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Introduction


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 ...


Alcoholica


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


Metallica Icon Main




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Kirk Hammett: Alcohol was never an issue. We always had it around us and we always had it around us in large amounts. When I first met these guys they were drinking vodka like it was water. I would start drinking about 12 in the afternoon, we would arrive at the club and go straight to the bar and see how much booze we could consume for free, and by the time we went out onstage we were almost always sauced. That went on for about eight or 10 shows until I heard a tape recording of a show and my playing was not happening. So I kind of stopped drinking before the show. But then I would just drink twice as much after the show. Alcohol brought out everything that we needed to say to each other that we couldn't say to each other when we were sober.

It became part of our legend — people would know when we were coming into town to stock their bars and make sure there was always a lot of booze for us to drink. I can't really recall most of the Kill 'Em All tour. I only remember the shows during the Ride the Lightning tour. But even then, all I remember is driving up to the venues, going in and playing the show. Anything that happened after I have no recollection of. I remember a lot more of Master of Puppets, because by then I was a professional drinker and I knew how to pace myself and I knew not to drink until I blacked out, which was always the norm before. And nowadays I have issues with alcohol because of all that.

Lars Ulrich: Going back and looking at the lyrics, there were a lot of clues, and there are a lot of places where there were tell-tale signs [that James was in trouble], but all of us were so caught up in our own drunken activities that we never thought much of what the other guy was doing.

James Hetfield: I had quit drinking for a while and didn't find God or whatever I was looking for, so I decided to go back to drinking, and I kind of peaked when I was in Russia on this insane hunting trip. I was in the middle of nowhere in Siberia hunting bears, and I was staying in this chicken shack with these Russians and they all have AK-47s and vodka. We are stuck there in four feet of snow so we started drinking vodka — there was nothing to do for a week but sit there and drink. When I came home the behavior continued and it just spun out of control. It was ripping my family apart and there were some ultimatums about being thrown out of the house. It took that for me to realize what a problem it was.

So I had to go away. And I was really afraid to go away, not knowing what would happen to me, not knowing what would happen to Metallica, not knowing how I'd be treated in the press about it.


NEXT: Ulrich doesn't have the guts to help his frontman, and everyone fears the band is finished...
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Photo: Elektra

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 "Whiskey In The Jar" (live)
Garage Inc.
(Elektra)


 "Until It Sleeps"
(live 1996 VMAs)

S&M
(Elektra)



 "No Leaf Clover"
(live with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra)

S&M
(Elektra)



 "For Whom The Bell Tolls" (live Woodstock '94)
S&M
(Elektra)



 "One"
(live Woodstock '94)

...And Justice For All
(Elektra)



 "I Disappear"
Mission: Impossible 2
(Hollywood)



 "Fuel"
Reload
(Elektra)


 "The Memory Remains"
Reload
(Elektra)



 "The Unforgiven"
Metallica
(Elektra)


 "Nothing Else Matters"
Metallica
(Elektra)


 "Enter Sandman"
Metallica
(Elektra)






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