Metallica: the beginnings

: 2/5

Now back to 63, when on August 3, James Allan Hetfield was born in Los-Angeless suburb, Norwalk. Unlike Lars, James Hetfield started taking on music at very early age his father Virgil made him take fortepiano lessons. All those lessons made Beethoven, Mozart, and all other classics, Hetfields enemies. With that set of mind, James didnt really try with the piano and interest himself with theory part; he just banged the keys to make some noise. Interestingly enough, Jamess older brother considered him to be skilled enough and accepted him into his own band The Bitter End, where he himself played the drums. Gradually James got into heavy metal as much as Lars did.

Story of the third member of future band Metallica, story of Ron McGownie, can be summed up in only one saying: Tell me who your friends are, and Ill tell you who you are. Ron was growing a perfect boy, until he met with Hetfield. Ron didnt share Jamess music passions, but in time James infected him with them, and Ron decided to start playing the guitar, too.

James started two bands one after another: Obsession, and Syrinx, but neither lasted that long. In 1980 Jamess mother died and he moved to Brie with his brother. There he met with guy named Hue Tanner and formed a band called Phantom Lord. The band wasnt really one, it was James and Hue sitting and playing together. They didnt have a bass player, so James offered Ron that place. Ron wasnt a bass player, he didnt even have a bass guitar, but James didnt care, he decided to teach Ron and he did. Phantom Lord, however, wasnt doing all that good: Hue Tanner, as good as he was as a guitarist, finally decided to go into music management. Couple of days after Hue left, James brought a drummer named Jim Mulligan, who was his former classmate, and a new guitarist, Troy James Hetfield still wanted to be only a vocalist. After all these changes a new band was formed Leather Charm. This band, however, played a very different kind of music from what Hetfield played before: Leather Charm played the real glam-rock. For the first time they wrote three of their own songs: Hit The Lights, Handsome Ransom and Lets Go RocknRoll. First one was included in Metallica debut album and the other two later made one song No Remorse. Leather Charm itself, didnt last long either: they didnt play any concerts and Mulligan wanted to played more progressive music. Nevertheless, Leather Charm because an ugly prototype of future Metallica.

But without Lars Ulrich, METALLICA wasnt destined to be. This way we come to a moment when James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich finally meet each other. When Leather Charm broke up, James placed an ad in California newspaper The Recycler something like looking for musicians in a band. But heres the tricky part: such ads were so rare that in section Heavy-metal of The Recycler there were only two names: James Hetfield and . Lars Ulrich! So it was impossible for them not to call each other. Its also very interesting, it turned out that James and Lars already met and even played together. When it was only James and Hue, Hue brought Lars to one of their rehearsals, and they all played a little together. That time, however, both James and Ron (it happened in his house, but he didnt play yet) thought Lars was the worst drummer on earth. Lars couldnt hold the rhyth, and was awful compared to Mulligan. Fate, however, had other opinion, so this time was different. After meeting with James, Lars dragged James to his house where he played his vinyl discs to James the whole day constantly adding some needed and unneeded comments, and also stories about various European concerts and parties with Diamond Head and Motorhead. Hetfield instantly fell in love with all those British bands, but he was too shocked by information overload, moreover as he never even NWOBHM before. At that time I was listening to Black Sabbath, Judas Priest bands also British, but I never had any idea about any underground! His impression of Lars, however, was much different from impression he got from Lars music collection. Its even rumored that James said to Lars that he stinks and suggested using soap. On the other hand, James was downright impressed by how rich Larss family was and all the excellent music equipment Lars had. At the same time Lars was pulled in by Jamess experience in collective work and all his ideas and suggestions for rehearsals, renting their own place to play, and all the other stuff necessary for a band to exist. Of course, I wanted all this, Lars says, but James just stumbled me with all his ideas. To say the truth, I just wanted someone to play my favorite songs with, instead of simply sitting alone and mindlessly pounding the drums. Nevertheless, the same evening, thanks to James Hetfields determination the legendary METALLICA was conceived. Of course it took them much more than one time to get something done. When it came to first rehearsals, Hetfield called Lars an incapable Dutch midget, and left banging the door. To tell the truth though, Lars wasnt really wasnt that good at the time, and had to play the cheapest Woolworsth set of drums that cost him seven bucks. Over a period of time, however, Lars and James got over their animosity and became good friends.

: 5/07/2007