METALLIFUX - A HISTORY OF METALLICA
Once upon a time there was a tiny Danish boy who wanted to be a
tennis player. He wanted to follow in the footsteps of his dad,
Torben Ulrich. Unfortunately, his parents saw their dreams of
their son in tennis heaven shatter when the little boy bought his
first drumkit in 1976, aged 13. Some years before, little Lars
(for what was the boy's name) had seen his first hardrock concert
(Deep Purple). Since that date, he had started collecting
everything of Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy and other groups
belonging to the so-called New Wave of British Heavy Metal.
On his drum-kit, Lars (born 26 December 1963) born sought to
imitate his idol, Deep Purple's Ian Paice. Not much later,
however, he had to sell his drumkit when his parents moved to a
town called Newport Beach, south of Los Angeles. For a moment
they thought their son would be a tennis star yet, but later he
bought another drumkit anyway.
In 1980, Lars' favourite band was Diamondhead, an English band.
He was completely obsessed by this group, and even lived with
them for a couple of months. During that time in Europe he got to
know Mercyful Fate as well. When he eventually went back to
California he wanted to found a European sounding band.
First, Lars was asked to join Kurdt Vanderhoof's Anvil Chorus -
the band that was later to become Metal Church. As Kurdt lived in
San Fransisco and Lars in Los Angeles, however, this didn't
He put an ad in a magazine called "The Recycler". On the same
page where his ad was, someone called James Allen Hetfield (born
3 August 1963) also had a little advertisement. James, who had
previously played in Obsession and who was then in a band called
Leather Charm, became Lars' good friend. They wanted to form a
band together, and they named it Metallica (after the name of a
magazine done by one of their friends, who later had to change it
because of that).
Hit the Lights
Their first golden opportunity came when Brain Slagel, publisher
of the "Heavy Metal Review" magazine, was compiling material for
a sampler of some Los Angeles bands, called "Metal Massacre".
Metallica could do their first songs on it if they wanted.
They needed musicians for it, though, as there were only the two
of them. Eventually they did it themselves - just the two of them
and a 4-track TEAC tape recorder. With James on guitar, bass and
vocals and Lars on drums. They recorded "Hit the Lights", "Let it
Loose" and "Killing Time" (the latter two were covers). The black
guitar player Lloyd Grand joined them temporatily to do some
In January 1982 Lloyd was already kicked out of the band, to be
replaced by someone called Mike who one week later had to make
way for Dave Mustaine (born 13 September 1963). Bass player Ron
McGovney (James' room mate, whom he himself taught to play bass)
"Hit the Lights" shook the underground music scene, in spite of
the abysmal quality, James' throat ache during its recording and
Lars' cheapo drumkit.
In March 1982, Metallica already were the support act of Saxon.
Unfortunately, the growth of Metallica co-incided with the growth
of glamour-and poser rock (Motley Crue and all that stuff).
Nobody was interested in the much louder and more heavy music
Metallica made. Some primary gigs would just result in the
audience seeking shelter with only a few people remaining,
freaking out utterly.
They did another demo tape again, in April. It was a 4-track
recording again, this time featuring a better version of "Hit the
Lights" together with "The Mechanix" (the pre-version of "The
Four Horsemen", with different lyrics), "Jump in the Fire" and
Shortly afterwards, on May 28th, they played as support act of
Leatherworf, August Redmoon and Roxy Roller. They performed some
gigs with a fifth member, rhythm guitarist Jef Warner. Jef was
kicked out of the band quickly, after which James took up the
guitar again. Before that, James had wanted to concentrate on
In July 1982, the "No Life Till Leather" demo was recorded. This
contained the four songs mentioned above as well as "Seek and
Destroy", "Metal Militia" and "Phantom Lord". This demo conquered
the world and got raving reviews all over the globe. It was fast
and aggressive - in other words something totally different and
revolutionary at the time.
This demo caused several local labels to get an interest, among
which was Mike Varney's Shrapnel records (who discovered
Malmsteen, Backer, Friedman, to name but a few). They did not
want to do a deal with him because they needed an opportunity to
get worldwide recognition and chances at the time were slim of
ever getting that with Shrapnel.
On 18 September of that year, Brian Slagel organised a large
concert in the Keystone in San Fransisco. As one of the bands
could not perform there, Metallica got a chance. The "Bay Area
Bangers" were founded there and then. It was the start of a
successful sequence of sold-out gigs in front of many headbanging
nutters. In the end of October the first real gig took place in
The Old Waldorf, supporting Laaz Rockit. Their first headline
concert was on November 29th 1982, where a band called Exodus
supported them. In that band a chap called Kirk Hammett played -
though that was not important yet. This concert was taped, and
the recording was featured on the "Live Metal Up Your Ass" demo.
The Most Headbanging Bassist
Another band also performed concerts somewhere in the Bay Area.
The band was called Trauma, and when Lars and James witnessed one
of that band's gigs they saw "the most headbanging bassist". He
looked very different from others, with flared trousers, a hippy
look and a mentality of "I don't care shit about anything". This
was Cliff Burton (born 10 February 1962).
Lars and James wanted him to join Metallica but he refused many
times until, eventually, he agreed. That was near the end of
1982. Cliff had mentioned one condition, though: The entire band
would have to move to Los Angeles.
So they did.
On November 30th, McGovney played his last concert with
Metallica, in the Mabuhay Gardens. On February 15th 1983 the band
had located itself in Los Angeles, with Dave staying at one of
their friends' grandmother's house! By the end of February they
had recorded their fourth demo, featuring "No Remorse" and
"Whiplash". On March 5th, Cliff played his first gig at The
Stone, San Fransisco.
Not long after that they went to the East coast to do some
concerts organised by Johnny Zazula (later founder of Megaforce
records that would sound Metallica). They would perform with
Venom, Vanderberg and The Rods. Mustaine was a drunken animal
most of the time so eventually he got kicked out of the band.
That very same day they auditioned Kirk Hammett (born 18 November
1962) who then joined.
Kill 'Em All
Between May 10th and May 27th, "Kill 'Em All" was recorded in
the Barrett Studios, marketed by Megaforce. This album was to
give them worldwide recognition and is one of the best albums in
written heavy metal history. From July 27th to September 3rd they
toured with Raven on the "Kill 'Em All For One" tour. Many people
saw them, many people enjoyed what they saw. Metallica became
more and more well known...
Ride the Lightning
The next 2 to 3 months, "Ride the Lightning" was recorded in
Copenhagen, Denmark. Recording had to be paused many times for
loads of touring dates throughout Europe. Around that time, the
EP "Jump in the Fire" was released. This featured a b-side of
'live' tracks (which were, however, recorded in the studio with
audience dubbed over later). The band was searching for a better
singer because they thought James wasn't good enough. Nobody was
interested, however. Eventually they decided that James would
have to do. They also decided to switch management (to Q Prime)
and dump Megaforce records in favour of Elektra.
When "Ride the Lightning" was released it sold 100,000 within a
short time. They toured a lot, gaining more and more fans. Later
that year the "Creeping Death" EP was released - that also sold a
In August and September 1985, Metallica played at Monsters of
Rock between Ratt and Bon Jovi. On one of those gigs, James said
"If you came here to see spandex and fuckin' eye make-up and all
that shit and the words rock'n'roll baby in every fuckin' song,
this ain't the fuckin' band!" The sales of "Ride the Lightning"
doubled within a couple of weeks. Two weeks later, they played at
the "Day on the Green" for 90,000 insanely enthusiastic people
(Scorpions, Y&T and Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force also played
there). On September 14th they played at the Metal Hammer
festival in Germany near the Loreley.
Master of Puppets
Up to December 27th 1985, Metallica worked on their third album,
"Master of Puppets". They played at the New Years Eve show at the
San Fransisco Civic Centre, together with Exodus (where Kirk had
come from), Metal Church (that had almost had Lars for a drummer)
and Megadeth (Mustaine's band). In January, "Master of Puppets"
was mixed with Michael Wagener. In March it was eventually
released. It was to be in the US album charts for 72 weeks!
On March 27th Metallica started the world tour supporting Ozzy
Osbourne. On June 26th James broke his wrist skateboarding. John
Marshall, Kirk's guitar roadie and now member of Metal Church,
was to play guitar until September 25th - with James on vocals
and his arm in a cast.
On September 26th James could play the guitar again, first
doing this in the Solnahallen in Stockholm, Sweden. On the way to
the next concert location, in Denmark, death struck: The tour bus
driver feel asleep, causing a skid. Cliff was hurled out of the
bus, after which the whole thing came on top of him.
On September 27th 1986 Cliff Burton, the most headbanging
bassist, was no more.
The band as well as the metal loving world was shocked. Cliff
had been one hell of a bass player annex space freak cadet. But,
as we could read in the "Whiplash" lyrics: "We'll never quit,
we'll never stop, 'cause we're Metallica."
They decided to go on, and set out on a Quest for a new bass
player. They found Jason Newsted (born 4 March 1963), formerly
bass player and main songwriter with Flotsam & Jetsam. After
having been made familiar with Metallica's music (not to leave
out the drinking habits), Jason was accepted and on November 8th
he played his first gig at the Los Angeles Country Club.
...And Justice For All
In April 1987 James broke his arm again. This time he got a
steel pin inserted in his wrist to prevent it from easily
breaking again. It healed in time for performances at the
Monsters of Rock tour, where they perform for a total of 200,000
people in Donington, Pforzheim and Nürnberg.
"Garage Days Re-revisited", the first Metallica product with
Jason on it, was released around that time. On December 4th the
"Cliff 'Em All" home vid' hommage to Cliff was released, too.
This was a video tape featuring some moderate quality bootleg
tapes of concerts featuring Cliff - in spite of the quality, one
hell of a document with a great atmosphere.
On January 19th 1988 the band started recording "...And Justice
for All". All in all, recording took two months because all
recordings had to be done anew due to dissatisfaction - only some
drum bits of "The Shortest Straw" and the covers ("The Prince"
and "Breadfan") were retained. Originally Mike Clink was supposed
to produce the album but eventually this was all redone with
Flemming Rasmussen. Eventually, the album was released on
Metallica again played on Monsters of Rock, with many gigs in
the US, Spain and France. After that, Europe and the US were
toured with Queensrÿche up to April 21st 1989.
The Damaged Justice tour was interrupted for the group having to
perform "One" live at the Grammy Award ceremony on February 22nd.
They didn't get the prize, even though Elektra had already had
1,000,000 stickers "Grammy Award Winners" printed to be put on
the album. Jethro Tull (of all things) won instead. The sticker
was changed to "Losers". By the end of 1989, "...And Justice for
All" was double-platinum. In 1990 Metallica did win a Grammy
anyway for the best single - "One". Even in 1991 they got one for
"Stone Cold Crazy" that they had done for the Elektra sampler.
After a long holiday, May 1990 saw Metallica emerging for a
short European tour with dates in England, Germany and Holland on
the Metal Hammer festival with Dio, Warrior Soul and Bonham.
After that they went back to the States to work on material for
their new album, "Metallica".
In August 1991 that album was eventually released. Also due to
its brilliant production (with Bob Rock) it was another milestone
in heavy metal history, a brilliant album that everybody should
The album's release was supported by yet another appearance on
Monsters of Rock, kicking off on August 10th in Kopenhagen. They
toured there with Queensrÿche, Black Crowes and AC/DC, with
Motley Crue being added to the American bill.
In April 1992 they embarked on the tour they are still on as
this ST NEWS was released. During the early dates of that tour,
on April 20th to be more precise, they were one of the bands
performing at the Freddie Mercury Tribute (Concert for AIDS
Awareness) in front of a 72,000 people crowd. They played three
songs there ("Enter Sandman", "Sad but True" and "Nothing Else
Matters"(!)), and later James appeared in the all-star set to
sing "Stone Cold Crazy" with the remaining Queen members and Tony
Metallica is said to come to Europe for their actual tour in
early autumn, so perhaps we'll meet you there (which is, let's
face it, only probable at a Dutch tour date).
Two interesting facts to close all of this down with. The first
one is the fact that, on April 17th 1992, the "Top 100 Of All
Times" in Holland was broadcasted. Metallica's "One" was in it,
on position 42 (yes, forty-two!). The second is the fact that a
specific species of Bird-Spider has metallica as Latin species
End thus endeth the history of Metallica. A story of "Metal Up
Your Ass", "Bang that Head that doesn't Bang" and similar slogans
along that line.
Metallica. The prime band. Dig them. They're worth it, for
they're the best.
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.