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Lars Ulrich And James Hetfield Form METALLICA
October 1981

San Francisco, California-based heavy metal group Metallica formed in October 1981.

A sequence of events which brought about Metallica’s formation began during early 1981. At that time, then Los Angeles-based Lars Ulrich – a budding Danish drummer and heavy metal / hard rock enthusiast whose father Torben was a professional tennis player – placed an advert in local classifieds newspaper The Recycler which stated: “Drummer looking for other metal musicians to jam with. Tygers Of Pan Tang, Diamond Head and Iron Maiden.”

The advert caught the attention of former Leather Charm guitarist Hugh Tanner, the group having recently incorporated a version of Iron Maiden composition ‘Remember Tomorrow’ into their set – Metallica would later record a cover rendition of ‘Remember Tomorrow’; the cover featured on Iron Maiden tribute compilation Maiden Heaven, issued on July 18th, 2008 as a free gift with issue #1219 of UK metal publication Kerrang!

At the time of having seen the advert, Leather Charm – a group which rehearsed New Wave Of British Heavy Metal covers as well as original material – only consisted of vocalist James Hetfield and bassist Ron McGovney, drummer Jim Mulligan and guitarist Troy James having recently departed. Tanner informed Hetfield and McGovney of the advert, although the duo were apathetic. Tanner offered to personally reply to the advertisement, which he subsequently did. A meeting was arranged to take place at a local rehearsal studio, which Tanner booked under the pretext of recording a demo.

McGovney, concentrating moreso on becoming a professional rock photographer as opposed to a bassist, didn’t attend the meeting. Hetfield, Tanner and Ulrich attended, the inaugural audition number being ‘Hit The Lights’ – a track authored in Leather Charm, later surfacing on June 1982 compilation Metal Massacre and subsequently inaugural Metallica full-length Kill ’Em All (July 1983). Hetfield and Tanner were unimpressed with the encounter, specifically with Ulrich’s drumming abilities at the time as well as other aspects.

Ulrich embarked on a European vacation that summer, attending concerts and spending time with the likes of Diamond Head and Motörhead. Upon his return to Los Angeles in October of that year, Ulrich telephoned Hetfield with the view of forming a jam band featuring Ulrich on drums, and Hetfield on vocals and guitar. Hetfield suggested the pair recruit McGovney, McGovney eventually joining. This tentative jam band would adopt the name Metallica.

Metallica’s moniker originated from a conversation Ulrich had with friend Ron Quintana, who was in the midst of launching a heavy metal fanzine. Quintana showed Ulrich a prospective list of fanzine names he had written down, which included titles such as Metal Death, Metal Mania, and Metallica. Ulrich suggested Quintana title his fanzine Metal Mania, which he did, Ulrich retaining the Metallica name for his own use. Prospective names Ulrich and Hetfield devised included Nixon, Helldriver, Blitzer, and Thunderfuck.

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