Released: 2010, Backbeat Books
The public seems to have an insatiable appetite for books about Metallica. This month I review another three. First is WHIPLASH (1990) being one of the very first books on Metallica, the second, METALLICA (2010) and the last is BIRTH SCHOOL METALLICA DEATH (2013) being one of the most recent books. Please feel free to enjoy all the reviews in this mini-Metallica feature.
In January, 2014 I bought two books in a series called Guitar World Presents. In my reviews I gently teased the magazine for being lazy and just reprinting old material in book form. Seeing as these two books (Metallica and Van Halen) are virtually identical in execution, layout and design, I somewhat hypocritically did the same thing and duplicated large parts of my review word for word to avoid having to think of different ways to say the same thing twice in a row. Some call it lazy, I call it effective time management. Enjoy!
There are certain books and book series that I consider lazy. This is one of them. Although lazy can have a negative connotation, it is not always a bad thing. Guitar World Magazine in conjunction with Backbeat Books has published a series of titles that are essentially reprinted articles from the magazine. While compiling previously available material is not the most creative or innovative way to write a book these books are actually a great idea in my mind for a couple of reasons. One, it makes good business sense. Guitar World already owns the interviews and the means to reproduce them, why not capitalize on that fact? Secondly, it is really nice to have all the articles in one place, in one tidy package for fans.
The full title is GUITAR WORLD PRESENTS METALLICA and there are several books published by the esteemed magazine, and there are at least two other titles (to the best of my knowledge) in the series Stevie Ray Vaughn and Van Halen. This is a nice looking paperback, 258 pages long but with very little in the way of frills. There are 16 black and white photos, one for each chapter. The book starts with a 17-page history of the band by Alan Di Perna, Senior Editor of Guitar World. Cutting to the chase, this book is just a reprint of 15 interviews with various members of Metallica (mostly James And Kirk obviously), ranging from 1988 to 2009. Nothing more. Nothing less.
I can't really comment too much on the quality of the interviews. It would be like judging another persons phone conversation. Some of the questions are more insightful than others and the quality of the review will often be determined by how much the artists wants to say or reveal. Fortunately Kirk and James realize the value if interviews. They are not as entertaining as an interview with Lars but there are lots of interesting things they have to say. All I can say is if you are a fan you will want to read these long, in-depth interviews.
I don’t read Guitar World because I don’t play the instrument. To have all these articles in one book is a very appealing prospect for me because obviously I have never read any of these interviews before, except for maybe flipping through an issue while waiting in line at the grocery store.
If you are a older, long-time subscriber to the magazine you may have read all of these articles already and there may not be as much value for you. However, buying GUITAR WORLD PRESENTS METALLICA saves you from digging through those cardboard boxes in your basement and flipping through your old back issues again. You know, those boxes your wife keeps threatening to throw out because you haven’t read those dusty, old, rock magazines in 20 years? The ones you kept because maybe one day they might be worth something? Yeah, those ones. If you are a young fan and don’t know what a magazine is and can’t be bothered to download those old back issues onto your portable device, this book works as well. Everybody wins and Guitar World gets to resell the same interviews. Again.
Buyer beware. There is another title also called GUITAR WORLD PRESENTS METALLICA published in late 2013, which has the subtitle of ’30 Years Of The World’s Greatest Heavy Metal Band’. This newer version is an expanded edition of the 2010 version, in more of a collectible magazine style with lots of photos and about a dozen of the fifteen articles/interviews in the 2010 version are reprinted again. Choose wisely.