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Реферат: Metallica: the beginnings

METALLICA is a mega-band of heavy metal from 80s and 90s, whose name became a
face of heavy metal for many fans and musicians.  There are only few bands in
the history of rock that reached such height as Metallica, and I doubt that
today someone else has such fame and popularity as them.  In short fifteen
years this band turned from a bunch of basement amateurs into a national
sensation.  Most importantly Metallica never compromised their music for
anyone in show business.  Their music always was their self-expression, their
faith.  In this story, I will try to tell how Metallica began.
Metallica’s beginning as many other things in this world owes to someone being
at the right place in the right time.  I’m talking about one of the founders of
future legend – its drummer, Lars Ulrich, who was born in faraway Denmark.
This fact is interesting, because only two famous performers of heavy metal
were ever born in Denmark: King Diamond and Ulrich himself.  Lars was born in a
suburb of Copenhagen on December 26, 1963 in family of famous at that time
tennis player, Torben Ulrich. Due to this, problem of Lars’s profession was
solved at early age.  At the beginning little Lars constantly traveled all
around the world with his dad to different championships and tournaments, and
later took up tennis himself. By the time Lars was ten, he was in the top ten
of Danish junior league, and would only keep advancing.  Both Lars and his
father were thinking that his future was set as a tennis star. However, that
soon changed.  In February of 1973 young Lars accidentally wound up at a
concert of Deep Purple. He was taken there by his father’s friend – old hippie
and fan of hard rock.  Lars himself had little interest in that kind of music.
What he saw, however, turned his world upside down.  A week later, Lars
brought home his first vinyl disc – album Deep Purple ‘71’ ‘Fireball’.  Lars
also got into Sweet, Uriah Heep, Slade, Thin Lizzy, and Black Sabbath – all the
British rock-elite.  Black Sabbath’s concert in 75 inspired other people too,
so Copenhagen at the time had plenty of teenagers jumping with some heavy music
and trying make guitarists of themselves.  Lars, on the other hand, chose a
very different instrument for himself – the drums.  More and more often you
could see him spending time with two sticks and a bunch of boxes instead of his
tennis racket.  Lars finally got real drums for his 13th birthday
after bugging his grandmother for several months.  One time going around his
favorite of music stores, Lars found out “New Wave of British Heavy Metal” or
“NWOBHM” that changed his life again. In fall of 79 Lars finally met a real,
live rocker – drummer of Motorhead, Phil Taylor.  Lars’s parents at the same
time were trying to find a way to deal with their son’s growing music
obsession.  They decided on moving to America, where they were sure, it would
be easier for Lars to concentrate on sport and continue his promising career in
that field, because of all the different tennis tournaments going on in there.
So in the middle of 1980 the whole family moved across the ocean to
California. Their new home became a place called New-Port Beach, several miles
to the south of Los-Angeles.  Lars’s parents sold his drums in Denmark before
the move and made him start on tennis again.  That didn’t work, however.  Two
months after the move, Lars got himself his own drums, and this time there was
nothing his parents could do to keep him away from them.  Lars had a problem
with America, though: nobody even heard about the music he was so crazy about.
There was nothing heavier than Van Halen on the west coast at that time.  It is
easy to understand how lonely Lars was in his passions.  Everyone considered
him completely crazy and hopelessly focused on his drums and foreign heavy
metal. In the beginning of 1981, however, Lars got lucky – he finally met a
common thinker, a guy named Jeff Warner, who played the guitar and also liked
British rock.  Right after they met, both agreed to devote all their free time
to heavy metal.  In the end of February they met Lloyd Grant, a skilled black
guitarist, who was ten years older than Lars and Jeff. Even though it didn’t
cause any trouble, after several weeks of training together, the three broke
up.  Lars and Lloyd had some purely communication problems, and Jeff,
disappointed by what happened, left too.
Now back to 63, when on August 3, James Allan Hetfield was born in Los-
Angeles’s 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, Hetfield’s
“enemies”.  With that set of mind, James didn’t really try with the piano and
interest himself with theory part; he just banged the keys to make some
noise. Interestingly enough, James’s 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 I’ll
tell you who you are.”  Ron was growing a perfect boy, until he met with
Hetfield.  Ron didn’t share James’s 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 James’s 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 wasn’t really one, it was James and Hue sitting and
playing together.  They didn’t have a bass player, so James offered Ron that
place.  Ron wasn’t a bass player, he didn’t even have a bass guitar, but
James didn’t care, he decided to teach Ron and he did.  Phantom Lord,
however, wasn’t 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
“Let’s Go Rock’n’Roll”.  First one was included in Metallica debut album and
the other two later made one song – “No Remorse”.  Leather Charm itself,
didn’t last long either: they didn’t 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 wasn’t 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 here’s 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.  It’s 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 didn’t play yet) thought Lars was the worst
drummer on earth. Lars couldn’t hold the rhythm, 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.  It’s 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 Lars’s family was and all the
excellent music equipment Lars had.  At the same time Lars was pulled in by
James’s 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 Hetfield’s 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
wasn’t really wasn’t 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.
Their not so big start came with help of one of Lars’s 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 Lars’s 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 James’s
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 Lars’s 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
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 didn’t want to take their chances with this name, so they had to
keep on thinking.  They finally got help with this from another Lars’s 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 couldn’t 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 didn’t consider him fit for the rhythm 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.
At this time, the kind of music METALLICA played, not only nobody else in
America played, but nobody even heard it!  It was really something new, and
unheard of before.  This can be explained be the absence of Metallica
concerts, which in turn can be explained by Metallica not being fully
compiled (James Hetfield, was still torn between vocals and guitar, and
refused to do both).
Finally, the historic even – first, the very first concert of Metallica –
happened in the club called “Radio City” in Anaheim, on March 14, 1982.  For
Metallica it was a completely new feeling new atmosphere – the world of live
music, unity of performers and listeners, where the boundaries between the
two disappear.  However, in those years only a few people took interest in
Metallica’s music, and the masses were crazy about the Glam-rock.  Despite
all that, guys’ popularity somehow kept growing and even Europe heard of
After some touring, Metallica set (which consisted of only “Hit The Lights”
at the time) finally had three more songs added to it: “The Mechanix”, “Jump
In The Fire”, and Hetfield’s “Motorbreath”.  In April of 82 these three plus
“Hit The Lights” were recorded on tape in McGownie’s garage.  Later this tape
became a basis for all the business deals.  Lars Ulrich and a guy named
Patrick Scott, started on distribution of these tapes, by passing out free
copies with card that said Metallica and their phone number to almost anyone
they saw.
At the same time, the band was continuously searching for a rhythm guitarist.
They found an extremely weird guy named Brad Parker, but after one concert
with him, they had to kick Brad out, and James Hetfield finally realized that
he would have to carry the burden, of playing the rhythm guitar.
In 1982 the “Metal Massacre” finally came out.  Even though its cover had
countless typos and the band’s name was spelled “Mettallica”, it became their
first official disc, and planted the seeds where Metallica’s later fame would
be partly rooted.
Things really to started to pick up the pace for Metallica when of their
concert recordings wound up in the hands of Kenny Kane, owner and manager of
independent company “High Velocity”.  Having found Metallica’s work very
innovative, Kane contacted the band and offered Metallica to release a whole
EP, promising to cover all the recording costs.  Sure enough, the band
agreed, but later it turned out that the concert tape Kane heard had only the
cover songs, not the Metallica originals, so Kane refused to put out the
Metallica vinyl.  However, the band still got their paid studio where they
recorded “No Life ‘Till Leather” – their new demo tape, which was spread the
same way as the first one.
On September 18 in San Francisco, Metallica appeared at the presentation of
“Metal Massacre” organized by Brian Slegel himself.  The band wound up there
pure accidentally after Cirith Ungol (one of Slegel’s picks) couldn’t make
it.  The interesting thing was that all the fans that came to that concert
had “No Life ‘Till Leather” and jointly sang the words of almost all the
Metallica songs.  This was the first time Metallica met with its real fans.
Metallica continued playing in San Francisco, gaining more and popularity
until November 28, when the band finally headlined their own show!  That show
was also where and when Metallica met Kirk Hammett, who then played in Exodus
– a band who was warming the crowd up at the show.
At the same time, there were and more problems with Ron McGownie in the
middle of Metallica itself.  Ron was getting more and more distant from other
band members, even during their friendly parties.  As things were getting
worse, Brian Slegel invited Lars and James to visit concert of the band
called Trauma.  There, both were completely captivated by Trauma’s bassist –
Cliff Burton.  Cliff didn’t have any desire to leave Trauma, but after the
concert and months after that Lars and James were literally stalking Burton,
trying to get him into Metallica.  Ron McGownie accidentally found out about
all this, and in December he officially left Metallica.  Several weeks after
that whole Metallica moved to San Francisco, and Cliff Burton finally agreed
to play with them.
When 1983 started, growing financial problems stopped Metallica’s growth,
until they a very influential west coast guy named Johnny Z.  Johnny Z.
managed his own store called “Rock-n-roll Heaven” where you could find
anything connected with heavy metal.  Same Johnny Z. also organized rock
concerts in New York and New Jersey from time to time.  Johnny convinced
Metallica to go New York where he housed all four guys for three months!
Gradually Dave Mustane and his heavy drinking started to distance him from
the band as Ron got distanced before that.  Moreover, other members of
Metallica got an Exodus tape and just as they did with Cliff, they got
determined that they have got to have Kirk Hammett instead of Dave.  In April
of 83 they shamelessly booted Dave, and instantly Kirk Hammett became the
newest member of the band.  Still Metallica kept playing at the same clubs
introducing their new member to the public. The fun ended when Johnny Z.
kicked them all out of his house for drinking two bottles of champagne that
were his family’s treasure.  For several weeks Metallica had to live in the
abandoned warehouse.
In the beginning of May, however, the band got news from Johnny that even
though he kicked them out of this house, he kept his word, and rented a
recording studio “Music America” for two weeks.  May 10, 1983 Metallica first
came into that studio. Their material was ready and dozens if not even
hundreds of times rehearsed. Finally, Metallica got its wish and they could
release their own disc!!!
Censorship didn’t allow the original name of the disc – “Metal Up Your A**”,
with a logo of a hand with a sword coming out of a toilet.  Metallica had to
settle on “Kill ‘Em All” that basically expressed their feelings toward the
This album sold thousands of copies and made finally made Metallica a
success, but that’s already another story...
P.S.  You can find out more about Metallica on my website:  


  1. Dougnton, K. J. Metallica unbound: the unofficial biography. New York: Warren Books, 1993
  2. Putterford, Mark Metallica live! London: Omnibus press, 1994
  3. Rees, Daffyd and Luke Crampton Encyclopedia of rock stars New York: DK, 1996
  4. Crocker, Chris Metallica: the frayed ends of metal New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1993
  5. Website: http://www.metallica.2000.ru
  6. Metallica in person. Port Chester, NY: Cherry Lane Music, 1990