Metallica: the beginnings

: 3/5

Their not so big start came with help of one of Larss friends working in publishing of New Heavy Metal Review, Brian Slegel. At that time, in 1981, there were more and more heavy metal bands appearing in Los-Angeles, and Brian decided to put best of them on one disc. To put this idea to life Slegel created his own company Metal Blade, and started calling all his familiar local bands for this compilation, which was going to be called Metal Massacre. Brian already got a yes for a song for Bitch, Steeler and Ratt, when he got a call from Lars Ulrich who asked if Slegel could include a song from Larss band if he was able to put one together. Brian said that he would be happy to do it, by that giving a start to METALLICA! Slegel may overestimate his contribution into creation of this mega band, but METALLICA really got their first song out with Metal Massacre. After talking on the phone with Slegel, Ulrich hurriedly found James Hetfield, and told him that they had a chance to be featured on a vinyl if they came up with a whole band real fast. Hetfield agreed, as he figured there was nothing to lose. This way a distant likelihood of a band was quickly compiled. After that, they still had a task of writing the song itself. This, however, took them even less time than compiling a band. Their Hit The Lights was piece of Jamess old Leather Charm song, with Lars adding something of his own to it. Due to fact that their likelihood of the band had an awful shortage of players, Lars and James had to record drums, bass, guitar and vocal on a primitive four-track TEAC all by themselves. After that they got a soloist named Lloyd Grant who was already mentioned in the story through the same Recycler. Even though the quality of their final recording had a vast room for improvement, Brian Slegel was happy with Hit The Lights and even declared it the best song he got for his compilation. Such turn of events made musicians themselves much more than happy, and James even changed his opinion about Larss skills and decided the continue their joint playing. Moreover, Lars finally got a new set of drums and they sounded nothing like the old set did.

Now the story finally comes to the name METALLICA. After recording Hit The Lights, Lars and James needed a name under which to present themselves to the world. Back in those days, long and inflated names like today, were not in fashion, so it was quite a task picking a good name. James and Lars have gone over a whole bunch of different names like Grinder, Blitzer, Red Vette, Helldriver, and even Thunderf**k. They both really liked the name Thunderf**k and even came up with a logo for it, but censorship is censorship and they didnt want to take their chances with this name, so they had to keep on thinking. They finally got help with this from another Larss friend Ron Quintann. Ron often visited Lars, and one fall evening of 1981, he came to Ulrich glowing from happiness and told Lars, that his lifelong dream - creating his own heavy-metal newspaper is about to turn to reality, and that all he needed was a name for his paper! It turned out that Ron already had two choices, and he couldnt decide to pick either Metallica or Metal Mania. Trying to hide his excitement, Lars blurted out that Metal Mania was way better. This famous theft happened on October 27, 1981, giving the world METALLICA. Almost the next day, James created a logo for the name: the one with arrows, which you can see on any Metallica merchandise today. Passing the name and the logo to Brian Slegel, Lars and James started on the actual problems: getting a bassist and a second guitarist. Bassist was found very fast this empty place was given to good old Ron McGownie. Even though neither Lars not James ever took Ron as a real musician, they had to compile the band the sooner the better that was the main condition for participating in the project of Brian Slegel. Finding the second guitarist took a while longer. The fact that Lloyd Grant is not going to stay in Metallica longer than it took to record Hit The Lights was apparent to everyone: Lars and James didnt consider him fit for the rhyth guitar. After trying out a couple dozens different guitarists, they had to turn to their old tested method the newspaper ad. It worked this time too, getting Metallica Dave Mustane. For Dave playing the guitar was the only escape in his awful childhood, so he was good enough for Metallica, and after one rehearsal Dave did with them, he became their member. First thing, Dave called their Hit The Lights and the band rerecorded all the solos in it. In fact the new version did turn out much better.

: 5/07/2007