HIT THE LIGHTS – When Heavy Metal Hit the Accelerator


Not a band I choose to listen to now but the first time I heard Metallica was in the early ’80s when I used to go to a Rock night at Sunderland Mecca. The DJ used to play a mix of standard rock tracks with plenty of AOR thrown in.

On the last night I went there I was looking at what records the DJ had lined up. I noticed a 12” cover with a black and red design on it but couldn’t make out the name. There was a lad next to me who pointed to the cover and said in a sharp tone ‘That’s next’.

I was still squinting at it trying to make out the name ’Oh aye, what is it’. Then he replied in a very deadpan voice ‘Them my friend, are the new gang in town’. I smiled not knowing what he meant, the DJ who was pulling the record out of the sleeve ‘He’s right, this record will wipe the floor’. He placed the vinyl on the turntable.

The last few bars of Heat of the Moment by Asia were fading out then a few seconds of silence followed which is usually bad for any DJ. Normally they have a seamless mix into the next track. But no, not this time. It was as though the DJ wanted to give the last song enough time to fully leave the room and prepare the audience for what was to come. A sort off respectful time of silence and contemplation.

I looked onto the dancefloor. It was midnight. Optimum time for the floor to be filled. But it was empty. This whole sequence seemed to be in slow motion. Above, the lights were slowly changing colour from blue to green. I could hear people ordering drinks at the bar. Glasses clinking. A distant laugh. Then a crackle from the speakers. The lad next to me raised his eyebrows. No turning back. Sound of thundering drums. Hit the Lights. Heavy Metal hit the accelerator.

The next few posts are interviews with bands who influenced Metallica. First up is Danny Haynes vocalist with Weapon UK.