Dave Mustaine says that he doesn’t think the previously announced expanded version of METALLICA’s 1982 demo tape, “No Life ‘Til Leather” will ever see the light of day.
“No Life ‘Til Leather” was released as a limited-edition cassette for Record Store Day in April 2015, available exclusively in 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 seven-song tape was recorded with the first lineup of the band that appeared live as METALLICA, including Ulrich, frontman James Hetfield, lead guitarist Dave Mustaine and bassist Ron McGovney. The original recordings were paid for by High Velocity record label owner Kenny Kane, with a view of making them available as an EP in 1982.
Asked in a new interview with Billboard what the chances are of this deluxe package ever being made available, Mustaine said: “I don’t think that’s going to happen. We talked about it a little bit, and there are certain things about the way Lars wants things to go down, and it’s just not going to happen. They want to say things happened one way, and it didn’t happen that way. I can’t go along with that. I can’t fabricate stuff.”
Ulrich told Metal Forces in 2016 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.
Ulrich 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.”
Last November, Mustaine tweeted that he was contacted by Hetfield two years earlier 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.”
When Ulrich spoke to Metal Forces in 2016, he made it clear that METALLICA was still hopeful that the expanded version “No Life ‘Til Leather” would arrive at a later date. “As you know, I am the eternal optimist, and I am the eternal ‘glass is well fucking half full,’ so who knows?” he said. “I think some of those parties have circled back around now that they’ve seen that this is real and so we’ll have to see. It would be great to share ‘No Life ‘Til Leather’ in a year or two with our fans and with the people that care. We haven’t shut the door on it.”