Starting your own band is certainly a path fraught with difficulties, even more so considering the dire state of the music industry nowadays. Financial constraints, lack of resources, and the struggle to gain recognition are just a few of the hurdles aspiring musicians face. But don’t think for a minute that in the 80s it was much easier, despite the differences in the musical landscape. And if you don’t believe that, you can ask Metallica‘s James Hetfield.

In a recent episode of the band’s official podcast, The Metallica Report, Hetfield recounted the group’s difficult circumstances in the mid-80s and the extreme measures Metallica took to survive. In a few words, Hetfield painted a vivid picture of the band’s lack of resources, describing how they resorted to unconventional means to go by, while recording in Denmark’s Sweet Silence Studios, where they created their iconic albums Ride The Lightning and Master Of Puppets.

“We were up in the attic, sleeping on the floor and stealing food from other bands that were coming through there, stealing bikes just to get around, stealing empty beer bottles to go turn them in for more beer,” Hetfield recalled. “There was a lot of thieving.”

“We didn’t have anything, we didn’t have shit. So it wasn’t thieving, we were just borrowing it forever,” James added with a chuckle.

These challenging experiences in Denmark have left Hetfield feeling a deep connection to the country: “Because of all those adventures in the early days, I feel a lot more at home in Denmark now. The early days were tough because, as far as us and the business side, we had no clue. Lars was kind of taking a shot at it,” he recalled.

The frontman also reminisced about the wealth of musical history surrounding them at Sweet Silence Studios, where they encountered recordings from jazz legend Chet Baker and rock icons like Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow: “Lars and I slept in the tape storage upstairs of Sweet Silence and looking through it was like whoa, Richie Blackmore‘s stuff and all kinds of different bands that have gone through there doing stuff.”

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