Metallica is undoubtedly the most successful band on earth! Despite being the biggest band in the history of heavy metal, Metallica has never failed to remember how important it is for veteran acts to support upcoming artists. Founded in 1981 by vocalist/guitarist James Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich, it’s been more than 40 years and their charm isn’t lost. Here are all the members of the band.
Metallica’s Present-Day Members
Bands will come and go, but Metallica shall live on forever. In 2009, the heavy metal band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame. To date, the band has released ten studio albums, twelve video albums, four live albums, a cover album, two extended plays, 37 singles and 39 music videos.
In terms of awards, the ‘number one commercially successful band of all times’ won nine Grammy Awards from 23 nominations, and its last six studio albums have consecutively debuted at number one on the Billboard 200.
Standing firm as many aspiring bands continue to make their name, Metallica still continues to perform world tours with its OGs like Hetfield and Ulrich. Here is a list of its present-day members, some of whom have seen this band rise to great heights.
1. James Hetfield (Guitarist and Vocalist)
James Hetfield, whose birth name is James Alan Hetfield, co-founded Metallica with Lars Ulrich. In an interview, James revealed that Aerosmith was his primary inspiration, and they were the ones that inspired him to pick up the guitar.
The 59-year-old legend has spent the best part of 40 years as Metallica’s guitarist and vocalist. As the man at the helm of the biggest metal band on the planet (this isn’t hyperbole – we’ve got the stats), he’s travelled the world and charted the course of modern metal.
2. Lars Ulrich (Drummer)
Lars Ulrich co-founded Metallica with James Hetfield and remains its drummer to date. He is the son and grandson of tennis players Torben and Einer Ulrich. Instead of following in the footsteps of his men, he decided to take up drums.
After publishing an advertisement in The Recycler, Ulrich met James Hetfield and formed Metallica. Along with Hetfield, Ulrich has songwriting credits on almost all of the band’s songs, and the two of them are the only remaining original members of the band.
3. Kirk Hammett (Lead Guitarist)
Kirk Hammett has been the lead guitarist and contributor songwriter for the band since 1983. Before Metallica, he formed and named the band called “Exodus”. In 2003, Kirk was ranked 11th on Rolling Stone’s list of “The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”.
As for his induction into Metallica, Hetfield said “The first song we played was “Seek and Destroy”, and Kirk pulled off this solo, and it was like … things are going to be alright!”. Hammett was instantly asked to join the band.
4.Robert Trujillo (Bassist)
Robert Trujillo joined Metallica in 2003 as their bassist. He first rose to prominence as the bassist of crossover thrash band Suicidal Tendencies from 1989 to 1995, while also collaborating with Suicidal Tendencies frontman Mike Muir for funk metal supergroup “Infectious Grooves”.
Later, Robert went on to perform with Black Sabbath’s Ozzy Osbourne, Jerry Cantrell, and the heavy metal band Black Label Society. To date, he remains Metallica’s longest-serving bassist. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Metallica in 2009.
Metallica’s Hardcore Beginnings…
Metallica was formed in 1981 in Los Angeles by vocalist/guitarist James Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich and has been based in San Francisco for most of its career. The aggressive musicianship made this band one of the founding “big four” bands of thrash metal, alongside Megadeth, Anthrax, and Slayer.
In terms of commercial success, Metallica gained fame with their third album “Master of Puppets” in 1986. During its initial years, Guitarist Dave Mustaine (who formed Megadeth after being fired from the band) and bassists Ron McGovney, Cliff Burton, and Jason Newsted were the former members of the band. Here are the details of the men who rocked our world in the 80s.
1. Dave Mustaine
Dave Mustaine is the co-founder, lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist and primary songwriter of another legendary thrash metal band Megadeth, as well as their sole consistent member. Prior to Megadeth, he was the original lead guitarist of Metallica but did not appear on any albums.
He is credited for four songs with Metallica, which includes albums like Kill ‘Em All and Ride the Lightning. If you don’t know this, in a recent interview with podcaster Joe Rogan of “The Joe Rogan Experience”, Dave Mustaine reflected on his 1983 dismissal from Metallica and the formation of Megadeth. He mentioned that he was upset that Metallica used his music even after his departure.
2. Ronald J. McGovney
Ronald J. McGovney was the original bass guitarist in the heavy metal band Metallica from October 1981 to December 1982. He has previously played with guitarist James Hetfield in the garage band Leather Charm. Ronald played for Metallica during their 30th-anniversary show.
3. Clifford Lee Burton
Clifford Lee Burton remained the bassist for Metallica from 1982 until he died in 1986. He is known for performing on Kill ‘Em All (1983), Ride the Lightning (1984), and Master of Puppets (1986), the band’s first three studio albums. Burton also received a posthumous writing credit on …And Justice for All (1988) for the song “To Live Is to Die”.
4. Jason Curtis Newsted
Jason Curtis joined as Metallica’s bassist following Clifford’s death in 1986 and performed with the band until 2021. Newsted performed on the albums …And Justice for All (1988), Metallica (1991), Load (1996), and Reload (1997) with the legendary band.
In December 2021, Metallica performed at San Fransico’s Chase Centre to honour the 40th anniversary of their band. The concert went electric as the everlasting band members thrilled the audience with thrash-metal, and big hits like (“One,” “Nothing Else Matters”) with deep cuts (“Trapped Under Ice,” “Fixxxer”). What do you think about this band? Well, my dad passed it to me, and I am passing it to my kids.