Brief: James Alan Hetfield
Born: August 3, 1963
From: Los Angeles, California
Personal: Married, 3 Children
Specialty: Angst-ridden, soul-rending, growling, loud-ass
Instrument: Vocals, guitars / Equipment
Vitals: Blue eyes, blonde hair, 6'1"/1.85 meters tall,
weighs 180 lbs/81.65 kilos
Hetfield is the voice, among other things, of Metallica's songs
but it wasn't always planned that way... In the early days, Metallica
tried a few different vocal/guitar configurations. Some of the
experiments included adding another guitar player, or having then
lead guitar player Dave Mustaine play the sole guitar. John Bush
from Armored Saint was even asked to sing for the band at one
point. Hetfield was born to a truck driver and light opera singer
on August 3rd, 1963, in Los Angeles. His family's Christian Science
religious beliefs are often mentioned as the root of James' "tortured
soul" lyrics. Musically, he began at age 9 with piano lessons,
then banging away on his brother David's drums and finally to
his guitar in hand, James aspired to become a rock star in his
first band, Obsession. The band was made up of the Veloz brothers
on bass and drums and Jim Arnold on guitar. A pair of friends,
Ron McGovney and Dave Marrs, acted as the band's roadies. This
meant sitting in the loft of the Veloz garage running a control
panel for makeshift lighting effects. After Obsession broke up,
the Marrs-Hetfield-McGovney trio continued jamming together.
Lord was James Hetfield's second band. After moving to La Brea,
James attended Brea Olinda High School and met up with drummer
Jim Mulligan. The two would jam at lunch time with another guitar
player, but eventually scared him away with their loud and heavy
sounds. Hugh Tanner was discovered carrying around part of a flying
V guitar at school.. and shortly thereafter, Phantom Lord was
born. With Hugh on guitar and Mulligan on drums, James sang and
played guitar. The group went through a few bass players until
graduation when James moved back to Downey. In Downey, James moved
into a house owned by Ron McGovney's parents that was slated for
demolition due to an expressway expansion. This house was the
perfect place for James and Ron to crash and hold rehearsal and
practice jams. James talked Ron into taking up bass, and promised
to teach him...
as Ron joined the group, Phantom Lord was no more.. they were
now Leather Charm.
Hetfield's third band overall, Leather Charm was formed from the
members of Phantom Lord, except that James performed sole singing
duties (no guitar) and Ron was added to play bass guitar. Completing
the line-up were Phantom Lord carry-overs Hugh Tanner and Jim
Charm was more of a glammy attempt at music. The band played originals
and covers like Quiet Riot's "Slick Black Cadillac,"
Iron Maiden's "Remember Tommorrow" and a few others.
The band managed to perform at a few parties and recorded a demo,
but then began to fall apart. First Tanner left the band and was
replaced by Troy James. Then Mulligan left for a more progressive,
Rush-like band. With no drummer, the band was forced to call it
quits. Although it was Mulligan's departure that led to James
searching for a new drummer, it was Hugh Tanner that introduced
James to Lars Ulrich.
it was Leather Charm's break up, through Jim Mulligan's quitting,
that led James and Lars to meet... and to form Metallica. From
the very start, James has been the main songwriter in Metallica,
from the riffs to the lyrics. When he's not writing, singing or
playing, James indulges in hunting and various sports. He's recently
taken up snowboarding, as he has hung up his skateboard after
a series of mishaps.
are a major part of his life and he has started collecting older
guitars... particularly those manufactured in 1963, the year he
was born. He can be found in his garage working on a new passion:
hot rods. He currently has a Chevy BelAir that he built himself.
is married and has 3 children.
are James' vitals?
James Alan Hetfield hatched in Los Angeles, California on August
3rd, 1963. He stands 6'1" (1.85 meters) and weighs 180 lbs
(81.65 kilos), his eyes are blue and has blonde hair.
James married? Any kids?
James married his long time girlfriend, Francesca on August 17,
1997. They have 3 children.
equipment does he use?
James uses mostly ESP Explorer guitar's with EMG pick-ups and
Ernie Ball strings, Mesa Boogie amp's are James' main set up.
James uses many different guitar/amp combo's for different sounds
in the studio. Check out James' Equipment
does James drive?
James has a Dodge Ram pick-up, 1955 Chevy BelAir hot rod, Chevy
Blazer, custom-built Harley Davidson Motorcycle (chopper).
the he ever recorded for anyone besides Metallica?
James has recorded backing vocals for "Twist of Cain"
and "Am I Demon?" on Danzig's first album, he also contributes
vocals on "Man Or Ash" from Corrosion of Conformity's
"Wiseblood" album, and on Jim Martin's recent solo album.
liner notes say: James-guitar and Kirk-guitar. What does James
James is responsible for the great majority of the guitar work
in recorded Metallica. James handles all the rhythm guitar and
most melody and harmony guitars, not to mention the acoustics
and the occasional guitar solo. Kirk's duties on the albums are
mostly for the full blown lead guitar solos; although with the
latest Metallica album's the guitar duties for both Metallica
guitar players has expanded quite a bit.. Both have played rhythm,
and both have played leads.
are his favorite foods?
Meat-n-Potatoes, Bar-B-Que, Oysters
James been in any other bands?
Obsession, Phantom Lord and Leather Charm were bands James were
a part of before Metallica. He was also the drummer in Spastic
was the first song James learned on guitar?
Flight Of The Bumble Bee.
does James do in his free time?
James is an avid hunter and sportsman, also likes to tool around
in his garage working on his Chevy Bel Air or Harley. He can also
be found watching his favorite sports teams and NASCAR.
were his main influences?
Black Sabbath, Motorhead, Ted Nugent, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Tom Waits,
current stuff does James listen to?
Rocket From The Crypt, Gov't Mule, Corrosion Of Conformity.
skull ring and wolf pendant where did he get them?
James once wore that ring that belonged to Cliff. The pendant
is from a store called The Great Frog in London (the same place
that Cliff got the skull ring.)
did James switch from the Flying V to the Explorer?
In the early days of Metallica, the Explorer was James' back up
guitar. When the Flying V's' neck broke, he switched to the back
up guitar, only to discover that the Explorer was a perfect fit
for James. James know also plays a ESP Flying V on tour, this
guitar is his first "signature" series guitar available
sports teams does James follow?
James is lifelong, diehard Raiders fan; San Jose Sharks and D.C.
United. James can be seen on the opening of the NHL's Cool Shots
TV program, and was also part of an NHL commercial.
jobs has he had before Metallica?
James has worked in a sticker factory, as a high school janitor,
and as a mover.
happened at the Montreal show 8-8-92, Why did James get burned?
The band was informed of a pyro change... Pyro would be ignited
along the "wings" of the stage during "Fade To
Black". The Pyro-tech however, failed to inform the band
that new pyro would be going ALONG with the old pyro. Assuming
that the new pyro canceled out the previous pyro; James stood
atop of where the old pyro occurred, a 12 foot flame was ignited,
severely burning his left hand and that side of his body.
James still skateboard?
No, but rumors abound that past tour contracts have included a
"NO SKATEBOARDING" clause, just in case. He has recently
taken to Snowboarding, apparently it has a slightly softer landing.
happened to James' hair between the Roam tour and the summer 1994
He was involved in an ATV accident while hunting which required
40 stitches in his head. Then he quite simply got it cut... Before
the release of the Load Album James got his hair cut, this time
even more of it went!
does James switch guitar sounds during a show?
James' longtime guitar tech (roadie) Andy Battye, handles James'
guitar effects during the concert. Andy also cares for and maintains
James' guitars and equipment.
are James' favorite guns?
James' favorite guns are a Remington 30-06, Weatherby 7mm and
a Browning 300 Magnum.
does James smoke?
A. Fuente Hemingway Short Stories are his cigar of choice.
bones has James broken?
Two broken knuckles, left wrist, both bones of left forearm (compound
fractures) with a total 156 stitches.
really stopped drinking??
Yes, he no longer drinks alcoholic beverage. He can now be found
sipping Non-Alcoholic beer and mineral water. Also he entered
a rehabilitation facility for alcoholism and "other addictions"
in July 2001.
now defunct bands would James like to see reunite?
Thin Lizzy (Live And Dangerous line-up), Tank (first line-up),
Motorhead (with Eddie)
album changed James' life?
To Hell With The Devil by Stryper. Why? James explains: "It
sparked a hatred that will forever scar me. I can't bare to see
striped spandex jumpsuits to this day."
MORE ON JAYMZ
status: Married (August 1997)
Chevy Blazer, Dodge Ram, '55 Chevy BelAir
Mexican, meat-n-potatoes, Bar-B-Que, Oysters
teams: Oakland Raiders, San Jose Sharks, D.C. United
Metallica: Played in Obsession, Leather Charm
career: Worked in sticker printing factory
Hunting, hot-rods, anonymity, snowboarding, street hockey, wave
boarding, cigars, choppers, guns, wood work
to: Black Sabbath, Motorhead, Skynyrd, Thin Lizzy, Tom Waits,
Nick Cave, Spegetti, Western Soundtracks
Clint Eastwood, Pops Hetfield
concert: Aerosmith & AC/DC, 1978, Long Beach, California
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, Easy Rider, Sling Blade, Pulp
Fiction, Vanishing Point
self as: Rugged, honest, stubborn