DAVE MUSTAINE Says Songwriting Credits Dispute Caused The Shelving Of METALLICA’s ”No Life Till Leather’ Release

Former METALLICA guitarist claims songwriting credits caused the cancellation of rare EP

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MEGADETH frontman Dave Mustaine says that a dispute over songwriting credits may have contributed to the shelving of the previously announced expanded version of METALLICA’s 1982 demo tape, “No Life ‘Til Leather”.

“No Life ‘Til Leather” was released as a limited-edition cassette for Record Store Day in April 2015, available exclusively at independent record stores. It featured artwork copies from drummer Lars Ulrich’s own personal copy of the original demo, as well as his handwriting. At the time, the band also promised that expanded editions of the demo, which had never before been commercially available, would arrive on CD, vinyl and in a collector’s set.

The original tape was recorded back in 1982 and featured Ulrich, frontman James Hetfield, lead guitarist Dave Mustaine and bassist Ron McGovney.

Ulrich told Metal Forces last year that “some unexpected difficulties on the legal side… prevented the ‘No Life ‘Til Leather’ box set and our vision for how we were going to kick this whole reissue series off. We spent some time doing that dance, but then James and I decided that it wasn’t worth it getting bogged down in all the unpleasantries, because this was supposed to be a celebration and not end up being a tug of war, so we thought, ‘You know what? Fuck it. We’ll just move on to ‘Kill ‘Em All’,” he said.

Lars did not want to get into the details of the exact issues that were preventing the demo tape from being released. “It’s a little more complicated than that,” he said. “There’s no reason to go deeper into it. It was just something that we hadn’t expected.”

Dave Mustaine took to his Twitter page recently, tweeting that he was contacted by Hetfield two years ago about “officially” releasing “No Life Till Leather” with “27 tracks, pics, the whole enchilada,” but, he said, “the talks broke down because Lars wanted credit on two songs I wrote every note and word to. I have the texts. I passed.”

“No Life ‘Til Leather” was recorded on July 6, 1982 at Chateau East Studio in Tustin, California. All the songs on the tape later appeared on the band’s 1983 debut album, “Kill ‘Em All”, including “Hit The Lights”, “Motorbreath”, “Jump In The Fire”, “Seek And Destroy”, “Metal Militia”, “Phantom Lord” and “The Mechanix”, which was renamed “The Four Horsemen” on the album.

“No Life ‘Til Leather” track listing:

01. Hit The Lights
02. The Mechanix
03. Motorbreath
04. Seek & Destroy
05. Metal Militia
06. Jump In The Fire
07. Phantom Lord

“No Life ‘Til Leather” recording lineup:

James Hetfield – lead vocals, rhythm guitar
Lars Ulrich – drums
Dave Mustaine – lead guitar
Ron McGovney – bass

Mustaine was the lead guitarist for METALLICA from 1981 to 1983, before being fired and replaced by Kirk Hammett.