JAMES HETFIELD Recalls METALLICA Resorting to Theft to Stay Afresh


Embarking on the journey of forming your own musical group can be quite challenging, especially in today’s tough music industry landscape. Financial restrictions, limited resources, and the quest for acknowledgment are just some of the obstacles aspiring artists encounter. However, don’t assume that the 80s were any easier, despite the differences in the music scene. You can verify this by consulting James Hetfield from Metallica.

During a recent installment of the band’s official podcast, The Metallica Report, Hetfield shared the challenging situation they faced in the mid-80s and the drastic actions Metallica resorted to for survival. In a concise manner, Hetfield vividly illustrated the band’s lack of resources, narrating how they adopted unconventional measures to get by while recording at Denmark’s Sweet Silence Studios, the birthplace of their celebrated albums Ride The Lightning and Master Of Puppets.

“We were residing in the attic, sleeping on the ground and appropriating food from other bands passing through, taking bikes just for transportation, snatching empty beer bottles to exchange them for more beer,” recalled Hetfield. “There was quite a bit of pilfering.”

“We had nothing, we were destitute. So, it wasn’t exactly stealing; we were essentially borrowing it indefinitely,” remarked James with a grin.

These testing times in Denmark left Hetfield with a profound affinity for the country: “Due to those escapades in the early days, I now feel much more at ease in Denmark. The early days were arduous because, concerning us and the business aspect, we were clueless. Lars was taking a gamble with it,” he reminisced.

The lead vocalist also reflected on the rich musical heritage enveloping them at Sweet Silence Studios, where they stumbled upon recordings from jazz maestro Chet Baker and rock legends like Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow: “Lars and I bunked in the tape storage area upstairs at Sweet Silence, and perusing it was incredible, with Richie Blackmore‘s materials and a variety of bands that frequented the place for recordings.”

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