Vans And Metallica Team Up For Custom Shoe Line

In a continuation of Vans’ partnership with Metallica, the California shoe company has just released four new custom shoes, each representing one member of the legendary metal act. To design the shoes, Vans encouraged the band members to take inspiration from music and action sports to create shoes that represented their own individual styles. The results are unique takes on four classic Vans shoes: the Sk8-Hi Deconstruct, Era Laceless, Slip-On, and Escuela.

While these are the first custom shoes designed in partnership with individual members of the band in mind, it’s not the first time the brand and band have collaborated. This past October, marking the 20-year anniversary of the Half Cab Pro, Vans released a Metallica version of that shoe featuring the artwork to the band’s debut album Kill ‘Em All. This February, Vans plans to release two more shoes celebrating the album. Check out James Hetfield’s custom shoe below, and see the rest after the jump.

If you’re a fan of Metallica, check out OurStage members Twelvestep.

James Hetfield’s Sk8-Hi Deconstruct


Sound And Vision: Guns N' Roses? Joan Jett? Why the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Is on the Verge of Becoming a Joke?

Last month when the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced its fifteen nominees for induction in 2012, the organization really outdid itself”and not in a good way! Donovan? Not again! Erik B. & Rakim? Not before LL Cool J! Joan Jett and the Blackhearts?

What? No “Weird Al” Yankovic? Hasn’t he been eligible for four years?

The Hall of Fame has been scraping from the B-list for a while now, but the voting body should take a closer look at the A-list. There’s still a lot of unheralded talent there, and that would not include Joan Jett. Yes, Jett’s former band, The Runaways, deserves credit for introducing girl power to hard rock, but did Joan Jett and the Blackhearts really earn a spot in the hallowed Hall based on the strength of one really awesome No. 1 smash, 1981’s “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll,” which the band didn’t even write? In the general scheme of things, aren’t they sort of a rock & roll footnote?

Not Linda Ronstadt. Perhaps the most influential female in ’70s rock, who spent the ’80s juggling genres from new wave to mariachi to the great American songbook, she’s the most deserving artist never to be nominated. And let’s talk about Pat Benatar and Stevie Nicks, who is already in the Hall of Fame as a member of Fleetwood Mac but whose solo career is far more worthy of the honor than Jett’s post-Runaways. At least the nominating committee finally had the good sense to give props to Heart, though I’ll eat my copy of the “Alone” Cassingle if the Wilson sisters actually get in.


INVEST IN MUSIC: Or How To Properly Listen To "The Wall"

Standing on the Staples Center floor during Roger Waters‘ first of five sold-out Southern California performances of The Wall this month, I marveled at how much music has changed since I first became a fan.

To call myself anything short of obsessive as a teenager would be an understatement”but I wasn’t alone, that was how music made a lot of us feel. It wasn’t enough to know everything about the bands we loved, we also wanted to know everything about the bands they loved. We wanted to know why they wore the shirts they wore, and who inspired the lyrics they wrote.

When Anthrax covered a Joe Jackson song, I had to go out and buy the Joe Jackson album it was from. When Lars Ulrich talked about the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, I needed to know the bands he was championing. And when I discovered industrial music, I needed to also discover early innovators like Einstürzende Neubauten.

It was my responsibility as a fan, and I took that responsibility seriously. I went to record stores to find new music, read magazines to learn about inspiration and influence and listened to the radio for news and information. The word fan is derived from the word fanatic for a reason”being a fan took effort, and our efforts were rewarded in kind.

Music wasn’t background noise then, it was the soundtrack to our lives. It meant something, because we needed it to mean something. Our favorite bands helped shape our identity, and that identity couldn’t be researched for free on the Internet, bought for .99 on iTunes and adorned for $19.99 at Hot Topic.

Today, there is no effort required.

The value of music has changed, and so has our perception of its value. Music is no longer marketed as central to our lives, it is now delivered as a backdrop to a game of Madden, an addendum to Twilight or as a novelty on YouTube.

Cynics cry that the music industry is a dinosaur, plodding the earth in its final days before a downloading-induced extinction. But those people are being lazy and short-sided. True fans don’t stop at just listening to music, they make that music a part of them”and despite everything we’re told to the contrary, music fans are still out there.

I look at artists like Amanda Palmer and I get excited about where music is heading. Not because I love her music, but because I see a woman who is passionate about her art, and equally as passionate about delivering that art to her fans. She realizes that music is about more than just a song, it’s about a connection, and she works tirelessly at engaging that connection.

In an ADD-inspired and Internet-driven culture where short attention spans are not only encouraged, they are also rewarded, that engagement means everything.

Music isn’t dead, it’s just fallen into a coma for the people who refuse to make the investment, whether it be the fan who’s looking for little more than the flavor of the day, or the artist who is looking for little more than a lifestyle or a paycheck.

Standing on the Staples Center floor as Roger Waters performed The Wall‘s epic finale, my relationship with that album changed. Not because I was hearing it for the first time, but because I was experiencing it for the first time. I was part of something bigger than iTunes, and I was in the midst of something that you don’t get from watching a performance on a computer screen or buying a t-shirt at the mall.

Nearly three decades ago, I invested in a double album by Pink Floyd. That album may not have made sense at the time, but it makes perfect sense today. It makes sense because I invested in more than just the product”I invested in my connection to the art.

It’s time that we”as fans and artists”rediscover the value of that connection.

by Paul Gargano

Paul Gargano has been a professional journalist for 20 years, in which time he has been syndicated by the Associated Press and Reuters, spent a decade as editor of Metal Edge magazine, and been featured on VH1, MTV and The Style Network. He lives in Los Angeles, where his company”Paul Gargano Media Dynamics (PGMD”provides marketing, management and writing and editing services to music industry clientele. Visit him online at, and join him on Twitter via @PaulGargano.