Ron Quintana: More Than Just “The Man Who Named Metallica”

From Metal Mania to Metallica, Ron Quintana has been a guiding force in metal’s Bay Area history.

Ron Quintana, James Hetfield and Dave Mustaine / Metal Mania, Issue 13
Ron Quintana, James Hetfield and Dave Mustaine / Metal Mania, Issue 13
Key Takeaways
  • Ron Quintana is known as “The Man Who Named Metallica”, giving Lars Ulrich the iconic band name during a chat in 1981.
  • Quintana was a key figure in the Bay Area’s metal scene, founding the influential ’80s fanzine “Metal Mania” and hosting the “Rampage” radio show.
  • Today, Quintana owns Ron’s Real Records in Grass Valley, California, and has a vinyl collection of around 150,000 records.

The Voice of Bay Area Metal

March 16, 1961 marks the birth of a Bay Area legend—Ron Quintana. As San Franciscan as a cable car ride, Quintana’s family has been in the city for generations. Fourth generation on one side, third on the other. But that’s not why we’re talking about him.

He’s been dubbed “The Man Who Named Metallica”.

You know him better as a promoter and DJ who’s deeply woven into the Bay Area’s heavy metal tapestry. He’s been dubbed “The Man Who Named Metallica”. That’s right, Lars Ulrich got the iconic name from Quintana himself during a chat in 1981.

But don’t pigeonhole him just for that. Quintana is the unsung champion of the Bay Area’s metal scene. Think Metallica, Exodus, Testament—these heavy hitters owe him a hat tip. His influence reverberates through bands that defined our playlists and wrecked our necks.

Remember “Metal Mania”? Quintana cooked it up. A ‘zine that was the go-to paper for any metalhead in the ’80s. And the radio waves weren’t safe from him either. He co-founded and hosted the “Rampage” radio show on KUSF. That’s six hours of relentless metal, week after week, for three decades.

The Spring Day that Named Metallica

Picture this: Spring of 1981, Lars Ulrich is roaming the vibrant streets of San Francisco. The air is thick with possibilities. Who does he bump into? None other than Ron Quintana, a fellow rocker with a mission. Quintana is excited. He’s got this idea for a new heavy metal fanzine. But he’s stuck between two names: “Metal Mania” and “Metallica”. He leans on Ulrich for advice.

He wants the name “Metallica” for his own band with James Hetfield.

Ulrich listens, and then in a stroke of selfish genius, suggests Quintana pick “Metal Mania”. Why? He wants the name “Metallica” for his own band with James Hetfield. Clever, isn’t it? But here’s the kicker: Quintana doesn’t mind. He’s actually quite pleased. Metal Mania was his first choice all along.

Ulrich had a notebook brimming with potential band names—think “Ripshifter”, “Phantomlörd”, and others. But after the chat with Quintana, “Metallica” gets circled. It’s a winner.

Years roll by. Ulrich opens up about that fateful day. He and Quintana? Still friends. The name-swapping? All water under the Golden Gate Bridge. Just two guys, two paths, but one unshakeable love for heavy metal.

The Birth and Life of Metal Mania

In the gritty underworld of ’80s Bay Area metal, one fanzine stood out: Metal Mania. Born in August 1981, it was the brainchild of Ron Quintana. Known for its authenticity, the zine was packed with interviews, concert reviews and band info.

The life span of Metal Mania? From 1981 to 1987, with the publication an average of 5000 copies, reaching its peak at issue 22. After that, it morphed into VideoZine from 1988 to 1992 and even had a stint as a local TV show, Media Mania.

Who was behind this metal mecca in print? Quintana spearheaded it, with a helping hand from Mike Meals of Dead Jacksons fame. Brian Lew and Harald Oimen (bass player for D.R.I., from 1999 to 2017), authors of the book “Murder In The Front Row”, also pitched in.

Metal Mania wasn’t just any zine. It was among the first U.S. publications to spotlight then-newcomers Metallica, Exodus, and others. It even ventured abroad, covering the Japanese metal scene.

From interviews with Lars Ulrich post-“Kill ‘Em All” to conversations with Cronos from Venom, the zine was a treasure trove. It also included concert reviews, like the Maiden/Saxon/Fastway gig in Portland and Queensryche in Seattle.

Today, the zine has reached relic status, coveted by collectors. And if you’re feeling nostalgic or just plain curious, check out the Facebook group “METAL MANIA magazine”.

Ron Quintana: Still in Rotation

Ron Quintana’s saga didn’t end with Metal Mania. Today, he’s the proud owner of Ron’s Real Records, a cozy little nook tucked away on Mill Street in Grass Valley, California. Step inside between 4 and 7 p.m. from Friday to Monday, and you’ll find yourself in a vinyl haven.

Why vinyl? Quintana’s been a DJ for over three decades and has amassed an impressive collection of around 150,000 vinyl records. He stands firm in his belief that vinyl provides something tangible, a sort of warmth, missing from cassettes and CDs.

And it’s not just old-timers flipping through the record bins. Quintana notes a rising trend: younger folks are also catching the vinyl bug. For them, it’s not nostalgia; it’s discovery.

As we cap off this journey through Ron Quintana’s impactful life, one thing stands clear: whether it’s naming iconic bands, igniting a scene with a fanzine, or sharing the soul of vinyl, Quintana’s legacy is far from over. It’s continuously being written, one record spin at a time.