James was born into a Christian Scientist family. His father's name was Virgil, and his mother's name was Cynthia. When James was nine years old, he began playing piano, and, soon afterwards, he began to play on his brother's drum set. When James was 13 years old, his father left his family, not showing any care of their future; in a Metallica song, "Dyer's Eve," this event was referenced to. A year later, James dropped the piano and the drums to learn how to play guitar, which would eventually become a very important instrument to him. A few years later, Cynthia began to die pf cancer, but due to her Christian Scientist faith, she did not receive treatments or medication; she told James that if she were to live, God would simply let her be healed. She then died, resulting in much anger at God from Hetfield; this can be seen in another Metallica song, "The God That Failed."
History of James Hetfield With Metallica
James Hetfield (singer/rhythm guitar) founded the band Metallica along with Lars Ulrich (drums). The two later teamed up with bassist Ron McGovney (bass) and Dave Mustaine (lead guitar) to record their demo tape, "No Life Til Leather". Their fame started to grow after the release of the demo and soon found themselves playing many shows in the LA area. They soon relocated to San Francisco and found bass player, Cliff Burton, who took the spot of Ron McGovney. Soon the band made their way to play shows on the east coast when Dave Mustaine was kicked out of the band do to obsessive alcoholism. A phone call later Kirk Hammet of Exodus took his spot. Now the line-up for the bands first 3 albums was set. Soon after the release of Master of Puppets the band came down from the top of the world when their tour bus skid off an icy road in Sweden, rolling over and instantly killing Cliff. The band after consulting with the Burton family decided he would want them to go on. After auditioning a number of candidates, Jason Newstead of Flotsam and Jetsam was selected to take Cliff Burton's place. The band released 6 albums (7 including Garage Days Re-visited) over 11 years before Jason left the band due to "private and personal reasons and the physical damage I have done to myself over the years while playing the music that I love."
During the process of recording the album, St. Anger. their first recording since 1998's Garage Inc. James entered a rehabilitation facility seeking treatment for alcoholism and "other addictions". After completing the wellness program the three remaining members of the band and temporary bass player/producer Bob Rock completed and released the album in 2003 and then went about selecting a full time bass player. Rob Trujillo known for his work with Suicidal Tendencies and Ozzy Ozzbourne was chosen.
The band then embarked on several world tours , accumulating enough material during that time to enter the studio once again. Metallica parted ways with Bob Rock, and hired famous producer Rick Rubin of Slayer and Beastie Boys fame to reinvigorate the band as it looked to recapture their 80's sound and overall form. The result of this work was released on September 12, 2008, as "Death Magnetic" the bands ninth studio album which garnered high praise from music critics and fans alike for it's aggressive return to the bands speed/trash metal roots.
The album is one of the best selling DLC for the game Guitar hero III. James Hetfield is a gamer himself ! He owns a PS2,Gamecube and Xbox 360. While Guitar Hero III is his favorite game of all time (Hetfield also claims he is really good at that game). He commented on his Blog that Death Magnetic sounds best in Guitar hero III.
After the release of Death Magnetic, the band announced on it's website that they had been collaborating with Neversoft/Activision on a special project and in March 2009 "Guitar Hero: Metallica" was released. The bands collaboration was not just relegated to the song lists and likensses but instead extended to the animation and overall musical make up of the game.
Metallica is expected to return to the recording studio with producer Rick Rubin again at the helm in the second quarter of 2011.
- Kill 'Em All
- Ride The Lightning
- Master Of Puppets
- ...And Justice For All
- Metallica (Black Album)
- Garage Inc.
- St. Anger
- Death Magnetic
Heatfield's Custom ESP guitar's (also ESP is the same brand as Kirk Hammet):
- JH-1 (Flying V with red/orange hot-rod flames) - 200 Made
- JH-2 (Black Diamond Plate Explorer) - 200 Made
- JH-3 (Black ESP Eclipse with Pinstripe design) - 100 Made
- Grynch (Baritone Viper with green hot-rod flames) - 260 Made
- Truckster (ESP Eclipse with primer grey finish, sanded to show wear and other layers of paint underneath)