Video footage of METALLICA frontman James Hetfield getting covered in cream pies for his birthday at the conclusion of the band's performance at the Sonisphere festival on Sunday, August 2 at the legendary Knebworth Park, United Kingdom can be viewed below.
Hetfield turned 46 on Monday (August 3). One of the most influential figures in hard rock and heavy metal of the past 25 years, Hetfield was born in Los Angeles, California to parents who were devout Christian Scientists. A strict religious upbringing, which included seeing his mother die of cancer because their religion forbade medical treatment, fueled the lyrics of many METALLICA songs, including "Until It Sleeps", "The God That Failed" and "Fade to Black".
Hetfield learned to play piano and drums before picking up a guitar at the age of 14. His early bands during his high school years included OBSESSION, PHANTOM LORD and LEATHER CHARM. When LEATHER CHARM's drummer left, an ad that Hetfield placed in a local paper for a new drummer led him to meet Danish-born Lars Ulrich. The pair formed METALLICA in 1981 and remain its two original members. The group has since become one of the biggest rock bands in history, selling 59 million records in the U.S. and over 100 million worldwide. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this past April along with JEFF BECK, RUN-DMC and others.
Hetfield battled for years with addictions to alcohol and drugs, finally entering rehab in 2001 during the turbulent sessions for the band's "St. Anger" album. He emerged clean and sober and remains so to this day.
Hetfield's struggle and the band's near-demise during that period was chronicled in the 2004 documentary "Some Kind of Monster".
The Pulse of Radio asked Hetfield if he ever worried whether the fans would still be there after the band's near-breakup and the lukewarm response to "St. Anger". "We're not gonna not tour or write because people don't like it," he said. "We would continue to do our best, and that's all we can ask of ourselves and, you know, the creative juices flow, you can't stop them. I can sit here and say, 'We wrote this for ourselves and we always have written for ourselves,' but when other people give you kudos, they enjoy it, they say it relates to them, it makes their life better, of course it's gonna make you feel even more satisfied."
Hetfield has been married to Francesca since 1997. They have three children, Cali, Castor and Marcella.
His hobbies include skateboarding, hunting, water sports, snowboarding, collecting guitars and customizing classic automobiles.
Hetfield has listed some of his main musical influences as BLACK SABBATH, THIN LIZZY, AEROSMITH, MOTÖRHEAD, QUEEN and LED ZEPPELIN.
METALLICA's ninth studio effort, "Death Magnetic", came out in September 2008. The band begins a North American tour this September in Nashville.