Jim Weider may be best known to some as the guy who held down the guitar slot in the Band after Robbie Robertson's departure. A member of Levon Helm’s Midnight Ramble Band for the last few years of the legendary drummer’s life, Weider has helped to keep the Band’s family torch lit with various musical projects since Helm’s passing (most recently with the Weight).
Metallica’s 1983 debut, the explosive Kill ’Em All, taught a grateful world a lesson in unbridled thrashing fury. Since then, their sound has passed through numerous stages, but the guttural intensity that was the hallmark of the young Metallica remains the essence of the band today.
“My dad turned me on to all the metal I listened to when I was younger. We’d listen to a lot of Randy Rhoads and Ozzy Osbourne. But when he played Pantera’s Cowboys from Hell for me, that was what really made me want to play metal and be in a band. That Pantera record changed everything for me.
Many people believe that possessing talent alone is enough to guarantee an artist success in the music business. Nothing could be further from the truth. In a perfect world, the best musicians — the best guitarists — would be amply rewarded for their abilities. The music business, however, is far from perfect.
I remember sitting in the living room of our little house in Boise, Idaho, for hours and hours, learning every song on the Black Album with the help of the Rhythm Bandit, which allowed me to hear the guitar parts better.
“Before that, I played guitar a little bit, but it was mostly about playing drop-D power chords. Nothing serious. But the possibilities of what music could be expanded so much after I heard Scenes from a Memory. It was a mind fuck. I stopped playing drums and took guitar seriously. I sat down and learned as much of the solos and riffs on that album as I could. That’s how I started developing my chops.
“I was 19 and attending [The University of California] Santa Barbara when Bringing It All Back Home came out. I was taking a lot of acid in those days, and everything Dylan said just really connected with me. There are a lot of great songs on that album—‘Maggie’s Farm,’ ‘Mr. Tambourine Man,’ ‘It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue.’ ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’ is one of my favorites.