Metallica‘s original manager has revealed to Metal Hammer magazine that the band briefly considered making drummer Lars Ulrich its frontman. Jon Zazula, who was the band’s first manager and released their debut album, 1983’s Kill ‘Em All, through his independent label Megaforce Records, explained that because James Hetfield lacked confidence in his lead vocals early in the group’s career, the idea of having the much more extroverted Ulrich step out from behind the drums and up to the mic was raised.

Zazula recalled, “Lars and I planned a lot of stuff. But James wasn’t the most confident of singers. I don’t think he felt comfortable. At one point there was even talk of Lars becoming the frontman. For about five seconds.”

  • Other singers who were considered for the frontman position in Metallica included Jess Cox of British act Tygers Of Pan Tang and John Bush of Armored Saint and, later, Anthrax, who turned the offer down.
  • Ulrich spoke in a 1989 interview with Metal Forces about what the band might have sounded like had John Bush taken the job, saying, “It’s impossible to know how different it would have been, but I can’t imagine Metallica without James Hetfield up there growling into the microphone.”
  • Ulrich told us recently that he remembers the band’s early days fondly even if they’re a little hazy: [“It was an exciting time and kind of all a little bit surreal. And yes, most of the memories are sort of living in an alcohol-fueled daze, but between the four of us — if the four of us were sitting here we could probably put about 25 percent together each for that puzzle (laughs) and give a somewhat complete picture of what went on.”] SOUNDCUE (:18 OC: . . . what went on.)
  • Metallica has been working on its 10th studio album, which could possibly surface before the end of the year.
  • The band has one live date on its schedule at the moment, at the new U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on August 20th.

CHECK IT OUT: Watch vintage footage of Lars singing lead vocals with Metallica on “Am I Evil?” (warning: explicit language):


  • Can you imagine Lars Ulrich as lead singer of Metallica?
  • Can you picture anyone in that role besides James Hetfield?
  • Where do you think the band would be today and how would they sound if John Bush or someone else had become the vocalist?

INTERNET COMMENTS at Ultimate Classic Rock — agree or not?

Craig Johnson wrote: “Well…at least the drumming was better.”

Wayne Carlton Winquist wrote: “Apart from justifying James as THE frontman, it spared the world from creating a superego that might have compared to Axl Rose in terms of destructiveness.”

Tyler Satterlee wrote: “I clicked on this thinking it was an actual joke. I am a massive Metallica history nerd and have never heard anyone mention Lars fronting Metallica. Thank the Metal Gods they thought otherwise…Music history would’ve been altered forever, like Back to the Future type s**t.”

Neil Service wrote: “If people thought Snaxl Snooze with AC/DC was a bad frontman idea…this would top it.”