Where did Metallica get their name?
Posted by jrmurdock
If you’ve ever talked to me about music, you know I’ve been a Metallica fan for quite some time. I first discovered them in ’84 or ’85 with their Ride the Lightning album and shortly thereafter I found Kill ’em All. When I got a hold of Master of Puppets I was convinced they were a band I would love forever. I’d read articles about the band. I lamented when Cliff Burton died. I was happy when Newsted was hired. I was sad when he quit. I hated St. Anger (and still hate it and wish they would come out with a better version where the drums sound like drums and actually include guitar solos). I was leery about Trujillo joining the band.
I’ve seen all the behind the scenes videos (well, most of them). I’ve watched many interviews with the band members. Metallica is a machine that shows no signs of stopping and has built a legacy that I’m proud to have been following for nearly 30 years.
But where the hell did they come up with that name? It bugged me for a very long time. I know I had heard that name BEFORE I had heard of the band. I just knew it. I’d read a lot of books growing up and in the 80s I read a great amount of science fiction. I always knew that this name just sounded too familiar.
I had to do some research and see if the internet would cooperate and help me find the answer once more.
If you see an old interview with Lars Ulric, he mentions that when he and James were just getting together and trying to think of a name for the band, a friend was also forming a band and had a list of names. One of the names on that list was Metallica. Lars told the friend that another name was awesome, and stole Metallica as his own.
Well, that seems easy enough, but why did the name sound so familiar to me if I’d only just discovered them? It wasn’t until some time in the late 80s as I was re-reading my Piers Anthony collection that the name came back and smacked me in the face. I had gotten through the latest Xanth novel, Steppe, and was onto Prostho Plus. This book is about a dentist that gets kidnapped by aliens and taken from planet to planet to perform dentistry on all sorts of alien races. The book is actually quite comical and isn’t filled with a ton of sex like most his later books.
Originally published in 1973! Right there in Chapter 6!
“We’ve had a call from Metallica, one of the Robotoid planets,” the Director said.
You can read the entire novel here (http://www.epubbud.com/read.php?g=MGTH4HX6&p=1) and you can buy a copy here (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0812531167/ref=s9_simh_gw_p14_d4_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=0Q4MX3B66HBJEF22E2TW&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1389517282&pf_rd_i=507846)
I had always remembered that, but had never been able to find any verification online to what I had remembered. It was one of those things that I thought maybe I had finally just gone and lost my mind. I had mentioned this to many people over the years only to see them nod there heads and look at me like I was full of it or that it really wasn’t something that important. Well, to me, it was important.
So if you ever wondered where Metallica got its name, it was from a friend of Lars Ulric. Where did the friend get it? He got it from Piers Anthony’s novel, Prostho Plus. It’s possible that this is just coincidence, but I somehow doubt it. I like to think that one of my favorite authors inadvertently provided the name for my favorite band.
And now you know… the rest…of the story.
Until Next Time!
Posted on August 10, 2013, in Blog Post and tagged cliff burton, james hetfield, jason newstead, kirk hammet, lars ulric, metallica, piers anthony, Prostho Plus, robert trujillo. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.