WHAT THE ARTIST’S HAVE TO SAY ABOUT “OBEY YOUR MASTER” AND METALLICA
ANDY BIERSACK: “As a young kid growing up I had very few interests in life apart from heavy metal music, one of the most fond memories I have of early adolescence is sitting in my living room with my childhood friend Kenny and watching Metallica VHS tapes. We would make guitars out of left over cardboard boxes and thrash along singing every lyric and banging our heads until our necks felt as if we had been in a fucking car crash haha. As I got older and began to write my own songs the tone and style of James’ lyrics and singing became a huge influence to me. The use of religious and cult metaphors and tenacity with which he sang was something I aspired to and to this day continue to be inspired by. Metallica is the quintessential heavy metal band. Equal parts darkness, intellect and vitriol. All hail the kings”.
SHEPARD FAIREY: “From the first 30 seconds of “Fight Fire With Fire” I was hooked. Metallica first appealed to me because the aggression and rage in their music mirrored my own teenage feelings of frustration. I could vent my anger… vicariously through Metallica, and directly by grinding curbs and coping on my skateboard. The visceral musical experience of Metallica stood my arm hairs up, but as I listened to their lyrics I realized that there was depth and social commentary not demonstrated by most metal bands. I was already a fan of punk bands like the Dead Kennedys and the Clash who voiced strong opinions in their lyrics, but Metallica bundled the heaviest, most intense music with lyrics examining war, conformity, abuse of power, cycles of violence, and mental and emotional fragility. I became a vocal Metallica disciple in the mid-80′s, making a home-made Metallica tee(the first of several) and converting many of my high school friends to fans of the band. Because I’m a visual artist, I don’t think it hurt that Metallica has a bad-ass logo and album art, but I’m mostly a huge fan because of the trinity of great music, great social commentary, and great art. Oh yeah, and Hetfield has serious cred for breaking his arm skateboarding”.
GERARD WAY: “Having been a fan of Metallica for years, their music has always inspired my artistic expression in various mediums.. So, when I was asked to be one of the artists to create an art piece inspired by one of their songs for the upcoming Obey Your Master art show, it was a no brainer.”
USUGROW: “Every new album they release, there is an increase in different intensity and depth. It has been constantly fresh, instead of retreading good old days. I myself wants to be like this as an artist. I got hooked on master of puppets when I was teenager, and I am still excited to hearing new album”.
SYLVIA JI: “Metallica was the soundtrack to some of my darkest moments and hours, and for a time was a force behind much of my early work. I remember listening to each album for the first time and being so dumbstruck, it was like a roaring ball of fire that just obliterated all other music. “
LAUREN BERGMAN: “We can’t measure the things that shape us, challenge us, and make us look at the world in new and different ways. We’re all an amalgam of many forces that shape and drive us to create in a unique voice; to throw back at the world an expression of what we have taken in and processed. For me music is always a key to both opening up new internal worlds, and also a springboard for visual creativity. I was a newbie in NYC and Metallica was the musical backdrop as I was trying to figure out my place in the whole confusing mess. Loud, dark, high energy – the music, the city, my life. The themes in Metallica’s songs such as freedom, truth, identity, questions of life, death and sanity, spirituality, morality, and our purpose on the Earth thrummed both inside me and all around”.
NATE VAN DYKE: “When I was in elementary school I had a friend, Josh, who worked at a music store. He was well aware of the type of imagery I drew even back then and he was the one who introduced me to Metallica. I think in some ways I think he saw it as a fitting match to my art and overall approach. A fitting match to my young nature.
What grabbed my ear first about Metallica was their sophistication compared to a lot of the other bands around at that time. The Master of Puppets album was almost like this beautiful orchestra that had a secret beneath its skin. I fire that burned below the surface that would bubble out of it’s cracks. When I would listen to their lyrics it felt as though they were the first ones to speak to you as an equal rather than the way you were clearly treated like a kid by the rest of society. They almost helped mold and raise me in ways that a father and your family can’t. I would listen to these albums on endless loops and I’d immerse myself in my drawings. Only dinner could pull me away and then I’d go right back to where I left off. Not much has changed to this day. I still have to the same cd’s and cassettes (yes… cassettes) that I had back then. Now I listen to a greater variety of music then I did when I was kid but Metallica still owns my ears, heart and drawing table to this day”.
JOE PETAGNO: “1. I was then and still am big on Thrash metal and as I remember it, I picked up Metallica’s first LP Kill em’ All along with Anthrax’s Fistful of metal back in 83 or 84 from a local record shop in Copenhagen.,
which I literally wore out, I’ve been following them since. With tracks like Blitzkrieg, Four horsemen, and
Motorbreath it was an immediate hit with me.
2. I‘ve been in the music business now for over 40 years and band lyrics have been my staple diet and constant
source of inspiration, backed with extensive reading. I have at least 5 paintings in my collection that are Metallica inspired, I mean how can you not be inspired as a sleeve designer by: All the reflections look the same in the shine of the glory revolver, with hell in my eyes and death in my veins the end is closing in, crushing metal ripping skin, tossing body mannequin, spilling blood bleeding gas, mass hysteria a megalomania reveal dementia reveal…I like to mix em’ up attaining an even broade picture of the Faustian soul.
3. Its pure and simple, they compliment each other a perfect symbiosis. Music dictating form, Art defining movement, with Poetry / lyrics forming the back bone and if they are strong visually as are Lars and James’ they can be interpreted personally or collectively, as Art can…it’s always been like this Art is Music-Music is Art.
4. Well…Firstly this is a rare for me, I usually don’t take part in exhibitions and I rarely sell originals. Secondly I respect Metallica’s active, fighting and victorious being and the concept of this particular exhibition was right up my dark little ally. And last but by no means least; I started my career on Wiltshire blvd. back in 1967 at an outdoor Art market. A few years later I bid farewell to the U.S of A. with a billboard on Sunset strip featuring Alice Cooper’s Billion dollar bill, since then my work has not been seen publicly in California and Exhibit A is located just around the corner from where it all started, so you could say the prodigal son returns and rather appropriately with a piece entitled “Don’t tread on me” Carpe diem baby – Welcome Home!”
GAIL POTOCKI: “I can’t remember the first time I heard Metallica. They were one of those bands that I heard “about” more than you would find on the radio. But more than anything, they were in my brain before I knew it. I think that a big part of what I like in art is when something that would be considered terrible is grasped, wrestled, and transformed into something beautiful, and Metallica has always represented that to me.
At the core music and art are the same thing except music is fluid whereas painting is static. Beauty in both music and art has the same qualities (for example rhythm, line, harmony, color…) When I am listening to
music as I work, these qualities of the music often fuel the emotional aspect of my work with a line or phrase in a piece of music crystallizing into a a single moment in time on the canvas.
I wanted to be in this show because I thought the idea to consciously look to a song for inspiration for my art was intriguing, and Metallica’s music and songs offer a wealth of visual layers in which to respond to with painting.”
PER OYVIND HAAGENSEN: “It’s kind of strange writing of my relation to Metallica, whose music has basically followed me throughout my whole life- it would be like talking of an old best friend, the importance of such a relationship. It’s profound. So where do I begin. Ok, so there are many changes in your life, bumps on the road. Sometimes they happen so fast it sets you off balance, and you need some external force to help steer you right again. Help you remember where you come from, awaken the wolf inside you, the strength and confidence you need to pick yourself up and say ‘hey, it’s me and you against the world, buddy. To hell with all, we got each other and we can do this.’ Metallica has surely been there for me all the way. No matter where I go, what situation I’m in, I can put on a record and find my footing. My friend of misery… more like my brother in arms. The Lyrics and the music touches some primal core we all seem to share. Those who don’t like Metallica probably also deny their primal connection to the world and other people.It’s easy to see in retrospect how the first albums, with their more in-your-face lyrics and aggressive style easily appealed to me the most when I was very young. But with age comes complexity, and this is reflected in the progress of the band too, with more personal, serious and complex topics. More about mind than matter. I have to give them alot of credit in awakening my awareness of the sometimes obscure machinations going on around me in the world. That there’re no absolutes, no simple answer and that the perception of justice and moral is extremely relative from one end of the world to the other.Growing up in a fairly Christianity biased society, with Christian teachings being obligatory at school, it’s hard to not be totally consumed by this mindset. Carried down a narrow path of thinking along with the rest, simply for solidarity. Everyone else is thinking like that, I guess I should too. You need to step off the path for a sec and get an overlook, ask yourself ‘what is really going on here? Look at the world around you, something doesn’t quite fit. This can’t be the only answer.’ For me, “The God that Failed” touches on this.
I’m not saying that I found the answer in Metallica, and I’m sure they’d never mean their art to be the answer. They simply opened my eyes and mind to start looking beyond face-value. I can only hope they continue to roam and expand horizons.“
TONY ALVA: “Melody, Majesty, Power! Metallica has it all, Rocks Rulers”
BRIAN M. VIVEROS: “VIVA METALLICA!! Hands down to the OG greatest metal band of all time and still killin’ it. They’re truly an inspiration to me and my work. My go to album when painting is ” Master of Puppets”. I remember listening to this album back in the day and being blown the fuck away. So POWERFUL, still gives me chillzz. It’s about time we pay homage to the masters of metal with this amazing Art exhibition that I’m so honored to be a part of”.
KAVES: “Participating in this show makes sense to me. You can’t possibly get more “underground” than what I was doing – patrolling the grimy NYC subway tunnels from the age of 10, armed with spray paint, seeking recognition and respect. The way Metallica came up wasn’t all that different. Nothing fancy…no glamour to it. Just getting down in the trenches and making as much noise as possible, with their own stamp on it. They didn’t care if MOST people understood – they just knew that a dedicated few DID and that’s how I felt too. The art world ignored us, so the trains became our canvases. The mainstream music world ignored Metallica, so they decided to bulldoze the door down with an army of followers. We also both wanted to still be standing years later as examples of how it’s done, while keeping your integrity right where it was when you started out. It’s clear that we have accomplished that. One of the biggest misconceptions about graffiti is that it was all done by kids into rap. While I definitely was, hip-hop culture was in it’s very early stages when I started (1980) and owning the music was hard to come by. There just weren’t many rap records out there yet. I ran the streets and hit the trains alongside kids from all walks of life, including Metalheads. When I first heard Metallica, I got the same type of rush I got when risking my ass in those tunnels, especially when it came to dealing with the 3rd rail. A lot of writers lost their lives going for their “fame” down there. They ignored the consequences and craved that rush, knowing full well it could end at any time. And when I say “end,” I mean THE end. ‘Ride the Lightning’ made me think about the chances we take when going after what’s important to us, for better or for worse. Thankfully I’m still here to tell the story. Not everyone was so fortunate. I bet the guys in the band past and present never realized how much they had in common with graffiti.”
DAN MAY: “Back in the nineties I used to race mountain bikes. On the way to a race we’d always throw in some Metallica. Listening to the albums “…And Justice for All” and “The Black Album” on the drive up became part of our tradition. It was definitely a great way to set the tone for the intense and grueling journey ahead. I can’t hear those albums today without thinking about those races and the times spent with great friends. Sitting here and listening to Metallica now, makes me want to go hop on my bike… or maybe just grab a paint brush and see where it takes me!”
DAN HARDING: I’ve always been a fan of Metallicas music and it’s been a very big inspiration to my art. The first few seconds of any one of their songs offers up a thousand different images to me. The darker lyrics are something that not only create a great sense of mood but I can definitely relate to a lot of them. I’m always looking forward to what they do next. A truly great band!
CHAD MICHAEL WARD: “It’s 1986 and I’m an awkward teen struggling with post-puberty in junior high in a small town in Northern California. It’s gym class and the objects of my raging hormones are two beautiful young stoner girls, each adorned in concert tees for some band I’d never heard of called Metallica. One wears a shirt with a toilet on it that boldly proclaims “Metal up your ass!”; the other bears a sullenly painted graveyard beneath an angry red sky. I’m smitten.
The following year, I get my first taste of Metallica’s music through a new friend of mine who has a copy of Master of Puppets hidden beneath his bed. By the time my ears adjust fro the opening assault of “Battery”, we’re well into the “Master of Puppets” track and my mind is blown. I’m smitten once more.
…And Justice for All gets me through the remaining years of my troubled high school career and by the time the Black Album drops, I’m a lifelong fan.
Shortly after high school, the band releases “The Unforgiven” and a music video that would go on to shape my early artistic brain into the demented thing it is today.
To date, there isn’t a single other band I’ve seen play live more times than Metallica.
“Metal up your ass”, indeed.
DAVID STOUPAKIS: “The first time I heard Metallica was back in 1986 a friend of mine passed me a tape cassette and said check this out you never heard music like this before and man was he right. The first track was Battery and that song kicked my ass it just blow my mind it was the most intense shit I ever heard. This was a hole new kind of metal. From that minute I was hooked.”
CHLOE TRUJILLO: “Funny how someone wouldn’t necessarily think of Metallica’s music as inspirational,healing and transcendental.Well to me it’s the balanced harmony between heavy,powerful riffs and deep,meaningful lyrics that creates the magic!”
SORROW: “I was born in 1974 to an artist mother and musician father. I grew up looking at all my parents album covers and shirts of the 70′s which inspired my love of metal and punk through the 80′s and 90′s to present day. Metallica’s music is one of my biggest influences in my graffiti, fine art, and graphic design to this day.”
PAUL CHATEM: “Metallica is one of those bands that, when you first hear them, whether you love ‘em or hate ‘em, you never forget them. The first time I remember becoming aware of Metallica, I was 10 years old, hanging out at the Pinball Plus, when a dude in a black Camaro pulled up out front blasting music I’d never heard before. He got out of his car, sporting a “Ride the Lightning” t-shirt, and before I knew what was going on he cut the lock off my bike, threw it in his trunk and sped off. I was intimidated and impressed all at once. Two days later I stole money from my mom’s purse and bought the album. Been a fan ever since.”
STEVE CABALLERO: I was first introduced to Metallica from a fellow skateboarding friend who gave me a cassette tape of their album- Kill ‘em All in 1983 and after that i was hooked, i’ve been a huge fan of their music ever since then!”
PATRICK FOGARTY: “Imagine how difficult it must have been to become Metallica without a band like Metallica out there to emulate.”
JON CHASE: “Metallica is the biggest and baddest metal band of all time period. I can’t count how many hours I have listened to the music which inspired me to create my artwork. I can still remember the first time I heard Hit The Lights many years. Felt like I was punched in the face and set on fire, and still get the same feeling today. METALLICA still kicking ass! “
NAZRN: “I was introduced to Metallica twice. The first was somewhere between the age 0 thru 12 years old, haha. I recall acknowledging the name, since I would see the name everywhere (patches, jackets, posters, tv, etc). I knew and understood it was “METAL”, it was an acknowledgment to what I would later understand as “GENIUS”. I was re-introduced to Metallica at the age of 13 by my step-brother, Zack; who would lock himself in his room, listening and playing Metallica, over and over. Those thunderous, yet melodic riffs would be on repeat for me in the afternoon and on the weekends. I felt as though I was being brainwashed, at first I couldn’t withstand it, but I would later begin accept it, accept his passion and admire it! I would sneak into his room to analyze his guitars, equipment, posters of James and Kirk and his Metallica albums (song titles, logo, etc) trying to understand his persistence, his obsession and his love. With that acceptance, came a push for me to pick up my first bass guitar, I wanted to emulate my brother, I wanted a passion, obsession and a love: most of all, I wanted to express myself. I could only wish I had a band as strong as Metallica to influence me, but at that time that was “Zack’s band”, I wanted just as big of an influential band to take me on a journey, that wasn’t easy to find. The acceptance of Metallica turned me onto a side of life, I knew I had inside of me, a force stronger than any band, any movie, any book.. a force that made me, made them and made us. RIP ZACK “
ROBERT HARDGRAVE: “Seek and Destroy”: The first version of this song I heard was on a tape a friend had made for me. To fit the song on the 45 minute cassette he sped up “Seek and Destroy” so it played at a faster rate than the rest of the record. It wasn’t until years later that I heard it at the normal speed. Even though it sounded like the chipmunks, I still loved that song.“
SQUINDO: “There’s no where near enough room for me to sum up what Metallica means and represents to me and my life. To have the opportunity to work with people whose music unknowingly to them, has been my driving force,
energy and the foundation to most of what I create and even who I’ve become is not only an honor but
continues to influence and push me every day. Full speed ahead!”
SHAWN BARBER: “Music and tattoos always bring me back to that first time experience. Metallica’s ‘Kill ‘Em All’ was skipping school to steam rolling and Milwaukee’s Best on Venette Street in Cortland, NY. I was 13 years old, hanging with my best friends, rocking out, without a care in the world. This album solidified my love for metal.”
LANGO: “When I was 8 years old, a friend of mine in Rio got the “Ride The Lightning” LP and played it for me. I was just a little kid then, so when I saw the photo of Cliff Burton on the back of the record sleeve, I couldn’t tell if he was barfing or possessed or just insane. It was at that moment I realized I had discovered some next level rawness.”
TRAVIS LOUIE: “I remember the first time I heard Metallica. I was listening to a college radio station WCWP, that played Metal on the weekends. It was broadcast from C W Post college in Long Island. I think it was the album “Kill’em All”. I haven’t been the same since.”
TRAVIS SMITH: “Metallica has been there for most of my life. I discovered them when a friend insisted on selling a tape to me because he needed lunch money. From that Whiplash EP in ’84 to bringing a new copy of Death Magnetic back to my home studio on release day almost 25 years later, I guess you could say I grew up with them, in more ways than one.
Early on, they gave me something new in music before I even realized I was looking for it. It was like nothing else I had heard and I didn’t know what to think of it at first. With a few more listens it clicked and I was completely sucked in. From that point I made sure I was there every time they came though town, and had every new record on release day. I spent hours absorbing the music and contemplating the artwork and lyrics, especially with Lightning and Puppets, which to this day remain two of my all-time favorite albums.
They had the presentation, they had the songs, they had the energy, they had the attitude…they are the whole package. Visualizing music as often as I do, I find a lot of inspiration in the songs of others. There is a story in the lyrics and a sense of mood in the music itself and Metallica is one of the first bands to not only inspire these ideas but instill in me a sense of appreciation for the importance of all the details–visual representation, the sound, and the lyrics–falling into place and working together just right.
Lyrical themes of violence, death, manipulation, social ills, and other horrors dominated the earlier albums. Some being subjects I didn’t yet identify with first hand but still offered something to think about, different ways to look at certain things, or simply spun somber little tales my imagination could run away with for a little while.
Later, the music started getting a bit more emotional and the lyrics became more intimate and introspective. They were touching on things that were hitting a little closer to home and I really began to relate and find inspiration on more of a personal level. The lyrics were left open to interpretation but it wasn’t difficult to put myself in their place for a while, if maybe not for the same reasons. With the “new” sound it was like before – I didn’t know what to think at first but it wasn’t long before I was sucked in. It was different but no less powerful. It was again, unexpected and unsafe. It was pure Metallica. It’s this period where I found the inspiration for my contribution to the Obey Your Master Exhibition, and I’m honored to be a part of it.”
WYNN MILLER: “Metallica Rocks! They’re my favorite band!”
SAMMI DOLL: “There hasn’t ever been a time in my life that I’ve ever not had Metallica in my surroundings. The black album came out when I was 4 years old. My earliest memory was watching the enter sandman music video on MTV, the unmistakable intro riff filled the living room on our tiny tv and usually resulted in my sister and I head banging, playing air guitar and me jumping all over the couches. That summed up a lot of my early childhood. My sister was a huge influence in directing me toward rock music. She is 10 years older than me, I remember her making cassette tapes for me to listen to in my pink troll walkman – mostly consisting of Metallica songs … which is where I was introduced to what came before me… Seek and Destroy stuck out along side Master of Puppets. I would play these songs in my headphones as I would fall asleep, checking to make sure, of course, the creepy sandman was nowhere near before my subconscious overtook me for the night. I have them to thank for a lot of my influence in art and music today.
Metallica are icons. They paved the road for all. There’s no discussing it.”
NICOLA VERLATO: “The Moscow concert of 1991 makes me feel that the gods are back once again on our wasted land: hundreds of thousand of people transformed into an immense ocean where towering black monoliths reach the sky traversed by the menacing flight of helicopters which guard over the screaming of the land… Only Metallica’s hypnotic guitar riffs, incessant beating of the drums, and powerful epic lyrics, could achieve such grandeur… I wish I was there….”
CHRIS PETERS: “I first encountered Metallica when I saw their video for the song “One”. Combining the film and song was very innovative and impactful, and I like how this show is combining art and music.”
VICTOR CASTILLO: I remember first listening to Metallica when I was 14 in Chile, on cassette tape, and I was attracted to the music as a powerful stimulus. I liked the style, especially the first albums that came out during the time, and I would listen to the music while drawing. I even copied the letters on Metallica album covers in my sketchbooks.”
NATHAN OTA: “I have to admit that my early memories and taste of music was mostly Punk Rock and for some reason, I know it’s completely different but I couldn’t get past associating Glam Rock with Metal. I was a kid, can’t blame me for that! I think bands like Metallica and Motorhead really opened my eyes to a whole new world of some raw, old fashion, fast paced, thrashing music that I loved so much! “
KATY RODRIGUEZ: “The best Metallica memory for me was, meeting a girl from Italy that learned to speak English by listening to Fade to Black”
SHAWN CRAHAN (AKA #6 or CLOWN): “As a musician, their music has taught me to allow myself to become more complex and dig deeper from the norm and search for things not yet created that are tense and complex that can move the human condition in ways not yet known or understood. As far the lyrics go, I’ve always felt that the lyrics are what makes them Metallica, just as much as the music. It’s their signature. There’s a sense of one’s self; a belief in your own ability to be true to the vision of your dreams.”
KIM SAIGH: “My introduction to Metallica was at the Monsters of Rock tour,when I was 14 years old. I had never seen such die hard fans go crazy the way they did that day,and it was infectious. The rest of the bands seemed flat out boring after their performance, they were like machines on stage- I had never seen anything like it! That was the 1st of many,many Metallica shows for me…”