James Hetfield

By: Patrick Cates
August 3, 2009


Even when JAMES HETFIELD (born 1963) smiles — which he did copiously during this year’s induction of Metallica into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, for example — his face can’t fully escape its natural scowling contortion. He was still a teenager when they burst onto the metal scene in the early 1980s with Kill ’Em All, a furious, thrashing pitbull of an album that was originally titled Metal Up Your Ass. Some thirty years later, after a campaign of self-destruction that has included broken limbs, third-degree burns, fistfights, and rehab, Hetfield is still giving voice to his emotions with that instantly recognizable mix of bile, spit, and growl. And the words that encapsulate the rage don’t change much, either. “Fuck it all and fucking no regrets”, he roars on “Damage Inc.” (Master of Puppets, 1987). “Fuck it all and fucking no regrets,” he bellows on “St. Anger” (St. Anger, 2003). Hetfield is anger and Metallica is the loudhailer that broadcasts it to the world.


On his or her birthday, HiLobrow irregularly pays tribute to one of our high-, low-, no-, or hilobrow heroes. Also born this date: | Clifford D. Simak |

READ MORE about men and women born on the cusp between the Original Generation X (1954–1963) and Reconstructionist (1964–1973) Generation.