Throwback Thursday: Happy 55th, James Hetfield!


I think my new goal for these pieces is date-matching to Thursday, plus or minus a day or two. It’s just too damn hard lining stuff up exactly. Why am I telling you this? Oh yeah, because Metallica frontman James Hetfield turns 55 tomorrow, but we’re gonna discuss it today. Sound good? Good. Let’s jump in.

So, Metallica. The dog days are pretty important for these guys. Late last month saw the anniversaries of both Kill ‘Em All and Ride the Lightning. The Black Album will have its own in about a week and a half. And Justice for All‘s is at the end of the month. Same with The $5.98 EP. (There’s a reason why they called that one song “Lords of Summer,” y’all.)

But, we start this post with Hetfield — the architect. (Okay, technically, the co-architect with Lars, but…really? Probably? C’mon…most likely, the architect.) The guy’s behind so much of why I got into Metallica back in the day — and, in turn, why I’m a metalhead today.

If I’m being honest, here…from a guitar standpoint, I’d take him over Hammett any day of the week. Shredding’s all well and good — and Hammett’s great at it, of course — but Papa Het’s more understated parts have always stuck with me more. The harmonized interlude of “Master of Puppets.” The soaring, bluesy solo on “Nothing Else Matters.” Hetfield’s never even approached the top of the pack in the “notes per minute” category, but every one he does play freaking matters. His notes earn every second of their time, and for that, have always stuck with me more. (See also: Adrian Smith)

Anyway, that’s enough. It’s Metallica, and I’ve nothing to say that hasn’t been said a hundred times before. So, let’s throw it on back to this live performance of “Creeping Death” from 1991 and call it a post, shall we? Yes, yes, I think we shall.

Keep it heavy,

One thought on “Throwback Thursday: Happy 55th, James Hetfield!

  1. Tyler August 2, 2018 / 6:37 pm

    Am I the only one who knows that’s not the “original” James Hetfield? In fact, the one purporting to be using that name looks almost like the one from years ago. Rumors have said that Hetfield died around 2001; due to complications for chronic use of drugs and alcohol. Rather than disband the lucrative Metallica franchise (which still generates tens of millions of dollars in revenues per year); a body double has been deployed. Anyone know the whereabouts of James Hetfield’s brother? Before you ridicule or dismiss this narrative; start asking questions!

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