Metal Hammer

It’s not unfair to say that Metallica had some issues with alcohol abuse long, long before frontman James Hetfield checked himself into rehab during the band’s studio sessions for the St. Anger record: the quartet didn’t earn the nickname ‘Alcoholica’ for their measured, moderate and mature attitude to the consumption of booze.

In fact, the San Francisco-based fondness for alcohol actually threatened to derail their career before it even started, ahead of the recording of their debut album Kill ‘Em All

Bad enough that, having been invited to America’s East Coast by Jon ‘Jonny Z’ Zazula and his wife Marsha, who so loved the quartet’s No Life ‘Til Leather demo cassette that they were prepared to start their own record label to get Metallica’s music out into the world, the band turned up at the Zazula’s family home in New Jersey with the revelation that they were going to fire their lead guitarist Dave Mustaine because of drinking problem: compounding this, the feral Californians repaid the couple’s kindness in letting them crash in the basement of their Old Bridge, New Jersey home by raiding the pair’s drinks cabinet and necking a bottle of champagne that the couple had been saving since receiving it on their wedding day. 


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