Welcome, gentle Metalhead, to a whistlestop tour of Metallica’s long and winding career. The band who brought Thrash to the world. Four guys who delivered some of the most iconic metal albums of the 1980’s (and early 90’s).
Think of this as the ‘Behind The Music’ with a difference – this is the untold story of Metallica. Because it’s the untrue story of Metallica.
Find out how [[Metallica]] formed, how Dave Mustaine got literally ‘ejected’ from the band and find out the real story behind the Metallica v Napster court case.
It’s 1981, and friendless tennis geek Lars Ulrich hit upon a plan to recruit some mates – he was going to start a band. Initially he was inspired by a British musical movement and decided to start a skiffle group with himself on lead washboard. However, upon meeting be-mulletted son-of-a-truck-driver James Hetfield, Lars decided to seek out a heavier sound.
And thanks to a faulty gramophone playing Black Sabbath at too quick a speed, the thrash genre was born. It wasn’t a stroke of genius, Ulrich just didn’t realise the record player was screwed.
It was in these early days Metallica decided to differentiate themselves from the herd. This isn’t as easy as you think in an industry where everybody wears black. Here’s where Hetfield showed his visionary leadership – he decided that he should have the most iconic stance in rock. Did you think that stage pose came about naturally? James underwent an intensive programme of horse-riding and getting kicked in the nuts in order to perfect his rawk stance. And I think you’ll agree that it paid off.
Mustaine Gets The Boot
No-one quite knows where Dave Mustaine came from, but conspiracy theorists speculate that he’s either an advanced form of phlegm or an early, less likable prototype of Axl Rose. Either way, he managed to wow his way into Metallica with a solid gold Flying V. Hetfield and Ulrich weren’t all that impressed with his playing, but they figured they could pawn the guitar to cover the cost of studio time.
However wasted he was on his addiction du jour, Mustaine could shred like a man possessed. With his wavy strawberry blonde hair and menacing sneer, no-one would have guessed he was a corrosive personality within the band. Fortunately, they weren’t famous yet, so no-one cared.
Ultimately, the other members of Metallica would get so pissed off with him that they kicked him out of a moving car on the way home from a gig one night. OK, it was only over a fart, but it was a fart too far…
When Mustaine got up and dusted himself off, he promptly formed his own four-piece thrash act with a spiky ‘M’ type logo and himself as frontman. A class act, and despite his success with Megadeth, we still remember him today as the loser who got kicked out of Metallica.
Lars Sues The Fans
Metallica’s lowest point came in the new millennium. Leaving a late night business meeting, Lars was attacked and bitten by a rabid lawyer. Though the bite had no effect on his ability to do a mean paradiddle, Ulrich became withdrawn and the band didn’t see him for a fortnight. When he eventually resurfaced, Lars was busily campaigning for the death sentence for all Napster users.
He eventually settled for the banning of 350,000 Napster users before he was diagnosed with lawyer-poisoning and treated in a special rehab facility. Although he hasn’t taken any more legal action against file sharers, many fans believe that Metallica have been pursuing a new strategy of releasing music so bad that no-one wants to share the files.
Rehab, Therapy and St Anger Management
The new millennium was not kind to the members of Metallica. Jason Newstead, erstwhile bassist for the band since Cliff Burton’s death at the hands of Dave Mustaine (don’t believe the bus crash cover-up). Sorry, Jason Newstead finally left the band for more fulfilling musical ventures. He subsequently joined less interesting thrash act, Voivod and was never heard of again.
Hetfield, on the other hand went into rehab due to an unhealthy addiction to country music. When Lars discovered a Garth Brooks compilation behind Hetfield’s amp, he and Kirk Hamster staged an intervention and persuaded Hetfield to go into rehab. In order to preserve his hard-man image, the Metallica management leaked a story about him being admitted for drink and ‘other addictions’. Now you know what those addictions were.
This intervention was the catalyst for the band to become all new-agey and get in touch with their feelings. It coincided with them hiring a film crew to document the creation of the St Anger album and a therapist to mediate between them. Before long the studio was filled with the scent of incense and the sound of Buddhist chanting. The band strengthened their bonds but released the critical flop of their career. Fortunately, they’ve been in a freakishly long group hug since 2003 and haven’t noticed yet.
The Bits We Missed
Somewhere in between all these touch points in Metallica’s history, they managed to release some outstanding music. They had a bassist die, a bassist leave but the line-up has remained remarkably solid in the last 20-odd years.
Then there’s the rumors that Metallica captured Mustaine in 1987 and tortured him for badmouthing them – the footage of the soldier on his deathbed in One is actually a confused and disoriented Dave Mustaine. You’ll note that he toned down his remarks about Metallica after that point.
We hope you enjoyed our history of Metallica. If you did, please take a moment to send positive energy to them with the power of your mind. They like that.