of the band’s logo, now adorned with four signatures the super fan intended to get immediately inked. “I couldn’t even speak,” said twenty-year-old San Jose, CA resident Ken Sapp.”It was the best experience of my life.”
Record Store Day co-founder Michael Kurtz of Los Angeles, CA. said nearly 600 stores internationally were hosting similar events in conjunction with bands like Björk, Vampire Weekend, A-Trak and Thrice. The Comic Book Store Day-inspired event came together late last year, and has hit a pop culture nerve, he said. RSD’s Web site recently surged to prominence, enduring a crippling hacker attack and hundreds of thousands of page view this month. “It’s been kind of shocking for us,” says Kurtz. “It’s just snowballed to the point where the Governor of Maine proclaims April 19th Record Store Day. Same with the Scottish Parliament. It feels like the beginning of something. Rumors of the death of the independent record store have been highly exaggerated.”
Metallica play European dates this summer after a one-off show in Tuscon, AZ, May 16th, and are expected to tour North America in the fall.