So before Metallica’s Garage Inc, there was Garage Days Re-revisited. The $5.95 EP, ca 1987. Notice it says Re-revisited. That’s because the band released a single for Creeping Death in 1984 and the b-side was called Garage Days Revisited by the band because it featured two covers Am I Evil and Blitzkreig. Readers will now point out the use of Revisited in that title and be asking, if there is so much revisiting, where is the original garage days? What readers may not know is Metallica made a very early demo recording called GARAGE DAYS, pre-San Francisco thrash days, pre Cliff Burton and even pre James Hetfield rhythm guitar. This is listed on some fan sites of unreleased demos as Ron McGovney’s Garage Demo. And rightfully so. This is not a major release. It sounds like it was recorded on someone’s boombox that had a built in mic. Although, a Ron McGovney interview reveals it to be Lars Ulrich’s Teac 4-track.
This is the very first recording of the band at its very earliest creation. As stated above, Hetfield is simply the singer. Lars Ulrich is mostly some washy hi-hat cymbals and drum rolls. Ron McGovney does whatever Ron McGovney does, which seems to be providing the garage. Dave Mustaine plays ALL the guitar parts. If you’ve seen video clips of Mustaine saying, he was the only guitar player in Metallica when he joined. This would be that period.
A majority of the ten tracks are covers, which is why future Garage themed releases from the band are covers, many of them the same ones recorded on this demo. Three originals are present Hit the Lights, No Remorse and Jump in the Fire. When you listen to the recording from beginning to end, you realilze that Metallica got the whole master plan from Diamond Head. There are four DH covers here. I could hardly tell the difference between the covers and Metallica’s originals making it more like seven DH covers.
One track on this painfully lo-fi recording which is not listed on fan’s demo sites is the 14 minute jam. Its mostly the band capturing riffs and ideas. Possibly compiled over a couple days of practicing in Ron’s garage. We hear future Metallica/Megadeth riffs and songs but in a raw, early, awful sounding mess of guitars and bad drumming. Then of course there is Lars who sings, yes sings, his riffs into the boombox mic so that they can save the ideas to work them out later. Yes, this recording is both a time capsule and napkin of musical doodles.
In general I like to play a track or two for guests of this demo so they can have any notions about the universe as they know it smashed to bits. Early James Hetfield, even Kill Em All era, is a hard listen in terms of where the quality of his voice was at. This predates that. However, it is all necessary to understand how a monster is made.
I find it interesting that Metallica, only after 2 years decided to pay homage to themselves when they were jamming in a garage with the release of Creeping Death/Garage Days Revisited. It felt real and genuine for the time. I do not find it remotely interesting now. Its rather sad that Metallica has so run out of creative steam that they would recycle the Garage theme in a compilation and sophomorically package it with them in auto mechanic wardrobe. So clever. By the time Garage, Inc came together, putting millionaires in mechanic fatigues (like they even open their own waters anymore) is tasteless and played out. A photoshoot will not give you back your blue collar cred. And please pay Ron McGovney back for using his garage as an incubator for your MetalliCorporation.