Imagine, for the purposes of this blog post, that a time traveler appeared in the life of Jon Zazula the same day in the early 1980s when a gang of hairy young headbangers calling themselves Metallica arrived at the Zazula household in New Jersey.
Let’s say the five boys of Metallica, their roadie included, already are helping themselves to Zazula’s liquor cabinet when his wife Marsha answers a knock at the front door. As Zazula comes up behind Marsha to see who it might be, he locks eyes with the unexpected visitor standing on his front porch — a middle-aged bearded dude wearing a “Damaged Justice” tour t-shirt.
Momentarily confused by the t-shirt, Zazula does not react as the guy breezes right past Marsha into the home’s foyer, at which point the following exchange takes place:
Jon Zazula: What’s this about, man?
The Visitor: I’m from the future, and I bear tidings about that band down in your basement right now, those hairy bastards you just used $1,500 you don’t really have to bring out here from the West Coast.
JZ: Who told you that? Are you from the feds? Are you bugging my phone, man? What the hell?
TV: I told you, I’m from the future, and I’m here to tell you those kids getting shitfaced in your basement right now will one day be among the biggest stars in American heavy metal, a musical form you are right now helping to invent.
JZ: What in the hell are you talking about? I’m not kidding, man, I don’t know who you are — maybe their old manager from San Fran, or Lars’ crazy uncle from Denmark — but if you don’t get the hell outta my house right now, I’m going to go get those drunk little bastards from the basement and have ‘em come up and kick your ass outta here.
MT: That won’t be necessary — I’ll be out of your hair right quick. And no, I’m not a former manager or anyone’s crazy uncle, at least not yet. I told you, I’m from the future, and I’m here to tell you those kids are gonna be big, and you’re gonna help ‘em get there, so don’t give up.
JZ: Ok, well, in that case thanks for the information, but now I need you to leave unless you’d like your ass kicked.
TV: Sure thing, Jon. I will be on my way. Just remember, you’re in the right track and do not give up.
The visitor turns to leave, but as he crosses the threshold and gets one foot onto the front stoop he stops and looks back at Zazula, who’s right behind him.
TV: One other thing, man: Lars’ third wife hasn’t been born yet.
Ed Legge (@freebirdyeller) is a life-long musician, long-time journalist and sometime corporate dweeb who’s writing a book about originating rock ‘n’ roll’s most absurd tradition.