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Artist: Metallica

Metallica

Bio

Metallica is an American metal band formed in 1981 in Los Angeles, California, United States when drummer Lars Ulrich posted an advertisement in The Recycler. Metallica’s line-up originally consisted of Ulrich, rhythm guitarist and vocalist James Hetfield, and lead guitarist Dave Mustaine. Mustaine was later fired due to problems with alcoholism and drug addiction - he went on to form the band Megadeth. Exodus guitarist Kirk Hammett took his place. Metallica has been through several bassists, including Ron McGovney, Cliff Burton (who died in a bus crash while the band was on tour), and Jason Newsted. The current bassist is Robert Trujillo, who joined in 2003. Metallica’s early releases included fast tempos, instrumentals, and aggressive musicianship that placed them as one of the “big four” of the thrash metal sub-genre alongside Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax. The band earned a growing fan base in the underground music community and critical acclaim, with the 1986 release Master of Puppets described as one of the most influential and “heavy” metal albums. The band achieved substantial commercial success with Metallica (1991), which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. With this release the band expanded its musical direction resulting in an album that appealed to a more mainstream audience. In 2000, Metallica was among several artists who filed a lawsuit against Napster for sharing the band’s copyright-protected material for free without the band members’ consent. A settlement was reached, and Napster became a pay-to-use service. Despite reaching number one on the Billboard 200, the release of St. Anger alienated many fans with the exclusion of guitar solos and the “steel-sounding” snare drum. A film titled Some Kind of Monster documented the recording process of St. Anger. Metallica has released nine studio albums, two live albums, two EPs, twenty-two music videos, and forty-four singles. The band has won nine Grammy Awards, and has had five consecutive albums debut at number one on the Billboard 200, making Metallica the only band ever to do so. The band’s 1991 album, Metallica, has sold over 15 million copies in the United States, and 22 million copies worldwide, which makes it the 25th-highest-selling album in the country. The band has sold an es
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News

Metallica Through the Never (Music from the Motion Picture) by Metallica - ArtistDirect

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09/24/2013
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Articles

Metallica: Reminiscing With Lars Metal Mania, Jan 1990

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OKAY, SO what can be said about the dudes in Metallica that hasn't already been said? We've heard the records, we've seen the stadium tours. We've seen the bogus Grammy awards, and we've seen the video at least a million times.

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They are the "thrash" band par excellence that started out by getting in our face, not taking no for an answer and refusing to go away when the music industry first dismissed them as noisy kids. Metallica is the perfect revenge on an ultra-conservative right wing society that is convinced that all music heavier than Madonna, Debbie Gibson, and Bruce Springsteen is straight from hell (which ain't a bad place to be, as Bon Scott once said). It's that nonconformist "do as we please" attitude coupled with the larger-than-life noise factor that has kept my attitude firmly focused in the direction of the Bay Area Metal Mecca and on these four perpetual musical anarchists.

At the ungodly hour of 2:30am my phone rings. It's the man that helped to spawn an entire youth culture whose roots are stark, cold reality, where once before was only a morass of poseurs and corporate pretty boy bands. Lars Ulrich is in Japan, having dragged his ass out of the bed and gone on the mission impossible of finding a western omelette in the land of the rising sushi – I mean, sun. He asks me if we can postpone the interview until he finds it – or at least until room service can find him something edible.

About an hour later I find myself on the phone again. Having finally scored the big breakfast and gotten his gut taken care of, with much clattering of plates in the background, we settle down for a little rappin' about the life and times of the ultimate Metallibrat.

Fishing for something new and exciting, I ask him if he ever really dreamed he would be so damn famous. What I got was the Reader's Digest Condensed version of the beginnings of Metallica.

"When I moved to America in 1980 to pursue this whole tennis thing," starts Lars, "that whole tennis thing really kind of backfired because of the competition level and shit in America. A lot of what was going on musically, that I was into in '79 and '80, was happening over in Europe, and me ending up in L.A., and stuff, I felt so isolated and removed from what I really wanted. I became really obsessed with what was going on in Europe, and in about a matter of three months, the whole tennis thing really went down the fucking drain and this whole music thing just sort of took over. I never sat there and said, 'Oh, I want to be a performer,' or 'I want to make records and tour the world,' or any of that kind of shit. Music was sort of a hobby away from tennis; that whole thing was so far removed from what I was doing that it was sort of unreachable. All I wanted to do was play with a couple of guys and play some of my favorite British metal cover songs. That was basically why I formed Metallica with James. I just wanted to have a bit of a band going and play some of my favorite songs and meet every day and have fucking fun and drink and shit."

"People always go, 'Did you ever dream of being a rock star,' and all these other ridiculous terms that people come up with. When we started, it was basically unreachable, so our thoughts and dreams never went that far. It was like, 'Wow, we got a gig at the Troubadour on Tuesday.' That was the biggest thing that could happen in our fucking lives. That was the extent of it, and I think that maybe the reason that Metallica has been doing so fucking good is that we've never been that kind of band that has set ridiculous goals and shit like that."

"You read a lot of interviews with other bands that say, 'Oh, ever since I was a kid I dreamed of being in a big famous band.' That was never the case with me. I just wanted to play some music with a few friends that played some of my favorite New Wave of British Heavy Metal songs. That was the extent of that. Then we started gigging a little bit and then we started playing in Frisco. After a while, we started writing some of our own songs and then we made a demo tape and so forth and so forth. And we just kind of went with it, you know what I mean? There were never any huge expectations or any goals or anything like that."

"We moved to Frisco in '83 and that's because we saw this guy, Cliff Burton, in a band down in L.A., and we really wanted him to play bass. But after pursuing his ass for about four months, he finally said that he would join the band on the one condition that we moved up to San Francisco because he didn't want to move to L.A. So, we said, 'Okay, fuck it. L.A. is pretty shitty for us anyway.' Because, that was right when Ratt and Motley Crue and all that stuff was happening in L.A.. So, we just said, 'SEE YA!' And went up to Frisco where I think people were a lot more open-minded to different things. We're not so fashion and visual oriented as they were down in L.A., so we felt a lot more at home up there, anyway."

Being as how they are the band to go see on tour this year, and even industry people are scrambling to get to their gigs, I was wondering how things had changed for them, if he ever thought back to those times when they were just a small garage band playing around the clubs, the undisputed gods of the underground tape trading scene. Had success changed how he felt about things? That always seems to be the question once a band makes it big. I'm sure that he had heard it before, but Lars gave me quite a candid answer.

"Sometimes I feel that, I don't know – just because we are bigger now than we've ever been and we're doing more, that doesn't mean that we're having more fun than we've ever had," says Ulrich. "I think that we had just as much fun back then – or maybe even more fun – sometimes we talk about how it would be cool to go back and relive that shit for a while to compare it to the kind of crap that is going on now, and to see how much fun it was back then. It's like, six years ago now, and obviously we've had a lot to drink since, so some of the events are kind of hazy. But it's – sure, I miss that shit a lot of times and there was just that helluva going for it attitude where just nothing fucking mattered what-so-fucking-ever. And it didn't matter that you only ate every other day and all that because fucking, you had your band, and you had all that other shit – fuck everything. And sometimes I kind of miss that a little bit, but that doesn't mean that everything now isn't fucking raging. It's just that sometimes you think back to those days."

"I think that what's so cool about the way we've don't it, and I'm really fucking happy about it, is that it's been a very, very steady kind of fucking – every year it just gets a little bigger. We go out and each record gets bigger and we play more gigs and do better and better, instead of the overnight syndrome of a lot of other bands. I really think that that could really fuck with your head, and I know some people – I just think that it's a lot healthier mentally. Our thing has been for the last five years, steadily every year more shit happens. And I think that's better, because you don't wake up three moths later and you've sold five million records. I think that's really fucking dangerous to your mental stability. So, I'm pretty happy about the way that things have gone for us."

All that out of the way, we briefly discussed their road plans for the next six months, which will take them out with The Cult in America before trekking down to Argentina and Brazil, and then over to Europe before they head back to their homes in SF on November 8th.

"It's gonna be cool for the next six months," says Lars, "but it's gonna be interesting to see what happens when I finally get to just sit down. It's gonna be weird."

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Top Albums

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Metallica

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Master of Puppets cover art

Master of Puppets

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Ride the Lightning cover art

Ride the Lightning

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Reload cover art

Reload

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...and Justice for All cover art

...and Justice for All

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Enter Sandman

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Nothing Else Matters

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Master of Puppets cover art

Master of Puppets

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One cover art

One

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The Unforgiven cover art

The Unforgiven

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Sad but True cover art

Sad but True

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Fade to Black

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