MTV and Metallica were not something commonly associated in 1986. The band's first promo video wouldn't surface until January 1989 with the …And Justice For All song, One. But this curio from the channel makes for fascinating viewing for fans of the band that would become the most successful metal act of all time.
The remastered footage, posted by YouTuber FabianEXP84, is nearly 46 minutes of Metallica's four members – including late bassist Cliff Burton – fielding phone interviews promoting their then-new Master Of Puppets album on 28 April 1986 at CMJ Media in Long Island, NY, USA. A rare extended insight into a band that had just released a new benchmark for their genre into the world a month before.
This is long before the days of high-end hotel suites, limos and platinum discs; the band are looking ahead to Japanese dates supporting Ozzy Osbourne and their own European headline tour that would result in the tragic death of Burton in Sweden on 27 September in the same year.
The real gold comes at 32:45 with James Hetfield and Burton being interviewed together, responding to the news Master Of Puppets reaching 30 on the billboard charts. There's the sense of two friends who are musical soulmates, in the prime of their lives and looking ahead with confidence. "We're up at around 30 in the charts," says Hetfield, "Hardly any radio play from major stations, a lot of college stations are helping out, but no video, no mass media, but still there's a huge buzz going on and I think it's because of our music. That's what's great – we're doing it our way and a lot of the major magazines are picking it up.."
"The music gets pretty intricate now and then," adds Burton with understatement about what sets Metallica apart from many of their contemporaries at the time. "A lot of thrashing bands are pretty straightforward in their approach."
Before that, multiple members fielding phone interviews at the same time, Hammett can be heard recording plugs for college radio, while Hetfield talks in another about 55-minute support sets with Ozzy mixing songs from their three albums to date, and Ulrich reads a review of Master Of Puppets. A simpler time, and impossible not to feel sorrow knowing what was to come with the loss of Burton.