Metal titans Metallica were affectionately referred to as Alcoholica in their early days -- and with good reason. The members drank with the thirst of parched nomads and didn’t seem to know the meaning of when enough is enough. There’s no question that Metallica were serious thrash pioneers. They were almost as serious about their partying.
The No Life Til Leather demo era of Metallica is marked by the saga of founding member Dave Mustaine, who was booted from the band before Metallica entered the studio to record their full-length debut Kill ‘Em All. Mustaine, who was fired for being a belligerent drunk, was sent back to LA on a Greyhound bus. In addition to being rightfully pissed that the band send him back to Cali on a bus and played his parts on the four songs he co-wrote for the album, Mustaine was miffed that a bunch of drunks fired him for being too drunk for their band.
“I was really hurt because I didn’t really believe that I got a chance,” Mustaine told Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Metal. “At that time, if someone would have sat me down and said, 'You know Dave, you’ve got a f*cking problem…' But no one said that to me. I didn’t hear that from anyone’s lips.”
Before they let Mustaine go, Metallica recruited Exodus guitarist Kirk Hammett, who shared his bandmates penchant for a good time. It was with this take-on-the-world-and-drink-all-their-booze mindset that Metallica entered the studio to record their debut album. And despite their copious boozing, they were able to destroy night after night without missing a note.
Metallica kept the party raging until the late ‘80s and beyond. The more popular Metallica became, the more the more groupies considered them a prize. And Metallica were happy to deliver. Drummer Lars Ulrich once joked that Metallica considered naming 1988’s …And Justice For All album Wild Chicks, Fast Cars and Lots of Drugs, according to Mick Wall in the book Enter Night: A Biography of Metallica.
Here are 12 of Metallica’s wildest, most destructive and most debauched stories as recalled by friends, writers, photographers and the band members, themselves.