Brian Johnson Reviews Metallica “Enter Sandman”


AC/DC singer Brian Johnson recently had Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich on Life on the Road, and transcribed their comments.

“You guys came on, and I said, ‘I’ve got to check these guys out.’ And I remember it started with ‘Enter Sandman,’ and I remember listening to that…

“And everybody’s putting things in boxes – hard rock, thrash metal, diddly-dudley… And I remember listening to it and going, ‘That’s rock ‘n’ roll…’

“It was the drums that had a swing to it that regular thrash metal didn’t have.”

“You got to remember our musical roots were much more in you guys [AC/DC], Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin… We were much more in the harder rock ‘n’ roll stuff, so we just started playing it a little faster as we went along.”

Johnson said about the Moscow, Russia performance: “Thanks in part to the success of ‘Enter Sandman,’ ‘Black Album’ came into the American charts at No. 1.

“And as the Monsters of Rock tour rolled on, we found ourselves headlining above the band who at the time had the biggest-selling album in America.

“One show that stands out main memory more than anything was that time we shared a stage in Moscow – and we were in Barcelona – we got the call from Yeltsin.

“Well, not him personally, but it said, ‘You must come up to Moscow because the coup is over, and we promised the kids.’ They wanted rock ‘n’ roll.”

Ulrich added: “First of all, the whole experience – because, as you say, it was a show that was added on literally within a couple of weeks. There was a change of the regime all over Eastern Europe, and that was Russia’s turn.

“And from what I was told, the government negotiated with the students and with the kids that as part of the settlement they were going to get a rock concert. I was told there were half a million people there.”

You told me it was like 1.2 million [some estimates go as far as 1,600,000].

Lars: “Somewhere in between… There were a lot of people there, I think anybody everybody can agree on that. And the security guys were all Russian military.

“So when you look out over the crowd, it was just soldiers and there were these helicopters, these big old Sikorsky helicopters were flying over the punters. Literally, it looked like they could just reach up and touch them.

“It was scary. Sitting up there going, ‘Holy shit! This is intense. This is really alive, this feels like it could go off at any moment!'”

Brian added: “I remember when I was in our dressing room and I was getting pushed back. ‘I’m sorry, there are more kids coming in, you have to wait.’ And I wanted to take a pee.

“And I went out the back, and there was a concrete column with an old rusty ball on, and I remember thinking just, ‘I’ll take a pee here.’ And the two soldiers came up with a rifle, they were gonna shoot me.

“And I didn’t realize it was Sputnik, and it was quite a revered thing. But you could see in an instant how cruel and brutal these guys were. And then you went on the stage and saw the joy, these people just went wild, and I know half of them couldn’t really hear.”

Lars said about Metallica touring: “For us, it was album-tour-album-tour… Each album and each tour was just from clubs, to theaters, to small arenas, to bigger arenas…

“And by the time we hit the ’91-to-’93 tour, we just finished the ‘Black Album,’ and we had just put it out, and so it was the beginning of our two-year run, and we did six-eight weeks in the stadiums.”