The Metal Blade Records Museum opened its doors for ticket-holding guests on Saturday, August 19, 2023, although prior tours have taken place in the facility. A link at which to post tickets will be posted at the bottom of this article; tours will go on each Saturday for the foreseeable future.
It’s been a long and interesting ride for Metal Blade Records, with the label having celebrated their 40th anniversary last year. Founder Brian Slagel now resides in Las Vegas, and has made many appearances around the valley, including tastings/signings for Metal Blade Vodka at local Lee’s Liquor stores. Being a die-hard heavy metal fan and hearing that there would be a museum with treasures from Mr. Slagel’s personal collection on display, this headbanger was ecstatic. Once tickets were available, I promptly purchased two of them, all the more eager upon hearing Metal Blade artist Lizzy Borden would be in attendance!
The location of the museum is sent via e-mail prior to the tour for those who purchased tickets; a limited number of them are offered for each tour, likely to ensure a more intimate experience and to prevent overcrowding. I received my e-mail with the location roughly two days prior to the event.
The tour was stated to run from 12:00 noon to 5:00 PM, though I would say these were more like “museum operating hours” than “length of the tour hours.” I was in the building for roughly two hours before I left, though a good deal of this time was spent socializing. One brief bit of bad news I do have to get out of the way for the tour I attended – Brian Slagel was sadly not in attendance; he was in Dallas to attend the two-night Metallica concert going on there. While it was certainly disappointing not to have Metal Blade’s founder in the house to offer a guided tour and stories only he would know, I don’t think anyone in attendance was disappointed in the treasure trove of goodies to be had here. As such, it was more of a “free form” experience, with fans able to explore the suite at their leisure. Attendees were in good hands, however, with Brian’s employee Scot running the show.
So, what exactly does the Metal Blade Museum have? The simple answer is a little bit of everything. Vintage albums, promos, posters, and newspaper articles. Tour costumes and props. Gold and platinum records. Instruments. Rare items. Collectibles and other memorabilia. I took a ton of photos, but purposely kept them to a minimum to keep some element of surprise for those who choose to attend the tour (I may post additional ones on my Facebook in the coming weeks). The suite in which the museum is located is not overly large, but there is certainly quite a bit to take in; I must have made two or three passes throughout and saw stuff I’d missed the previous times walking through! There’s so much stuff in the limited space, that some of it is even hanging on the walls of the bathroom! I should also stress that this facility is NOT a store; nothing on display is for sale. However, Metal Blade Records does have booths in the Antique Mall of America with plenty of stuff available, so go there after your museum tour if you need your Metal Blade fix.
As was previously stated, we did get a special guest for this tour – Lizzy Borden! Borden, of course, is one of the longest lasting and most beloved rockers on the Metal Blade label, and this guy shows no signs of letting up anytime soon; he’s currently working on a new album with several singles coming out over the course of the next few months! Mr. Borden was happy to take pics with fans and sign autographs as well, not to mention tell some stories of his experiences in the music business.
I love all things hard rock and heavy metal, so visiting the Metal Blade Museum certainly sounded up my alley. And it didn’t fail to please. The only mild disappointment was the lack of Brian Slagel; I’d love to take the tour again with him in attendance to get more of his stories regarding the memorabilia and his experiences. In the meantime, if you’re a hard rock and heavy metal fan, don’t hesitate to purchase a ticket and check out the museum for yourself!