James Hetfield ‘Stole To Survive’ With Metallica


In a recent episode of The Metallica Report, James Hetfield reminisced about Metallica’s time spent in Denmark while recording albums like ‘Ride the Lightning’ and ‘Master of Puppets’ at Sweet Silence Studios in Copenhagen.

Hetfield had some pretty interesting words about their humble beginnings, recalling how he and Lars Ulrich lived in the studio’s attic, sleeping on the floor and resorting to resourcefulness to make ends meet.

James Hetfield was thieving to survive

During this period, Hetfield revealed that they engaged in what some might call “thieving” to survive, although he reframed it as borrowing indefinitely. They took food from other bands passing through the studio, borrowed bikes for transportation, and collected empty beer bottles to redeem for more beer.

Reflecting on their circumstances at the time, Hetfield emphasized that they had very little and needed to be resourceful to get by, painting a vivid picture of Metallica’s early struggles and the creative environment that shaped their iconic albums.

“[We were] up in the attic, sleeping on the floor and stealing food from other bands that were coming through there, stealing bikes just to get around, stealing empty beer bottles to go turn them in for more beer. There was a lot of thieving.”

“We didn’t have anything, we didn’t have sh*t. So it wasn’t thieving, we were just borrowing it forever.”

A couple of years ago, Flemming Rasmussen, the owner of the studio where Metallica recorded albums like ‘Ride the Lightning’ and ‘Master of Puppets,’ reflected on the band’s artistic evolution. Rasmussen noted a significant growth in Metallica’s abilities and ambitions between their debut album ‘Kill ‘Em All’ and ‘Ride the Lightning.’

He saw that during the recording of ‘Kill ‘Em All,’ Metallica’s technical skills were not yet fully aligned with their ambitious vision. However, with ‘Ride the Lightning,’ Rasmussen saw a notable transformation. When the band listened to the recordings, they were impressed and proud of what they had achieved. Rasmussen recalled the immense power that came through the studio speakers, marking a clear maturation in Metallica’s sound and approach.

“When we listened back to what we had done, they were blown away, and were so proud. I had never heard that kind of power come through the studio speakers. They had matured quite a bit, and their circumstances were improved – this time they had hotel rooms, rather than sleeping on a friend’s floor – but they were just as likable. Every day they would have dinner with my wife and myself at our house before we started recording at 7pm, and they were always fun to have around.”

We also recently reported that Metallica’s official social media account might have been compromised after a hacking incident.