This Friday, April 13th, Metallica will release a remastered reissue of The $5.98 E.P.: Garage Days Re-Revisited, their hard-to-find 1987 rarity featuring covers of the Misfits, Diamond Head, Killing Joke and more. The Big 4 thrashers' reinterpretations took form in the garage of drummer Lars Ulrich's house in El Cerrito, California, just down the street from 3132 Carlson Boulevard — Metallica's longtime HQ, which has since been razed. Over 30 years later, James Hetfield's garage days live on in a custom-built electric guitar named "Carl," built from salvaged wood. The source? The shed on 3132 Carlson Boulevard.
As Hetfield explains in a new video, "Carl "— who, might we add, has been thoroughly road-tested — possesses symbolic importance. From the placement of the fretboard graphics (clustered in reference to the aforementioned address, the Metallica frontman reveals), to the five silver dollars affixed to its back (four for the original members' birthday years, one marking the year they wrote Master of Puppets), it's a personal relic, indeed.
Aside from "his" total lack of splinters, Carl's most impressive trait is the hand-painted tableau adoring its — er, his — fretboard, which traces the band's journeys over the decades. Hetfield assumes the form of a a cloaked figure, while Kirk Hammett is drawn as a reaper and Lars Ulrich a man clutching lightning-bolt drumsticks; late bassist Cliff Burton, meanwhile, appears as the mythic figure Orion (a reference to the iconic Puppets instrumental), who guides the band as a figure and, further up the fretboard, as a constellation. "You can make a great sound out of anything if you want," Hetfield observes later of his handmade axe. "You just have to be consistent with it."