Maddening Facts About Metallica, Thrash Icons

Metallica, the only band that has played on all seven continents, has a long history filled with tragedy, overindulgence, and making a lot of people really, really angry.

1. They’ve Had Their Fair Share

Power house rockers Metallica have had more than their fair share of controversy. Original members Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield have created a heartless revolving door of supporting players. In addition to the usual rock star behavior, there were onstage pyrotechnic mishaps and a bus accident that belongs in a Final Destination film. 

So, let’s roll out the facts and see how these rockers with an edge became what many call the biggest metal band of all time.

Cover of Metallica 72 Seasons CD and other cds of the american heavy metal group

esthermm, Shutterstock

2. It Started With An Ad

A teenaged Lars Ulrich had come to California from Denmark to play tennis—but he had another love. This was playing the drums. Because playing drums solo was kind of boring, he put an ad in an LA newspaper “looking for other metal musicians to jam with”. Ulrich had no idea how his simple ad would go on to shape his entire life.

image of Lars Ulrich

Gage Skidmore, Flickr

3. He Had A Plan

Ulrich was happy with the number of replies his ad got, but there was one that stood out. This was from James Hetfield, who was free as a bird because his band Leather Charm had just broken up. Ulrich was keen to work with Hetfield—and then sent his new friend for a loop.

You see, Ulrich already had a job lined up for their as yet non-existent band.

Vocalist James Hetfield performed on stage

Maj.l, Shutterstock

4. They Needed A Hit

Before even meeting Hetfield, Ulrich had gone to Brian Slagel of Metal Blade Records and asked for a huge favor. He wanted to add one song to Metal Massacre, which was a compilation album the magazine had in the works. For some reason, Slagel said yes, and Ulrich gave Hetfield the good news.

They’d just met, and now they had to come up with a hit song.

image of  Brian Slagel

Chelsea Lauren, Shutterstock