The famous photographer from the early Metallica days reveals his memories in an interview for Harvester of Sofia
It is a great honor for Harvester of Sofia to meet you with Bill Hale. He is the renown metal photographer Bill Hale during the band’s formative years in the Bay Area club circuit between 1982 and 1984. As chief photographer of Metal Rendezvous International, a groundbreaking heavy rock magazine that was published throughout the ’80s, Bill Hale was given unlimited access to hang out with and photograph this then-fledgling metal band. His job at the time was to capture the band onstage and offstage and provide the magazine with unique photographs of the band showcasing their brazen live energy in concert to unveiling some of their crazy and unpredictable backstage antics. Bill Hale was right there from the very beginning, capturing the band before, during and after their performances. He was at every one of their early Bay Area shows, without the safety of a photo pit, crushed among the savage crowd as they head-banged fearlessly to the music of their local heroes.
In 2009 Hale released his book “Metallica: The Club Dayz 1982-1984”. It contains rare and exclusive photographs from six of the band’s earliest performances including their first shows in San Francisco at The Stone and The Old Waldorf which featured the original lineup with Dave Mustaine (guitar) and Ron McGovney (bass), Cliff Burton’s introductory gig with the band at The Stone, the last Metallica show with Dave Mustaine in San Francisco, and Kirk Hammett’s Metallica debut in the Bay area. Most of the photos in this book have never been published and many of the images have never before been revealed to the public.
1) What was the first Metallica song you heard and when? What did you think?
HA… That was “Hit the Lights” and it was over the phone… Lars had called and said something like check this out… They were still in Ron’s house!!!
Totally raw and I think they had to stop because one of Lars’ cymbals came loose and fell off its stand!!!
2) Do you remember your first time when you saw the band live and hоw was concert?
Yes that would be the 1st time Metallica had gigged in San Francisco at the Stone… September, 18th 1982…
3) Have you ever thought in 82-84, that Metallica will become one of the most influential bands in the history of rock music?
I knew that they would make it big… How big only time would tell…
4) Do you still keep in touch with the boys from the band?
I have not seem them in about ten years or so… But I do hear from them through our mutual buddies. Kirk live here in Honolulu, we have some of the same pals but our schedules are very different. I always get emails from friends saying that Lars said “Hi” or James said “Hey”…. I still keep up with Mustaine… Dave wrote the foreword for my next photo book on Megadeth!
5) Do you keep anything valuable from those first concerts – flayer, poster,Lars’s sticks, underwear …?
Yes… somewhere I have lars’ drum sticks…. He use to use Tennis grip tape on his stick, you know the green kind… And have flyers and autographs from them with Ron and Dave…
6) Do you think that rock and metal word would be so popular nowadays without the appearance of Metallica? Would the heavy music ever become mainstream without them?
Yes I do… Hard Rock and Heavy Metal was big before Metallica and if there was not any Metallica some other band would have filled the void… But the more important question should be if Lars had never seen Deep Purple when he was ten would he have still wanted to change from Tennis to the Drums?!?!?
7) What the band owes its huge success over the years. The talent of the musicians, the sense of music, Lars’s management or something else?
Yes Metallica’s success is two fold… Yes Lars had a vision and a game plan but the band owes a lot to its fans and that’s where Metallica is great. Cliff was the one who really started this. He knew that the fans were everything!!! James at a young age had some bad experiences with some BIG ROCK STAR fan club that never wrote back… So the band knows without you, the fans. the band would be nothing… CHEERS!!!
8) What is Metallica personally for you? Did Metallica change your life in some way?
Hum… Metallica was one part of the Bay Area scene back then… We all had a blast, you know, living the “Metal Dream”..
The day that Cliff died, that all changed… We all grew up a bit… We all had to face our own mortality… That life wasn’t all fun and games..
9) Do you know something about Bulgaria? Would you say something special to the members of HOS?
Don’t know much about your country.. BUT on June 22nd, 2010 Heavy Metal history was made in Sofia!!!
I had wished to be there to see Dave jam with James and Lars after all these years!!! That was my Metallica… Lars, Dave, Cliff and James!!!
Cheers, your blog is top notch and all the best with it!
Keep it Heavy ~ Make it Metal
Interview by: ASSSETO
1. Bill Hale promo photo for the Club Dayz book (photo © by Hanna Wilson)
2. Metallica group shot with Ron McGovney at The Old Waldorf, Oct. 18th, 1982
3. Dave and Kirk… This was the only photo with these two until The Big Four shows!!!
4. Cliff and Dave from Cliff’s 1st show with Metallica (3-5-83)
5. The cover to Metallica: The Club Dayz… (ECW Press)