Metallica’s Archivist: Bob Pfiefer

Posted by on November 13, 2017

As you probably already heard, Metallica has released a remastered version of Master of Puppets. The limited edition deluxe version contains loads of rare photos, unreleased demos, rough mixes and more. To gather all those rare items, they hired Bob Pfiefer. He goes around the world full-time and collects rare Metallica memorabilia, recordings, footage, etc. However, no matter how hard you search, some things are just lost forever. In an interview with Revolver, Ulrich explains:

We actually have a person who works for us, Bob Pfiefer, whose full-time job is to travel the world in solitude and try and unearth Metallica tapes and Metallica first-generation masters, and that type of stuff. That’s literally his only job! And you have to sort of be realistic about it. There’s some stuff that just doesn’t exist — no matter how many rocks you turn over, it’s just not going to show up. You can throw your little rock star shit fit, or whatever, but some of this stuff is just lost to time.

When you’re looking for stuff from the Eighties and before, it’s pretty limited — a lot of radio stations didn’t keep all their archived stuff, TV shows often erased [their tapes] and recorded over it. For me as, say, a Deep Purple fan, I’m pretty sure that every single recording that exists of Deep Purple playing live from, say, 1969 to 1973, I’ve already heard. Because it’s not like two weeks of shows from their 1972 U.S. tour are suddenly going to show up in perfect condition. You kind of have to come to the conclusion that what’s there is there, and you accept that and move on.

Make sure to pick up your remastered copy of Master of Puppets here.



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  • pheet007

    A full time archivist? This reeks of egos run amok. I understand that mementos of historical figures, actors and actresses, politicians (usually presidents or activists) and musicians can fetch some ridiculously high sums, depending on the rarity and condition of the items. As far as my personal experiences, I’ve seen lots of exhibits of course at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, including the original outfits The Beatles wore for the cover of “Sgt. Pepper” with the exception of George Harrison’s, who apparently wanted to keep it, so a substitute was used. I also saw a copy of the infamous “Yesterday and Today” “butcher baby” cover, and that is indeed a very rare find.
    But when it’s Metallica, and I know how huge they are, we’re dealing with a band that realistically only had three and a half great albums, with “. . . and Justice For All getting docked for its horrible sound and too many long songs. “Metallica” made them ultra rich as it was safe enough for housewives and those who were not exactly hardcore metal fans. That isn’t an issue – we all have our tastes – but the remainder of their material is just not anywhere near as good as the first three albums.
    For bands to get this kind of ego, I expect much more even albums, and done more than once every eight years. Live shows? I suppose they’re pretty good, and I’ve seen them in a club and as headliners for ” . . . and Justice for All”, back when they were actually metal. But hunting down every last note, every last scrap of their careers seems so arrogant. KISS oversaturated the market, with more merchandise than anybody else, and very weak music to back it up. Metallica is doing the same thing, and the last half of their career simply isn’t worthy of the adulation they demand. At least we don’t have Metallicaskets. Yet.