We all have to start somewhere, but would it surprise you to find out that Metallica’s James Hetfield cites both punk and metal icons as the two guitarists that shaped his playing style.
In a new video promotion Hetfield’s branded Hardwired Master Core strings for Ernie Ball, the Metallica singer and guitarist reflects on his musical background while showcasing some of his playing with the new strings.
During the chat, he speaks about his introduction to music and what initially drew him in. “For me it was a little more raw, the stuff that I liked. Discovering bands like AC/DC then Judas Priest and then the whole new wave of British heavy metal came out and that was Iron Maiden, then Motorhead, and Black Sabbath for sure was a No. 1 influence for me,” stated Hetfield. “Seeing that first album cover, and seeing that first Iron Maiden album cover, it drew me right to it. I just got continually heavier and heavier as I was discovering music.”
A little later in the discussion, Hetfield speaks about his playing style, name checking two iconic musicians from two different styles of music that ultimately played a role in how he attacks the guitar.
“I’m kind of a little bit of a barbarian when I play,” admits Hetfield. “[I’m] always interested in the riff. It was the foundation of the song. Tony Iommi, he’s ruling the song with his riff and everything else joins him. You know, Johnny Ramone, lots of down picking lots of you know, just fast down picking. That helped develop my style. So kind of a combination of punk rock and heavy rock at the time you know, turned into just the down picking style and with melody along with it.”
Get a little bit more of Hetfield’s history below and some details on the Papa Het’s Ernie Ball Hardwired Master Core Strings right here. Now available globally at Ernie Ball retailers as of today, for $34.99 you can get a three pack of strings with a never before offered gauge combo. Perhaps Papa Het will put his newly branded strings to good work when Metallica hit the stage this week in Brazil. See all of Metallica’s scheduled dates and get ticketing info here.