Don't Tread on Me (Metallica song)

Last updated
"Don't Tread on Me"
Metallica - Don't Tread on Me cover.jpg
Promotional single by Metallica
from the album Metallica
ReleasedAugust 29, 1991
RecordedOctober 1990 – June 1991 at One on One Recording, Los Angeles, California
Genre Heavy metal
Length3:59
Label Elektra
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)

"Don't Tread on Me" is a song by American heavy metal band Metallica, from their eponymous fifth album. The title is connected with the American Revolutionary War. The words "Don't Tread on Me" constitute the motto of the Gadsden flag, and the snake image on the flag is pictured on the cover of the album.

Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom. With roots in blues rock, psychedelic rock, and acid rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. The genre's lyrics and performance styles are sometimes associated with aggression and machismo.

Metallica American heavy metal band

Metallica is an American heavy metal band. The band was formed in 1981 in Los Angeles, California by drummer Lars Ulrich and vocalist/guitarist James Hetfield, and has been based in San Francisco, California for most of its career. The group's fast tempos, instrumentals and aggressive musicianship made them one of the founding "big four" bands of thrash metal, alongside Megadeth, Anthrax and Slayer. Metallica's current lineup comprises founding members Hetfield and Ulrich, longtime lead guitarist Kirk Hammett and bassist Robert Trujillo. Guitarist Dave Mustaine and bassists Ron McGovney, Cliff Burton and Jason Newsted are former members of the band.

American Revolutionary War 1775–1783 war between Great Britain and the Thirteen Colonies, which won independence as the United States of America

The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the American War of Independence, was an 18th-century war between Great Britain and its Thirteen Colonies which declared independence as the United States of America.

Contents

Music and lyrics

The instrumental introduction uses an eight bar phrase from "America", a popular song from the musical and film West Side Story . It is in a moderate tempo of 104 bpm in 12
8
. [1]

America” is a song from the musical West Side Story. Stephen Sondheim wrote the lyrics and Leonard Bernstein composed the music.

The lyrics reference American Revolutionary Patrick Henry's quote "give me liberty or give me death" with the line "liberty or death, what we so proudly hail". The lyric, "To secure peace, is to prepare for war" refers to the Latin adage Si vis pacem, para bellum ("If you want peace, prepare [for] a war"). The lyrics containing rattlesnake imagery are inspired by Benjamin Franklin's essay suggesting the rattlesnake is a good symbol for the American Spirit.

Patrick Henry 18th-century American attorney, planter, and politician

Patrick Henry was an American attorney, planter, and orator best known for his declaration to the Second Virginia Convention (1775): "Give me liberty, or give me death!" A Founding Father, he served as the first and sixth post-colonial Governor of Virginia, from 1776 to 1779 and from 1784 to 1786.

<i>Si vis pacem, para bellum</i> Latin adage translated as, "If you want peace, prepare for war"

Si vis pacem, para bellum is a Latin adage translated as "If you want peace, prepare for war". It is adapted from a statement found in Book 3 of Latin author Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus's tract De Re Militari, although the idea which it conveys also appears in earlier works such as Plato's Nomoi (Laws) and the Chinese Shi Ji. The phrase is used above all to affirm that one of the most effective means to ensure peace for a people is always to be armed and ready to defend oneself.

Benjamin Franklin American polymath and a Founding Father of the United States

Benjamin Franklin was an American polymath and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Franklin was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, freemason, postmaster, scientist, inventor, humorist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat. As a scientist, he was a major figure in the American Enlightenment and the history of physics for his discoveries and theories regarding electricity. As an inventor, he is known for the lightning rod, bifocals, and the Franklin stove, among other inventions. He founded many civic organizations, including the Library Company, Philadelphia's first fire department and the University of Pennsylvania.

Hetfield said the song was a reaction to the anti-American tone of their album ...And Justice for All - "This is the other side of that. America is a fucking good place. I definitely think that. And that feeling came about from touring a lot. You find out what you like about certain places and you find out why you live in America, even with all the bad fucked-up shit. It's still the most happening place to hang out." [2]

<i>...And Justice for All</i> (album) 1988 studio album by Metallica

...And Justice for All is the fourth studio album by American heavy metal band Metallica, released on August 25, 1988, through Elektra Records. It is the first Metallica studio album to feature bassist Jason Newsted after the death of Cliff Burton in 1986.

Hetfield also said "Don't Tread On Me, I love the song, but it shocked a lot of people, because everyone thought it was pro-war when they thought we were anti-war, and alls we're doing is writing songs, we're not standing politically on any side. "Don't Tread On Me" was just one of those 'don't fuck with us' songs, and obviously referencing the flag and the snake and what it meant, that all tied into the black album and the snake icon on the album cover, and I think it's great to play that song live. We're over here in Europe playing it, and people aren't appalled by the songs. We haven't played it in Iraq or Iran yet, though."

Europe Continent in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere

Europe is a continent located entirely in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere. It is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. It comprises the westernmost part of Eurasia.

Iraq republic in Western Asia

Iraq, officially the Republic of Iraq, is a country in Western Asia, bordered by Turkey to the north, Iran to the east, Kuwait to the southeast, Saudi Arabia to the south, Jordan to the southwest and Syria to the west. The capital, and largest city, is Baghdad. Iraq is home to diverse ethnic groups including Arabs, Kurds, Assyrians, Turkmen, Shabakis, Yazidis, Armenians, Mandeans, Circassians and Kawliya. Around 95% of the country's 37 million citizens are Muslims, with Christianity, Yarsan, Yezidism and Mandeanism also present. The official languages of Iraq are Arabic and Kurdish.

Iran Country in Western Asia

Iran, also called Persia and officially known as the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. With over 81 million inhabitants, Iran is the world's 18th most populous country. Comprising a land area of 1,648,195 km2 (636,372 sq mi), it is the second largest country in the Middle East and the 17th largest in the world. Iran is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan, to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the northeast by Turkmenistan, to the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, and to the west by Turkey and Iraq. The country's central location in Eurasia and Western Asia, and its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz, give it geostrategic importance. Tehran is the country's capital and largest city, as well as its leading economic and cultural center.

Live performances

The song was never performed live until the European 2012 tour celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Black Album, starting at the tour's first show in Prague. At the end of the concert, Hetfield mentioned that they liked the live sound of songs ("Don't Tread on Me" and "My Friend of Misery") that they played live for the first time. Previously, Hetfield was said to have disliked the song, as revealed in an April 2001 interview with Playboy magazine, in which he stated: "There are some songs on there I don't like. 'Don't Tread on Me', probably not one of my favorite songs musically." [3]

The 2012 European Black Album Tour was a concert tour of American heavy metal band Metallica. The Black Album, which was released in August 1991 was played entirely. The band confirmed that the tour would be a celebration of the 20th anniversary of the album. The tour headlined a few European festivals.

Prague Capital city in Czech Republic

Prague is the capital and largest city in the Czech Republic, the 14th largest city in the European Union and the historical capital of Bohemia. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of 2.6 million. The city has a temperate climate, with warm summers and chilly winters.

<i>Playboy</i> Mens lifestyle and entertainment magazine based in Chicago

Playboy is an American men's lifestyle and entertainment magazine. It was founded in Chicago in 1953, by Hugh Hefner and his associates, and funded in part by a $1,000 loan from Hefner's mother. Notable for its centerfolds of nude and semi-nude models (Playmates), Playboy played an important role in the sexual revolution and remains one of the world's best-known brands, having grown into Playboy Enterprises, Inc. (PEI), with a presence in nearly every medium. In addition to the flagship magazine in the United States, special nation-specific versions of Playboy are published worldwide.

Reception

The tune was named by journalist John J. Miller of the conservative news-magazine National Review as one of the "50 Greatest Conservative Rock songs", placed as #9 on the list Miller praised it as a "tribute to the doctrine of peace through strength". [4]

Track listing

Promotional CD single
No.TitleLength
1."Don't Tread on Me"3:59

Related Research Articles

Kirk Hammett American musician

Kirk Lee Hammett is an American musician who has been lead guitarist and a contributing songwriter for the heavy metal band Metallica since 1983. Before joining Metallica he formed and named the band Exodus. In 2003, Hammett was ranked 11th on Rolling Stone's list of The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. In 2009, Hammett was ranked number 15 in Joel McIver's book The 100 Greatest Metal Guitarists.

<i>Master of Puppets</i> 1986 studio album by Metallica

Master of Puppets is the third studio album by American heavy metal band Metallica. It was released on March 3, 1986 by Elektra Records. Recorded at the Sweet Silence Studios with producer Flemming Rasmussen, it was the first Metallica album released on a major record label. Master of Puppets was the band's last album to feature bassist Cliff Burton, who died in a bus accident in Sweden during the album's promotional tour. The album peaked at number 29 on the Billboard 200 and became the first thrash metal album to be certified platinum. It was certified 6× platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in 2003 for shipping six million copies in the United States. The album was eventually certified 6× platinum by Music Canada and gold by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI).

<i>Metallica</i> (album) 1991 studio album by Metallica

Metallica is the fifth studio album by American heavy metal band Metallica. Released on August 12, 1991 by Elektra Records, it received widespread critical acclaim and became the band's best-selling album. Metallica produced five singles that are considered to be among the band's best-known songs, which include "Enter Sandman", "The Unforgiven", "Nothing Else Matters", "Wherever I May Roam", and "Sad but True". A sixth song, "Don't Tread on Me", was also issued to rock radio shortly after the album's release, but the song did not receive a commercial single release. The album marked a change in the band's sound from the thrash metal style of the previous four albums to a slower and heavier one rooted in heavy metal. Metallica promoted the album with a series of tours. In 2003, the album was ranked number 255 on Rolling Stone's 500 greatest albums of all time.

<i>Load</i> (album) 1996 studio album by Metallica

Load is the sixth studio album by the American heavy metal band Metallica, released on June 4, 1996 by Elektra Records in the United States and by Vertigo Records internationally. The album showed more of a hard rock side of Metallica than the band's typical thrash metal style, which alienated much of the band's fanbase. It also featured influences from genres such as Southern rock, blues rock, country rock and alternative rock. Drummer Lars Ulrich said about Load's more exploratory nature, "This album and what we're doing with it – that, to me, is what Metallica are all about: exploring different things. The minute you stop exploring, then just sit down and fucking die". At 79 minutes, it is Metallica's longest studio album.

<i>Kill Em All</i> 1983 studio album by Metallica

Kill 'Em All is the debut studio album by the American heavy metal band Metallica, released on July 25, 1983, by the independent record label Megaforce Records. Kill 'Em All is regarded as a groundbreaking album for thrash metal because of its precise musicianship, which fuses new wave of British heavy metal riffs with hardcore punk tempos. The album's musical approach and lyrics were markedly different from rock's mainstream of the early 1980s and inspired a number of bands who followed in similar manner. The album did not enter the Billboard 200 until 1986, when it peaked at number 155, following Metallica's commercial success with its third studio album Master of Puppets; the 1988 Elektra reissue peaked at number 120. Kill 'Em All was critically praised at the time of its release and in retrospect, and was placed on a few publications' best album lists. It was certified 3× Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in 1999 for shipping three million copies in the United States. The album generated two singles, "Whiplash" and "Jump in the Fire".

Jason Newsted American musician

Jason Curtis Newsted is an American metal musician, known for being the third bass guitarist with the band Metallica from October 1986 until his sudden departure in January 2001.

James Hetfield American musician, songwriter and record producer

James Alan Hetfield is an American musician, singer, and songwriter known for being the co-founder, lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist, and main songwriter for the American heavy metal band Metallica. Hetfield is mainly known for his intricate rhythm playing, but occasionally performs lead guitar duties and solos, both live and in the studio. Hetfield co-founded Metallica in October 1981 after answering a classified advertisement by drummer Lars Ulrich in the Los Angeles newspaper The Recycler. Metallica has won nine Grammy Awards and released ten studio albums, three live albums, four extended plays and 24 singles.

Beatallica American band

Beatallica is a mash-up band that plays music made from combinations of songs of the Beatles and Metallica. A Beatallica song is typically a blend of a Beatles song and a Metallica song with a related title, though sometimes just a Beatles song will be used as a basis with modified lyrics. The lyrics slip back and forth between the two songs, or occasionally neither, in lieu of original lyrics comically referencing Metallica, heavy metal music, or the heavy metal community. While the scansion and melody are usually Beatles-based, the music is played metal style with some Metallica riffs and solos thrown in. Consistent quirks made in the lyrics also criticize glam metal much in the fashion that thrash metal fans would do, as well as many references to blood. Their version of "I Want to Hold Your Hand" called "I Want to Choke Your Band", is an example of their criticism towards glam metal.

Gadsden flag Historical American flag depicting a rattlesnake and the words "Dont Tread on Me"

The Gadsden flag is a historical American flag with a yellow field depicting a rattlesnake coiled and ready to strike. Positioned below the rattlesnake are the words "DONT TREAD ON ME." The flag is named after American general and politician Christopher Gadsden (1724–1805), who designed it in 1775 during the American Revolution. It was used by the Continental Marines as an early motto flag, along with the Moultrie flag.

Fade to Black (song) 1984 single by Metallica

"Fade to Black" is a song and the first power ballad by American heavy metal band Metallica, released as the first promotional single from its second studio album, Ride the Lightning. The song was ranked as having the 24th best guitar solo ever by Guitar World readers.

<i>Beatallica</i> (EP) extended play by Beatallica

Beatallica is the second E.P. from Beatallica. It contains eight tracks, made from combinations of Beatles and Metallica songs. The gray color of the album cover is a reference to both The Beatles and Metallica's self-titled albums.

The Unforgiven (song) power ballad by American heavy metal band Metallica

"The Unforgiven" is a power ballad by American heavy metal band Metallica. It was released as the second single from their eponymous fifth album Metallica. Though one of the slower tracks on the album, its chord progression is distinctly one of the heaviest. The song deals with the theme of the struggle of the individual against the efforts of those who would subjugate him.

Mama Said (Metallica song) single by Metallica

"Mama Said" is a country rock ballad by American heavy metal band Metallica from their sixth album Load, with music and lyrics by James Hetfield. The lyrics represent a man or boy who is learning to find his own way in life away from his mother. The song is directly written about Hetfield's difficult relationship with his mother, who died of cancer when he was 16 years old.

Bleeding Me single by Metallica

"Bleeding Me" is a song by American heavy metal band Metallica from their 1996 album Load.

Don't Tread on Me may refer to:

<i>Death Magnetic</i> 2008 studio album by Metallica

Death Magnetic is the ninth studio album by American heavy metal band Metallica, released on September 12, 2008 through Warner Bros. Records. The album was produced by Rick Rubin, marking the band's first album since ...And Justice for All (1988) not to be produced by longtime collaborator Bob Rock. It is also the first Metallica album to feature bassist Robert Trujillo, and the second to be completely co-written by all of the band's members.

Guns N Roses/Metallica Stadium Tour

The Guns N' Roses/Metallica Stadium Tour was a co-headlining concert tour by American rock bands Guns N' Roses and Metallica during 1992. It took place in the middle of Guns N' Roses' "Use Your Illusion Tour," promoting their Use Your Illusion I & II albums, and between Metallica's "Wherever We May Roam Tour" and "Nowhere Else to Roam," promoting their eponymous fifth album Metallica. The tour's opening act was Faith No More. Axl Rose had wanted Seattle rock band Nirvana to be the opening act, but frontman Kurt Cobain refused.

<i>Hardwired... to Self-Destruct</i> 2016 studio album by Metallica

Hardwired... to Self-Destruct is the tenth studio album by American heavy metal band Metallica, released as a double album on November 18, 2016 by their vanity label Blackened Recordings. It is their first studio album in eight years following Death Magnetic (2008), marking the longest gap between two studio albums in the band's career. It is also their first studio album released through Blackened. Hardwired... to Self-Destruct was produced by Greg Fidelman, who engineered and mixed Death Magnetic.

References

  1. "Metallica Don't Tread On Me Guitar Tab". musicnotes.com. Retrieved 2013-11-25.
  2. Fricke, David (November 14, 1991). "Metallica". Rolling Stone (617). Archived from the original on March 21, 2009.
  3. "Playboy April 2001 interview transcript". Archived from the original on Dec 5, 2007. Retrieved 2009-11-02.
  4. Miller, John J. Rockin' the Right, National Review