Metallica have sold millions upon millions of records since their debut studio album, ‘Kill ‘Em All.’ Over the course of more than three decades, the band has performed on every single continent to hundreds of thousands of fans. They’ve experienced significant highs in their career, like being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009. They’ve also suffered terrible lows, most notably losing acclaimed bassist and friend Cliff Burton in a tour bus accident in 1986.
Digging deeper into the history of one of the most successful bands of all-time, we’ve unearthed 20 facts about Metallica you probably didn’t know. Get ready to learn even more about the one and only Metallica:
Award-winning director Darren Aronofsky created the music video for ‘The View,’ the only single released from Metallica’s collaboration with Lou Reed.
Lars Ulrich is an avid art collector. In 2008, the drummer sold his Jean-Michel Basquiat painting ‘(Untitled) Boxer’ for $13.5 million.
The first instrument James Hetfield learned to play was not the guitar; it was the piano at age nine.
In addition to being a member of Suicidal Tendencies and Infectious Grooves, bassist Robert Trujillo formed the outfit Mass Mental in 1998 while he was in Ozzy Osbourne’s band. Mass Mental released one studio album and one live album, both in Japan only.
Kirk Hammett’s first guitar was a Montgomery Ward catalog special. He plugged it into a shoebox that was packed with a 4-inch speaker.
Metallica’s first appearance on an album would be their performance of ‘Hit the Lights’ on Metal Blade’s inaugural compilation, ‘Metal Massacre.’ Their name, however, was misspelled as Mettallica.
Lars Ulrich has only been recorded playing drums for one other band. On Mercyful Fate’s 1993 album, ‘In the Shadows,’ Ulrich lent his skills to the track ‘Return of the Vampire … 1993.’
Ex-Pentagram member Joe Hasselvander believes that the reason Cliff Burton died was because the Metallica bassist was in possession of tarot cards that dated back to the Salem witch trials and were covered in human blood.
After recording ‘Kill ‘Em All,’ Kirk Hammett decided to hone his shredding skills by taking lessons from guitar virtuoso Joe Satriani.
Ethan Miller, Getty Images
‘Seek and Destroy,’ arguably the most well-known track from ‘Kill ‘Em All,’ was actually never released as a single. Only two singles came from the album — ‘Jump in the Fire’ and ‘Whiplash.’
Metallica reportedly spent $400,000 on the music video for ‘The Memory Remains.’
James Hetfield is an avid mechanic who spends much of his free time working on classic cars. One of his favorite cars is a Blazer called ‘The Beast.’ It is outfitted to survive earthquakes and nuclear blasts.
The first band James Hetfield joined was not Phantom Lord as many believe. He actually played with Obsession, and it was in this band that he first jammed with original Metallica bassist Ron McGovney.
The name of the art that adorns the cover of ‘Load’ is ‘Semen and Blood III.’ It is bovine blood and the semen of the artist, Andres Serrano, mixed together.
Over the course of Metallica’s career, Robert Trujillo has received 15 writing credits on songs. Cliff Burton received 11 and Jason Newsted received three.
One of Kirk Hammett’s favorite guitar solos from his career is from ‘Hero of the Day.’ The shredder says, “Every time I hear it I think, ‘Damn, that’s awesome.’”
The first band Cliff Burton created was EZ-Street, featuring Jim Martin and Mike Bordin (both later of Faith No More fame). A couple years later, Burton joined the band Trauma. It was during a Trauma show in 1982 that Hetfield and Ulrich first saw Burton perform.
On July 6, 1986, Metallica canceled their show in Evansville, Indiana because James Hetfield broke his wrist while skateboarding. For nearly two months, Hetfield relinquished guitar duties to future Metal Church member John Marshall.
The French pressing of 1984’s ‘Ride the Lightning’ featured a misprinted cover. Rather than the standard blue, Bernett Records printed the album with a green cover. Reportedly, there are only 400 green copies in existence.
James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich guest starred on the Disney cartoon ‘Dave the Barbarian.’ They voiced two dragons in an episode called ’Here There Be Dragons.’
What obscure facts about Metallica did we miss?
Tell us some more things that fans probably don’t know about Metallica in the comments section below.
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