BACKSTAGE RIDER: Hall of Fame

Metallica '83

Metallica

Long before drummer Lars Ulrich began collecting Basquiat and Dubuffet, Metallica was an opening act earning $1250 for two shows nightly in venues like the Bald Knob Amphitheatre in Arkansas and Broadway Jack’s in Chicago.

In 1983, the band toured the U.S. with Raven, an English heavy metal group, and toted around a backstage rider that ran to exactly one page.

In its 11 paragraphs, the Metallica rider stipulated that the group be provided with a case of beer. A deli tray, a case of soda, and other beverages had to be split with Raven. The document also noted that, “when possible,” each band should be provided with its own dressing room. In the alternative, “one capable of accommodating 15 people will be provided.”

As seen in the above photo, Metallica’s 1983 lineup was comprised of, from left to right, guitarist Kirk Hammett; bassist Cliff Burton; Ulrich; and front man James Hetfield.

Metallica, which now sells out stadiums and headlines festivals, is one of rock’s most lucrative acts, banking upwards of $1 million per show. By comparison, the band got $625 upfront (and $625 on the day of the show) when they played two 75-minute sets at Broadway Jack’s in December 1983, according to a contract between promoter Bill Bucholtz and Metallica’s manager Jon Zazula.

Bucholtz, who now operates Chicago’s Town Hall Pub, used to book heavy metal shows and kept some of his old show files (which were shared with TSG).

To help promote shows, Metallica provided venues with a press kit that included the band’s effusive recap of how it had become a “phenomenon” during its two years together. The group gushed, “Becoming legendary to most musicians is a major dream and is only realized through much hardship and struggles. To ‘Metallica’ it came almost immediately.”

The two-page typewritten band history described the quartet as “The Crème de la Crème of California’s heaviest and finest musicians under one roof.” (4 pages)

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