A decade ago this week, those masters of metal merchandising Metallica transformed a soon-to-be-shuttered Sam Goody into a Metallistore.
The band spend the day busily hawking goods and signing autographs for what was their first in-store event in seven years. The New York record store was set to close its doors the following day, and its owners agreed to let it go out with a bang.
"This is the kind of thing that's pretty cool to do," Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich said. "We'd like to do it more often, but people around us tells us because of the numbers — whatever that means — that these are the types of things that can potentially can get pretty out of hand pretty quick."
Fans, many of whom received a free cassette featuring live Metallica songs recorded during a 1991 Moscow concert, seemed to appreciate the band's efforts.
"I think having them here today proves what everyone has always been saying — that Metallica are good to their friends," one fan said.
Another measure of Metallica's love for their fans was the seemingly never-ending world tour they were in the midst of.
"Twelve months turned into 15 months," guitarist Kirk Hammett said, "which turned into 17 months, which has now turned into 23 months. But yeah, we're gonna do six [more] weeks in the States, and then we're gonna go to Asia, Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand and then over to South America and then end with a stadium tour in Europe."
Meanwhile, a band not known for its ability to rock, veteran British synth-pop group Depeche Mode, was trying to change that on Songs of Faith and Devotion.
"[A rock and roll song] is probably totally completely the opposite to what anyone was expecting Depeche Mode to put out," singer David Gahan said. "I think that's a really good thing, because I think we've always challenged people with something different every time we put out a record, and this is again gonna challenge a Depeche Mode fan and hopefully new people to come listen to the album as well."
The rock song in question is the first single, "I Feel You." The band's sequencers and computers were given a rest as Depeche Mode recorded the guitar, bass and drums live.
"I suppose it is quite different-sounding for us," keyboardist Alan Wilder admitted. "It probably surprised quite a lot of people. It is quite rocky, but it still has very much the stamp of Depeche Mode."
Another new wrinkle on Songs of Faith and Devotion is the use of additional musicians. The band employs gospel singers on "Get Right With Me," and on "One Caress" guitarist/keyboardist Martin Gore sings along with a 28-piece string section. Though Depeche Mode were happy with the results of their experiments, they said there were misgivings at first.
"We've never actually found it easy integrating any new people into our setup," Gahan said.
Still, "we wanted to challenge ourselves," he said, "in as many different ways as possible with this record, which is why it has ended up sounding so different to any of our other records.
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