A new exhibition at Proud Camden features shots of Metallica’s earliest performances. They would go on to become the world’s biggest metal band – but here they are in October 1982, backstage at the Old Waldorf, San Francisco. On the left is original bass player Ron McGovney, who quit a couple of months later, replaced by Cliff Burton. Fade To Black: Metallica By Bill Hale runs until April.
James Hetfield at another early gig, The Stone, September 9, 1982. “As I was told later, this was the first gig that James played guitar and sang at the same time,” recalls photographer Bill Hale. “Before he would trade off. Now look at him…”
Kirk Hammett on stage with Exodus, who were opening for Metallica at The Stone, San Francisco, March 5, 1983. Just a few weeks after this shot was taken the guitarist would join Metallica, replacing Dave Mustaine – who went on to form Megadeth.
Cliff Burton tuning up backstage at The Stone before his very first gig with Metallica, March 5, 1983. His time in the band was to be tragically brief – he died in a tour bus crash in 1986.
Lars Ulrich on stage at The Stone, March 19, 1983. Metallica released their debut album ‘Kill ‘Em All’ in July of that year. Thankfully they were dissuaded from using their working title, ‘Metal Up Your Ass’.
Dave Mustaine, James Hetfield and Cliff Burton holding drummer Lars Ulrich backstage at The Stone, March 19, 1983. Mustaine (centre) would be fired from the band less than a month later, ostensibly for having a problem with drink and drugs.
James Hetfield – another live shot from March 1983. From these humble beginnings Metallica went on to sell an estimated 100 million albums worldwide, over 52 million in the United States alone.
Cliff Burton, a friend, and Dave Mustaine. Bill Hale recalls: “I remember Cliff, Dave and I walking out of The Stone after the show. The photo bug hit me and I asked the guys to pose for a photo. Little did any of us know that Dave would be asked to leave the band in a couple of weeks and Cliff would be gone forever in a few short years.”
James Hetfield, September 3, 1983. “This shot gets better with age,” says Bill Hale. “We at MRV [Metal Rendezvous International magazine] used this shot for the cover of our issue #14. Some twenty years later this image graced the cover of Kerrang! in May of 2009.”
Lars Ulrich meets Metallica fans at San Jose Civic, July 3, 1985. The band would begin work on their greatest album, ‘Master Of Puppets’, a couple of months later. Fade To Black: Metallica by Bill Hale runs at Proud Camden from now until April 3.