Metallica got their start with a grass roots effort when James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich each placed ads in a local newspaper about forming a band in 1981. They soon got together and collectively recruited bassist Ron McGovney. Their musical ideals were closely aligned, as each of them were inspired by the same acts, including Black Sabbath, Motörhead, Diamond Head, Saxon, Thin Lizzy, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and King Diamond.
As the band began to rehearse, they soon discovered their sound, and in 1982 they began to release demos and play in local Southern California clubs. After garnering an intense local following and perfecting their now-legendary stage act, Metallica tickets were offered for the first time in the San Francisco Bay Area. They soon gathered the same type of following in Northern California, and their reputation grew with each ear-splitting performance.
In 1983, Metallica, on the heels of their rising live performance success, traveled to Rochester, New York to get to work in the studio. Their first release, Kill ‘Em All, was not a commercial success, but resulted in enough notice for the band that their next release, Ride the Lightning, caught the attention of major record labels, and a new “star” was born on the music scene.
Since then, Metallica has released nine studio albums, and all of them went platinum. They were the first true “heavy metal” band to enjoy huge commercial success, but with that came backlash from the “underground” heavy metal scene, most of whom accused Metallica of “selling out.”
The band remained steadfast in their focus, however, and the result of their labor has included seven Grammy Awards, two MTV Video Music Awards, two American Music Awards and three Billboard Music Awards.
Their live shows remain as intense and energetic as any band currently active in the music world. If you want to see a true pioneer of the heavy metal genre, grab some Metallica tickets for a night to remember.