Interview with Brian Slagel owner and founder of Metal Blade Records.

I had the privilege of catching up with the legendary owner and founder of Metal Blade Records, Brian Slagel.

Hello Brian, this is Dennis from congratulating you on 30 years of Metal Blade Records.

When you founded Metal Blade 30 years ago, did you ever imagine at the time that it would grow into a worldwide organization?

Never! I was just a fan trying to help the scene. None of us back then ever thought Heavy Metal would get so big. It really is amazing.


I can remember buying the 1st 2 Slayer albums and seeing your name on the sleeves. To use Slayer as an example, how did you feel when bands that started with Metal Blade left to join other labels?

At the time, it was inevitable. We were a small independent label and I understood that as the bands got more popular they would go to the bigger major labels. After awhile we partnered with Warner Bros Records to be able to keep the bands.


What was the 1st band you signed to Metal Blade?



You appeared in the thrash metal edition of Metal Evolution in 2011,it was  recently showed here in the UK on Sky Arts 1, was it a fun program to do?

Yes, Sam and Scot do a tremendous job with all the documentaries. I have been lucky to be a part of most of them. I thought the did a great job with Metal Evolution and really happy to have been a part of it.


When you began importing NWOBHM albums, did you have a favourite band that stood out from the rest? I was about 16/17 when the movement began here, my favourite band was Vardis. Do you remember them?

Yes Vardis was great! Iron Maiden was and has always been my favorite.


What was the 1st concert you went to and which was the most recent?

Kiss in 1976 on the alive tour was the first concert I went to. Rammstein in Anaheim, Ca was the last one I went to.


What would be your favourite studio album and live album?

My favorite album of all time is Iron Maiden’s Number Of The Beast. My favorite live album is Thin Lizzy Live and Dangerous.


I would like to finish off my interview with 2 questions from Huw Davies, a good friend of mine in the UK and fellow tape trader from the 1980’s.

The Metal Massacre series of albums broke through many bands. Is their influence still filtering through today?

I think so. So many of those bands went on to have great careers. It seems these days even so many young fans are into that era of metal, which is really cool.


How did you feel when you 1st saw Metallica playing live?

They opened for Saxon at the Whisky A Go Go in LA. James only sang and did not play guitar and their set was mostly Diamond Head covers. They were actually pretty good for only their second gig ever. Still no one ever thought back then they would be as huge as they are.


Thank you very much for your time. Enjoy the Metal Blade 30yr anniversary and long may the label reign!


About Dennis Jarman

Full time downtrodden album/gig reviewer and part time rock God!