The story of Metal Blade Records is the story of Brian Slagel – a metal-obsessed Southern California kid who launched a fanzine and landed a record store job before cobbling together what he assumed would be a one-off compilation of fledgling bands from the LA scene. Released in 1982, the Metal Massacre LP included the debut recordings of local groups such as Steeler, Malice, Ratt, and Metallica. In the wake of the album’s unexpected success, Slagel virtually stumbled into creating a proper record label, issuing the first releases by Bitch, Armored Saint, and Slayer the following year.
Read by Brian Slagel in his own casual and informal style, For the Sake of Heaviness is an inside look at how he built Metal Blade from a one-man operation in his mom’s non-air-conditioned garage to the preeminent international home of heavy music it is today. He shares his insights into signing and working with Cannibal Corpse, Flotsam and Jetsam, Gwar, King Diamond, Manowar, Mercyful Fate, Overkill, and others.
Always hard at work on a diverse range of projects, Brian reveals the early advice he gave that helped guide Motley Crue’s career; how he helped Metallica replace their bassist – twice; his detailed work on Thin Lizzy and Alice Cooper reissues; his behind-the-scenes role in the careers of Mother Love Bone, Alice in Chains, and Lamb of God; and his unlikely ventures with kindred metal heads – from hockey star Ken Baumgartner, to celebrity chef Chris Santos, to The Howard Stern Show’s Richard Christy, to comedians Jim Florentine, Don Jamieson, and Jim Breuer.
Throughout For the Sake of Heaviness, Brian steps aside to present first-person insights and extended guest interviews featuring friends, colleagues, Metal Blade staffers, and a long list of artists, including Metallica’s James Hetfield, Slayer’s Kerry King, King Diamond, and many more. Each of these segments is performed in the audio edition by John Bush of Armored Saint.
Brian highlights the ins and outs of his 35-year metal odyssey, from promoting small shows in California’s San Fernando Valley in the early days, to forging a major partnership with Warner Bros. Records; from weathering the Parents Music Resource Center’s attempts to regulate lyrical content, to squaring off with Time Warner over Gwar’s envelope-pushing themes; from nearly going bankrupt after underestimating the impact of the rise of CDs; to surviving and thriving in today’s rapidly changing music business environment.
Featuring a foreword by Metallica’s Lars Ulrich, For the Sake of Heaviness pulls back the curtain to reveal the definitive look at how Metal Blade began, what they’ve accomplished, and where they’re going. With the help of cowriter Mark Eglinton, Brian Slagel invites the listener into a personal conversation about his life’s passion and the passion that drives Metal Blade – finding, exposing, and promoting the best heavy music on the planet.
Narrator: Brian Slagel, John Bush
Duration: 4 hours 36 minutes
Released: 19 May 2003
Publisher: BMG Books