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From the moment they formed in 1981, Metallica have embodied all things metal ...

The Early Days

The band remembers its beginnings, when the object of the game was to seek and destroy ...

The Bassists

After Cliff Burton's death, Jason Newsted joins, only to be tortured for years and years before finally giving up ...


The group speaks candidly about James Hetfield's life-changing stint in rehab ...

The Music

Metallica talk about the songwriting process, and share memories of recording Master of Puppets, the Black Album, St. Anger and more ...

Photo Galleries

Metallica: 20 Years Of Photos, Tickets, Posters

Avril, Snoop, Sum 41, More On "mtvICON: Metallica" Black Carpet

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Lars Ulrich: After we were done writing Kill 'Em All, Cliff Burton joined Metallica and Kirk Hammett joined Metallica. And they came from a completely different place musically in terms of schooling than Dave Mustaine and [original bassist] Ron McGovney. And they brought an incredible, different depth to the band. Cliff Burton went to music school. We would sit there and talk about Venom or Angel Witch. He'd sit there and talk about Bach. He would talk about Yes and he would talk about Peter Gabriel. Things just got a little more melodic. I guess we slowly started feeling that the fast stuff needed dynamics. Because if it was all fast, none of it really stood out.

Cliff Burton played on Metallica's first three albums. In September 1986 he died in Sweden when the group's tour bus flipped over into a ditch.

James Hetfield: I remember in Sweden after Cliff died, as soon as we got out of the hospital. We all had minor injuries and we all came out and I just went straight for a bottle and just started screaming, "Where's Cliff?" Just out of my head. Cliff was a good friend. He understood some of where I was coming from. And when he was taken from us, it was like an ally of mine in the band was gone. Where did Cliff go, why did he go? A lot of that stuff started appearing in lyrics.

Ulrich: We drank the pain away, because that was the only thing we knew how to do. So after Cliff died, Alcoholica came roaring back in full force. Drunker and louder and more obnoxious and more f---ed up. We dealt with it by going straight back out there. We never took a break. Just slowed down long enough to get Jason Newsted in the band.

I called up my friend [Metal Blade label owner] Brian Slagel who had given Metallica their first break on the Metal Massacre album about five years earlier. And I asked him who are the hot young cats out there. And all roads were leading to this guy Jason Newsted. We were auditioning bass players right down where Cliff used to live in Hayward. And Cliff's mom and dad were hanging around the rehearsal rooms. It was a pretty beautiful thing but it was also a little intimidating for the bass players. Jason Newsted came in and he didn't look a day over 14. He was very serious and fired up and knew all the songs. And he had tremendous energy, enormous tenacity. He was the kind of guy that you could tell, "OK Jason, you'll get the gig in Metallica on one condition. You have to go lay in the street and get run over by a truck." I mean, he would have done that.

Hetfield: I remember when we told Jason he was in the band he jumped on the table, and was doing back flips, and it was more of a new kind of youthful fan energy that kind of entered. But I felt that we took a lot of our resentment, a lot of our grief, a lot of our despair around Cliff's death out on Jason. And not to take away from Jason and the process of how we got him and why he was in the band, because he was the right guy, but it was easier to grab somebody because they were there. I didn't think about it too much.

Right from the beginning there was a lot of hazing that just separated him and he was always thought of as "the new guy." I wish that that didn't have to happen. I guess we wanted to toughen him up, we wanted him to be as tough as us. We were brutal with him. And it never ended, really.

Jason Newsted: I think the hazing thing with Metallica was blown way bigger than it ever was. That's the kind of things people like to talk about and have their fun with. In Japan, after I had been in probably two weeks at that point, we went to have sushi. It was my first time having sushi. And they're all talking about it. And the first time I probably ever had sake, too. And the big beers and everything are just flowing. They all somehow collectively convince me that the green stuff, the wasabi, is mint ice cream. "You should have a big spoonful, man," they said, "because it's really good for in between the meals and stuff." And I took a spoonful of wasabi and that was the beginning of the night. Then they would cram into a taxi and make me go in a taxi by myself. They would be uncomfortable in the taxi just so I could ride by myself.

NEXT: 'Jason ass face,' and Newsted issues an ultimatum after being dissed by Hetfield ...
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