James Alan Hetfield - born Aug. 3, 1963, Los
Angeles, California - Guitars, vocals.
Kirk Hammett - Lead guitars
Jason Newsted - Bass
Lars Ulrich - born Dec. 16, 1963, Gentoss, Copenhagen,
Den. - Drums.
Eighties -- when heavy metal was dominated by big hair and
small ideas -- Metallica’s dense blend of brains and
brawn gave the genre a much-needed charge. By 1991 fans
had responded to Metallica’s message in droves, buying
six million copies of the group’s fifth full-length
album and elevating its previous LPs to platinum. In the
process, grim-faced guitarist/singer James Hetfield became
not only a hero for the nation’s largest fraternity of
misfits -- suburban metalheads -- but also a critically
respected songwriter and bandleader.
and Lars Ulrich came from different worlds to form
Metallica in the Los Angeles suburbs in 1981. Hetfield,
whose father was a trucking company owner and mother a
light opera singer, was raised in a strict Christian
Science home; Ulrich, a recently transplanted Dane, had
intended to become a professional tennis player like his
father, Torben Ulrich. What the two teenagers shared was
an interest in the gritty music of U.K. hard rockers
Motorhead. Adding guitarist Dave Mustaine and bassist Ron
McGovney, the band started writing songs and recording
demo tapes. Metallica’s lineup solidified in 1983 when
Bay Area guitarist Kirk Hammett replaced Mustaine (who was
booted out for his excessive substance abuse and went on
to form Megadeth) and bassist Cliff Burton moved into
happened on October 28th, 1981, drummer Lars Ulrich makes
guitarist and lead singer James Hetfield the offer he
can't refuse: "I've got a track saved for my band on
Brian Slagel's new Metal Blade label."
being, Lars didn't have a band at that time, but he did
that day when James joined him. The two recorded their
first track on a cheap recorder with James performing
singing duties (with a sore throat, even!), rhythm guitar
duties and bass guitar duties. Lars dutifully pounded the
drums, helped with musical arrangements and acted as
manager. Hetfield's friend and housemate Ron McGoveny was
eventually talked into taking up bass and Dave Mustaine
took lead guitar duties.
Life Til Leather
stirred up some interest in the underground metal
community and the band started garnering some attention,
especially in San Francisco and New York.
performed 2 shows in San Francisco and found the crowds
there more friendly than LA's "there to be seen"
crowd. They also caught up-and-coming band Trauma, and
most importantly their bass player, Cliff Burton.
Eventually, Metallica moved upstate and Cliff joined
York, a copy of No Life Til Leather made its way to
Jon Zazula's record shop, the aptly-named Metal Heaven.
Zazula quickly recruited Metallica to come out east to
play some shows and record an album.
made it to New York in a stolen U-Haul only to make
announcement to their now manager/record producer:
"Our guitar player has got to go." Roadie Mark
Whitakker suggested a guitar player from a band he knew
back in SF, and on April 1, 1983 Kirk Hammett joins
first album, Kill 'Em All, is released in late
toured behind Kill 'Em All, and in 1984, a second
album Ride The Lightning was recorded and released.
This album was a more mature album, both lyrically and
musically while not missing a beat of the ferocity of Kill
on Ride The Lightning's eight songs is track four;
Fade To Black. Inspired by the theft of the band's
equipment earlier that year in Boston, the song delves
rather deeply into dealing with loss. Other tracks are
inspired by H.P. Lovecraft and the movie The Ten
signed with major management agency Q Prime and soon after
is signed to major record label Elektra.
brought their third album, Master Of Puppets, and a
tour with Ozzy Osbourne. Metallica was reaching new highs:
the new album reached #29 and enjoyed a 72-week run on the
US charts. The Ozzy tour helped them gain wide exposure.
endured a minor downfall when James broke his arm
skateboarding and was unable to play guitar. John Marshall
pulled double duty, acting as Kirk's guitar roadie and
filling in on rhythm guitar until James healed.
Ozzy tour complete the band moved on to Europe and planned
their first venture to the Far East. It was hoped that
James would be ready to handle his guitar duties, but for
the first shows in Europe, Marshall filled in.
returned in full guitar and vocal duties on September
26th, 1986, the last time Metallica performed with Cliff.
Early the next morning, the tour bus skidded out of
control and flipped, killing Cliff Burton.
probably would have been easier for Metallica to call it
quits right then and there. Cliff was a major part of the
band, not only supplying bass but being somewhat of a
teacher and mentor, sharing his musical wisdom and
"be yourself" attitude.
Cliff would be the first to want them to carry on,
Metallica minus one carried on.
Newsted was chosen from over 40 auditions to play bass
with Metallica. His many strengths included being able to
keep up with the band`s drinking habits!
decided they would jump right back into "tour
mode" to initiate the new bass player and wrap up
also released an EP of all cover songs as an introduction
to Jason. The EP, titled Garage Days Re-Revisited
is considered a sequel of sorts to Garage Days
Revisited which appeared as a B-side in 1984.
Jason established, the band went back to record their
fourth full-length album, äAnd Justice For All,
released in August 1988. It reached #6 on the US charts,
and received a Grammy nomination for Best Metal/Hard Rock
took the show back out on the road and toured extensively
to all parts of the world. ...And Justice For All
produced two US singles and the band's very first venture
into music video for the song One. They finally won
a Grammy for the One single.
Metallica released the self titled "black
album." With new producer Bob Rock, this album was a
departure from the previous album. The songs were shorter
and the sound was fuller, deeper and less monotone. The
"black album" went straight to number one all
over the world.. and stayed there for several weeks.
spawned several singles and videos and remains the most
successful Metallica album to date. The band won several
awards including a Grammy for the album and several MTV
and American Music Awards.
years would pass before the next Metallica album saw the
light. The album was called Load and was the
longest Metallica album to date. With 14 songs it took all
available room on a compact disc. The album was again
produced by Bob Rock, as was ReLoad, which followed
in 1997. Both albums were written and mostly recorded
together, and continued what the self-titled album
started. Soundwise, the album was thick and and punchy,
the songs were loose, powerful and eclectic.
be unfair to say Metallica changed a great deal, as the
band is the same band that recorded Kill 'Em All,
...And Justice For All and the rest, but the Load
twins show a Metallica that has grown towards expanding
past the "all attitude and speed" days and back
to the "be yourself" attitude.
completion and subsequent touring for Load and ReLoad
and quite possibly the end of this phase of Metallica,
it's natural only to become somewhat introspective. While
lyrically the Load albums reflected a great deal of what
lies inside each of us emotionally and subconsciously, it
came a time to look into what made this band.
greater reflection of what makes Metallica "Metallica"
are their influences. And as they did in 1981 when they
started, 1984 with Garage Days Revisited and 1987
with Garage Days Re-Revisited, the band did what
comes naturally.. they went back to the garage.
was and is very much a garage band. Whether it's in Kirk's
basement, Jason's Chophouse, Lars' Dungeon or on stage in
front of 50,000, Metallica always plays that song or that
riff that helped them out somewhere along the road. They
had already released 2 garage projects and put out a
smattering of cover songs as B-sides. In fact, the Garage
Days projects had become so collectable and rare, that
poorly-recorded bootleg copies have been circulating for
chose 11 new songs to record its third "in the
garage" project, again with Bob Rock. The project was
aptly-titled Garage Inc. as it incorporates ALL the
previously-recorded garage cover songs along with the 11
Calif.], gtr.; + Clifford Lee Burton [b. Feb. 10, 1962; d.
Sep. 27, 1986, Swed.]; bass) Kill ‘Em All (Megaforce)
1984 -- Ride the Lightning
1985 -- Whiplash EP (Elektra)
1986 -- Master of Puppets ( -- Burton; + Jason
Newsted [b. Mar. 4, 1963, Battle Creek, Mich.], bass)
1987 -- The $5.98 E.P. Garage Days Re-Revisited
1988 -- ... And Justice for All
1991 -- Metallica
1993 -- Live Shit: Binge & Purge
1995 - Load
1997 - ReLoad
2000 - S&M