If you were to take the smooth vocals of Iron Maiden, the in your face brooding metal and hard partying ways of Black Sabbath with a sprinkle of the epic guitar riffs of Led Zeppelin into a blender, the result may be something close to the band that would redefine the face of music in the early 1980’s. A band so popular that they were the first musical act ever to perform on all continents when they performed in Antarctica in 2013. A band who’s hard partying ways, and love of Jagermeister, helped usher in an era of hard partying rock star. How do you become known as one of music’s biggest acts? How? By consistently releasing great music! But do they still have a good time? What happened to METALLICA? Lets find out WTF Happened to METALLICA?
But as always we must begin at the beginning and the beginning began in 1981, Los Angeles when drummer Lars Ulrich put in advertisement in the local newspaper that said “Drummer looking for other metal musicians to jam with.” One person to answer the ad was guitarist and vocalist James Hetfield. Five months later, Ulrich’s friend who was forming a metal magazine was choosing between two names: MetalMania and Metallica. Ever the opportunist Ulrich liked the second name and convinced his friend that MetalMania would be the name of the magazine. Thus, Metallica was born. Soon after, guitarist Dave Mustaine joined the band. They recorded their first song, Hit the Lights. This led to Metallica’s first ever gig with Ron McGovney, the newly hired bassist. This gig was a success, and led to Metallica being invited to open up for the British touring band Saxon on their 1982 US Tour. By late 1982, the band had also recorded their first demo Power metal. Hetfield and Ulrich were not happy with McGovney’s bass playing, saying they didn’t feel that he added to the band. So, one fateful evening, Ulrich & Hetfield went to see the band Trauma at the Whisky A Go Go Club in West Hollywood, where they were blown away by Cliff Burton, the bands bassist. In May of the same year, the band was ready for their debut album. Unfortunately, at the time the band thought Dave Mustaine partied a little too much and led to many drunken nights. Kirk Hammet, the guitarist from Exodus, was brought in to replace Mustaine after he helped write many songs. With Hammet in place, the band was able to record their first album Metal Up Your Ass, but were convinced to change the name to a more marketable Kill ‘Em All which would initially sell just 17,000 copies in its first year before going on to sell over 4.5 million worldwide.Kill ‘Em All was not a massive success out the gate, but it built up enough of a fanbase that the band was able to start selling out underground clubs with their groundbreaking fast paced thrash metal sound. Metallica recorded their second album in 1984 in Ulrich’s native Denmark. Kirk Hammet adapted a line from Stephen King’s The stand to create Ride the Lightning .
The band’s first album was a low-selling affair, but after signing with the mega label Elektra records the album became a 6 time platinum album with over 7 million copies sold just in the United States. In 1986, the band released their third album Master Of Puppets. This album became their first big hit. It was certified Gold by RIAA and sold over 8 million copies worldwide. It is regarded as being one of the most influential metal albums recorded. The band was on their Damage Inc Tour in Europe when tragedy struck. On September 27, 1986, Cliff Burton, Lars Ulrich and James Hatfield decided to play cards to decide which bunk each member would sleep in. Burton won and chose Hammet’s bunk. The bus was involved in a serious accident at night, when everyone was asleep. Burton was violently thrown from the window and the bus rolled over on top of him. Cliff Burton, Metallica’s bassist was only 24 years old when he died. The band initially didn’t know what to do, but eventually agreed that Burton wouldn’t want them to lose their drive. The band remained close to Cliff’s family, and his father Ray Burton was a mainstay at Metallica live concerts until his death in 2020 at the age of 94.The audition process for a bassist began. They eventually found Flotsam & Jetsam bassist JasonNewsted who had memorized all the set lists for the band’s upcoming tour with Ozzy Osbourne. The band was so impressed that they hired him two days later. The hiring was supported and endorsed by Cliff Burton’s family who Newsted says gave him a hug after he got hired, telling him “You are it, please be safe.” In the studio they created The five-dollar E.P.- Garage Days Reviewed
which featured cover songs which would later be released in the bands 3.3-million-selling album Garage INC. released 1998. This E.P, or Extended Play to those who are not in the loop, was just an appetizer for their next album:
…And Justice For All. which included such iconic tracks as the Harvester of Sorrow and One. . It is widely regarded as one of greatest music videos of all time. The album was their first to chart, peaking at number 6 on the Billboard 100 charts. It would go on to sell more than 10 million albums around the world. They also won their first Grammy when One won the award for Best Metal Performance. The third Grammy in a row was won by the bands fifth studio record, Metallica- or as it is known more commonly: The Black Album. This record would propel Metallica to the top of the charts as one of the best bands ever. With epic tracks such as Enter Sandman, Sad But True, Wherever I May Roam in addition to daring new musical stylings such as The Unforgiven and Nothing Else Matters, The Black Album redefined an entire genre and in doing so become one of the highest selling albums of all time and one of only 4 albums to spend over 700 weeks on the Billboard 200 charts selling nearly 20 million albums worldwide.What do you do after you release a highly successful album? You tour! The band toured the world for the next three-years, including the now-infamous August 8, 1992 concert, where they were coheadliners with Guns n’Roses , when James Hetfield, confused as to where the pyrotechnics would be used on stage, walked into a 12-foot high flame, resulting in Hetfield receiving second and third degree burneds to his upper body. Hetfield was determined to continue the tour. He returned to the stage 17 days later, singing his hit songs, with a touring guitar filling in while he recovered. After the band’s headlining of Woodstock’94 (the one that didn’t get burned down), they would enter the studio to record their sixth studio album, Load. This was a controversial album for a few reasons. First, the band had cut their long hair, worn eye make-up, and looked less like the thrash pioneers that they were. The album had a softer sound than the band’s fans were used to. Last but not least, the band was known for their iconic illustrated covers, and for Load the group decided to go in a new direction. They enlisted controversial photographer Andres Serrano, who created the image titled Blood & Semen II which, as you can guess, was a mix of Serrano’s blood and bovine, pressed between plexiglass. Many criticized the album for being too grungy and taking away from their thrash metal roots. The band recorded enough music to create a double album, Reload
which featured Andres Serrano’s cover art again, this time his own urine and blood of bovines pressed together. The album received mixed reviews again, but Fuel-andThe Memories Remains-are both phenomenal tracks.1999 saw Metallica-do something no metal band had ever done before: collaborated with a Symphony in order to create a wholly unique experience for metal lovers. Mark Kamen approached the band in 1991 with this idea, and helped compose their iconic hit song Nothing else Matters. The album that resulted was S&M – also known as Symphony and Metallica. The following year, Metallica-would once again embark on a completely new venture when they agreed to create a new song. The song I disappear was going to be featured on Mission: Impossible-2
soundtrack. While recording demos, Metallica noticed incomplete versions of the song were leaked online. They were able trace it back to the file-sharing service Napster. The band then took legal action against Napster, citing copyright violations. This case was one that most people will remember Metallica-for, as it made a lot of headlines. In protest, many fans burned Metallica-merchandise. I guess they wanted to show that they were serious by burning merchandise they had already paid for? The case ultimately came down to this: the band became upset when they heard a rough version of their song posted on the internet. It’s a situation that is still prevalent today. Just a few weeks ago, Corey Taylor, lead singer of Slipknot , spoke about how important Metallica’s stance against Napster was to all artists from then on. Many of your favorite artists wouldn’t be around today if Metallica-hadn’t done what they did. It’s something that is still prevalent today. Just a few weeks ago, Corey Taylor of Slipknot said how important Metallica ‘s stance on Napster had been to all artists since then. Many of your favorite musicians wouldn’t even be around today if Metallica hadnt done what they did. Ulrich and Hetfield were now raising families and taking a break from music. Jason Newsted, who had said for years that music was his only passion, wanted to perform with his side project Echobrain if Metallica would be taking long breaks between gigs. Hetfield rejected this, saying it would dilute the Metallica brand. It was almost like cheating. Newsted decided to leave Metallica. The aftermath of this decision was chronicled in the hit document Metallica : Some Kind of Monster which tracked the band as it began recording their new album St. Bob Rock took over the bass duties for Anger , while Bob Rock was hired as a producer. The band then hired Suicidal tendencies bassist Robert Trujillo to be their next bassist. The film, directed Paradise Loss filmmakers Joe Berlinger, and Bruce Sinofsky gained notoriety for the unprecedented look into the inner workings the world’s biggest metal band, including lead singer James Hetfield’s struggle with addiction. The film won Best Documentary Feature in the Independent Spirit Awards. The album that resulted, St. Anger was released in 2003, but received less than stellar reviews. Many noted the absence of Metallica
signature guitarist solos and the “steely sound” of Ulrich’s drum. The band has been performing to Ennio’s Ecstasy of Gold from the film The Bad, The Ugly and the Good since the 80’s. When a tribute album for the legendary composer was being released, Metallica would record a version of the track which would result in the group receiving a Grammy nomination. The band then went back to the studio and recorded their ninth studio album Death Magnetic. The band continued their record of debuting at the top for three weeks in a row. Most reviews called it a return back to the thrash roots. It would eventually net them two Grammy awards for Best Rock Album and for Best Recording Package. A few years later, a follow-up E.P titled Beyond Magnetic-was released with 4 unreleased songs. They didn’t sit around, they released the videogame Guitar Hero: Metallica to great acclaim and on April 4, 2009 they were officially inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. It would seem that the band was having so much fun touring around the world, that the thrill of performing live became secondary. They performed at professional sporting events, including the NBA Finals, and at various festivals. In 2013, the band starred in the feature film Metallica : Through The Never that featured a live performance by the band while one of their roadies played by Dane DeHaan traverses an apparently post-apocalyptic setting set to the music. The 3D film, which was released in IMAX theaters across the country, failed to make its $32 million budget. It only made $31.9 million. It would take eight years before Metallica released their next album. This was the longest gap in the band’s history. The wait was worth it for many, as Hardwired… To Self Destruct received near unanimous praise. Many called the album a return to their heavier origins. The album marked the band’s sixth consecutive number-one debut. The album went on to win Album of the year from Revolver Magazine, Top Rock Album from the Billboard Music Awards, and be nominated at the Grammy Awards for Best Rock Album. The band will be heading out on tour to do what they love, perform live. The band headlined stadium-filling events for the next four years, including a concert with the San Francisco Orchestra called S&M2. The band stood by as their friend, James Hetfield, entered rehab in 2019. Many of the band’s live shows were then postponed until 2020. Of course 2020 would come and our dear trusted leader shut the fucking world down which would see many more shows get pushed back and/ or cancelled.While performing sets in their studio to benefit their All Within My Hands foundation, the band would begin formulating new material for their next album. The band dropped their eleventh album, Seasons , on November 28, 2022 without warning. Hetfield explained that the album was about the first 18 of our lives, where we shape who we are. The album was released on April 14,2023 and received exemplary reviews. Critics noted that Hetfield’s lyrics were more powerful than any of his previous albums in recent memory. They focused on hard-hitting trauma while mixing in genuine moving lyrics. The album debuted at number one in twenty different countries but it actually debuted at number two in the United States. This ended the bands 35-year streak of debuting at the top of the US charts. The band’s newest album has been certified Gold and they are embarking on their latest world tour, the M72 World Tour which is scheduled to run through September 29, 2024. Tour reviews have stated that
Metallica-is still the best live band. The members of Metallica may appear to be a band that is only about music, but there’s much more. Hetfield will appear in Joe Berlinger’s 2019 Ted Bundy movie Extremely Wicked Shockingly Vile , while Kirk Hammet is a surfer. Lars can also be found in his native Sweden when he is not on stage. Robert Trujillo, meanwhile, is the proud father of son Tye, who has followed his father’s footsteps and is the bassist and singer for the thrash metal group Ott Tye helped record the guitar riffs that you heard in the now famous scene from Stranger things where Eddie Munson rocked out to Master Of Puppets on a rooftop. This scene reignited the passion of long-time Metallica fans while introducing them to a new generation. And that’s what happened to Metallica?