Metallica (formed 1981)
Metallica is a Los Angeles-based heavy metal band. The band is one of the most successful heavy rock bands of all time and rose to fame with the release of 1986's Master of Puppets.
In 1981, Lars Ulrich placed an advert in The Recycler, an LA newspaper, looking for musicians to join him on drums, and citing Tygers of Pan Am, Iron Maiden and Diamond Head as influences. James Hetfield and Hugh Tanner, two guitarists, responded to the ad. A second ad found Dave Mustaine, on lead guitar, who was recruited on account of his extensive and expensive range of guitars and equipment. With Hetfield on bass on vocals, the band recorded 'Hit the Lights' for the Metal Massacre I compilation.
The band's first live show was in March 1982, at Radio City, in California. Ron McGovney had been recruited to play bass by this point. Later that year, they watched a band called Trauma at the Whiskey-A-Go-Go and recruited one of their members. Cliff Burton accepted and replaced McGovney. His first appearance on record with Metallica was the Megaforce demo.
The band's debut album was made possible by promoter Johnny Zazula, who borrowed money to set up his own label, Megaforce Recordings. Mustaine was forced out of the band for drug misuse and Kirk Hamnett was swiftly brought in to replace him.
Metallica: 1983 Onwards, Career Highlights
Metallica's debut album, Metal Up Your Ass was released in 1983, produced by Paul Curcio. The album was eventually renamed as Kill 'Em All, after distributors reacted against the original title. The album peaked at 120 on the US album charts and helped to build a fan base on the underground metal circuit in the US. In 1984, Metallica supported Venom on their Seven Dates of Hell tour.
Metallica's second studio album was released in 1984. Ride the Lightening included songs such as 'For Whom The Bell Tolls' and 'Creeping Death'.
In late 1984, an Elektra Records A&R representative attended a Metallica gig and the label eventually signed them. Metallica went on tour with Tank, playing to average crowds of 1300, their largest tour yet. They also played huge shows with W.A.S.P. and Armored Saint, as well as the Monsters of Rock festival at Donington Park, UK.
One of the band's most iconic albums, Master of Puppets, was released in 1986. The album reached number 29 in the US and was certified gold later that year. In 2003, the album was certified six times platinum. During their tour supporting Ozzy Osbourne, Hetfield broke his wrist whilst skateboarding. He continued on vocals, but guitar technician John Marshall had to play rhythm guitar for the band.
In September 1986, whilst on tour in Sweden, the driver of the tour bus lost control of the vehicle. Cliff Burton was pinned under the bus and eventually died. The remaining members of the band finally decided to continue with the band, after receiving Burton's family's blessings to do so. His replacement was Jason Newsted, formerly of the band Flotsam and Jetsam. In 1987, they released the video Cliff 'Em All, documenting the three years that Burton was in the band.
1988 saw the band release .And Justice For All. The album was a huge commercial success and earned the band a Grammy nomination. Metallica made their first promotional video for the song 'One' and was shown on MTV, becoming viewers' first exposure to Metallica.
In 1990, Bob Rock (formerly responsible for albums by Bon Jovi, Motley Crüe and the Cult) entered the studio with Metallica to record Metallica, alternatively known as 'The Black Album'. The album cost over $1 million to make, as it was remixed three times before release. On its release in 1991, it reached the top of the American album chart. The supporting stadium tour, which they co-headlined with Guns N' Roses, saw Hetfield suffer burns to his arms, face, hands and legs, when a pyrotechnic stunt went wrong
In 1995, whilst on a break from recording, the band played three huge outdoor shows, including a headliner at Donington Park, with Slayer, Skid Row and Therapy?
Their sixth studio album, released the next year, was Load. In support of the album, they headlined that year's Lollapalooza tour. With enough material from the recording session to release another album, Metallica then released ReLoad. They appeared on Saturday Night Live, performing 'The Memory Remains' with Marianne Faithfull.
In 2000, Metallica took legal action against the peer-to-peer file sharing website, Napster. With Dr. Dre joining Metallica in the fight against Napster, over 230,000 of its users were eventually banned. Napster eventually filed for bankruptcy in 2002.
In 2001, Newsted left Metallica, following a dispute with Hetfield over Newsted wanting to promote his side-project, Echobrain. Over the next two years, filmmakers recorded footage that would become the documentary Some Kind Of Monster. In the documentary, the band hired a therapist to help them to overcome their problems. Robert Trujillo, ex-member of Suicidal Tendencies, became Newsted's replacement.
St. Anger, released in 2003, was another number one for Metallica. The title track earned the band a Grammy Award. With Ulrich rushed to hospital during the Download Festival in 2004, he was replaced by Slayer's Dave Lombardo, Slipknot's Joey Jordison and their drum tech, Flemming Larsen. In 2005, the band opened for The Rolling Stones for two shows.
Metallica's next studio album, Death Magnetic, was slated for release in September 2008, this time with Rick Rubin on production duties. Their first performances of songs from the album were at the 2008 Leeds Festival.