Do I Sue Metallica? Or Do I Sue Harper?
I sorta feel like I could sue someone's pants off Napster style, but obviously I'm not going to try; because I like Harper and I like Metallica.
So let me explain.
I bought the new Metallica CD today - Death Magnetic. And once I got it, I immediately opened the CD up and started flipping through the coffin booklet... which sort of resembles a hairy vagina on the cover, but that's beside the point.
There's a die-cut coffin through the entire booklet of album art and with each page, the coffin gets smaller and smaller. All of the pages have fancy, professional photos along with lyrics to the songs. It's really a great booklet. The album art is really well done.
Once you get to the last page - the bottom of the coffin - there's a bright blast of light with silhouettes of dudes holding up the rock/hang loose fists. That photo, the last photo of the coffin booklet, that BIG BANG photo - is a photo that I took with my Sony Clie.
I am not even kidding. It was a super low-res, 640x480 pixel photo that I snapped from a box suite at the Allstate Arena in 2004. The Godsmack/Metallica tour.
This was my first time seeing Metallica live. I went to the show with my buddy Harper and some marketing ballers from Chicago (who may or may not have been a part of Vivid Entertainment) in an Escalade limo. It was an amazing show... enjoyed from box seats full of PBR and hot dogs.
After the show (and a bit of clubbing), Harper asked for my photos. I gave him my memory stick and he copied my pics and uploaded them to Flickr. No big deal, right?
4 years later, my crappy photo winds up in the Metallica CD booklet and looks awesome. And the worst part is - Harper gets credit for it because it was on his Flickr account, hahaha. That photo appears to be the only photo in the entire booklet that isn't professionally shot. In fact, I didn't even upload it back in 04 because I thought the photo sucked. Man, was I wrong.
So yeah, some people might be pissed if they were in my situation, but I just can't be. A photo I took is part of Metallica's cover art. Who can say that? And so many people will have my photo on their desks, shelves, or in their cars and they don't even know it. ...and they never will, thanks to Harper's punk-ass credit. What a hilarious situation.
P.S. Death Magnetic is a great album. It's a lot like the older, heavier Metallica. If you're into that, you should pick it up.
Oh, and it'd be awesome if Metallica gave me tickets or put me on the guest list at the Des Moines show next month for using my photo - forget that Harper dude. ;)
Update: My photo became the cover art of the Judas Kiss single.
February 2009 update: Metallica won a 2009 grammy for Best Recording Package with their death magnetic album art. I've implicitly won my first grammy.
March 2012 update: Harper gave me a copy of the vinyl box set. A framed copy of my art is now hanging on my wall.
August 2013 update: My friend, Carol Davidsen wound up working on a project with Metallica's manager, Cliff Burnstein. She told him about this story. and straight up, Metallica's manager called me to bullshit for about an hour about Metallica, Iowa, my blog, and the haters in the comment section here. He also told me that my name was going to get added to the credits of the next printing of the album, I was gonna get something rad in the mail, and I should give him a call the next time that Metallica is in my area.
June 2017 update: Ashton Kutcher (an Iowa Native) talked Metallica into playing a show at the Iowa Speedway to support the Native Fund. I emailed Cliff back and asked him if he was still good on the offer to hit him up the next time Metallica was in town. Long story, short, he put me put me on Metallica's guest list and I ended up with 4 backstage, VIP tickets to the show. I, of course, invited Harper and also brought my wife and her dad along. We didn't meet the band, but we did get to see a good show and hang out with Ashton Kutcher.