The biggest band since Led Zeppelin


Torben Ulrich was the best Danish player of the 60s. When he competed in the circuit, he used to be accompanied by his family. This happened for two to three months a year. In July of 1969, while they were in London, their little boy Lars leafed through the diary and was surprised to see a photo of a group of young people with long hair and quarrelsome. He asked his mother who they were and she replied: The Rolling Stones. The woman told him that they were musicians and that they would play for free in Hyde Park. Lars asked his father to come and the show, in his first five years, was indelible: from that day on he wanted to be a musician.

In Nacer, Crecer, Metallica, Die. Volume I (Malpaso), musical journalists Ian Winwood and Paul Brannigan – with work experience in media such as The Guardian and Rolling Stone – detailing the origin of the San Francisco band for the release of the "Black Album" (1991) and characteristics of the two leaders. On the one hand, Ulrich, the extroverted Dane, whose fate was tennis as his father, but who became disenchanted with this sport after spending a few months training at Nick Bollettieri's farm – "I felt in a prison," he says – and decides to devote himself to the song after hearing the debut album of Iron Maiden. On the other, James Hetfield, the lead singer of Metallica, an introspective man who had to face his mother's early death and the estrangement of his father and who takes refuge in the discs of Aerosmith, Motörhead and Black Sabbath to communicate with the world .

Without much knowledge on drums, Ulrich is the born diplomat. The kind who can follow the idols from town to town like Lemmy from Motörhead, to understand his way of working and developing his music and negotiating shows in different places. Along with Hetfield, they are experimenting with artists until they find the right ones. In the beginning, they added guitarist Dave Mustaine, later leader of Megadeth, who is dismissed for his continuous explosions: he generates problems with other metal bands at concerts, he is permanently drunk and does not show me professionalism. When they dismiss him, it's humiliating: they give him a bus ticket for a 40-hour trip from New York to San Francisco and no weight in his pockets. He is replaced by ex-Exodus, Kirk Hammett.

According to the authors, Cliff Burton is the best musician. Backed by his family from adolescence to the idea of ​​being a bass player, Burton has dealt with more genres than his peers. His favorite bands were Pink Floyd, Velvet Underground, Rush and Black Sabbath. This musical amplitude enriched him and caused the respect of his peers. Each arrangement presented by Burton – who studied at the same school as the actor Tom Hanks – in Metallica provided an enigmatic sound, capable of giving a more vivacious air to an accelerated and angry song.

Like all emerging bands, the beginning of Metallica was pure enthusiasm. They even promoted their concerts in black and white photocopies, played in front of four people and never played on radios. For years, his songs have been underestimated by such magazines as Rolling Stone. Although they did not do much to reach the masses: when they were invited to the famous program Saturday Night Live, they gave up participating and until the appearance of the classic One of … And justice for all (1988) did not want to publish singles because "that's it which Led Zeppelin did, "according to Hetfield.

As the group's fans grew and the band gained more artistic autonomy, the tragedy came. On September 26, 1986, Burton gave an interview to a Swedish magazine saying that the group "should play as much as possible to become known, because that had been the success of Judas Priest and Iron Maiden." The next day the bus that took them from Stockholm to Copenhagen turned after the driver fell asleep and the bassist was crushed by a wheel of the vehicle. The band took a few months of mourning and replaced Burton with Jason Newsted, who received cruel treatment from Ulrich-Hetfield and is hardly heard in … And justice.

Reverted as metal stars, they were vilified by their fans on their next and most popular album for working with producer Bob Rock, who appeared on the Bon Jovi and Mötley Crüe albums. It was their most pop, but at the same time most distressing work: without their physical presence, they released their new songs in a total exhausted at Madison Square Garden in 1991 – including Nirvana members. When he saw the rows of people, Hetfield felt that he had fulfilled his self-pity: to be as big as Led Zeppelin.


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