James Hetfield

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James Hetfield

James Alan Hetfield (born 3 August 1963, Downey, California) is the main songwriter, lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist of the American thrash/heavy metal band Metallica. Image:james.jpg


James Alan Hetfield was born in Downey, CA (a suburb of Los Angeles) on August 3, 1963, to Christian Science parents, a religion he would dismiss later on. During high school he started to play drums but quickly changed to the guitar His main influence was Aerosmith, and he has said that they were the reason why he wanted to play guitar. Other bands such as Black Sabbath, The Beatles, Queen, Led Zeppelin and Thin Lizzy also had a major influence on him.Together with Drummer Lars Ulrich he formed the future biggest Metalband of the World METALLICA as a contrary to the dominating glam Metal movement. Ulrich turned Hetfield on to the sounds of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement (Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Motörhead, Diamond Head, Venom, Saxon, Angel Witch, etc). In the early days, Hetfield did not have an interest in being a lead vocalist, that is why he always tried to pull John Bush from Armored Saint in as Metallicas' vocalist. James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich are the song writers of Metallica and the main reason why they were called Alcoholica in the early years.

Alocohol addiction

Hetfield and his bandmates were given the nickname Alcoholica due to their massive alcohol consumation on tour. After Jason Newstead had left the band James became depressive and soon entered rehab due to "alcoholism and other addictions" in July 2001. For nearly a year the entity known as "Metallica" ceased to function in any meaningful way, and Ulrich and Hammett for the first time seriously considered the possibility that Metallica might be finished. Upon Hetfield's return, though, the band slowly and cautiously continued as an incomplete 3-piece throughout the writing and recording of their next album St.Anger . Hetfield is now totally sober and clean and is determined to remain so.


James Hetfield has written some of the greatest Metal riffs of all time. He is famous for his only-downstroking riffs. Even though he is the rythm guitarist, intends to play slow solos now and then which have a lot of feeling to them. Metallica played Thrash-Metal in the first 4 albums and turned to a more mainstream version of it in the later records. Hetfield is also the singer of Metallica. His early recordings are a bit sloppy but for the black album he took singing lessons and became a good vocalist.



James favors heavy sounding Guitars such as Explorers or Les Paul type of guitars.As a rythm guitarist he has no need for tremolos. Like his bandmate Kirk Hammet he equipped all of his guitars with emg active humbucking pickups and uses Mesa/Boogie Amplifiers. He also has his own signature guitar series by Esp Guitars, the Truckster, a les paul type.


(number of Platin awards)

  * 1983 - Kill 'em All (3x)
  * 1984 - Ride the Lightning (5x)
  * 1986 - Master of Puppets (6x)
  * 1988 - …And Justice for All (8x)
  * 1991 - Metallica (known as "The Black Album“) (14x)
  * 1996 - Load (5x)
  * 1997 - ReLoad (3x)
  * 1998 - Garage Inc. (Cover-Album) (5x)
  * 2003 - St. Anger (2x)

--ZakkWylde 21:29, 7 January 2008 (UTC)By ZakkWylde