James Hetfield’s opinion on The Ramones

James Hetfield

When Metallica was formed by Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield in 1981, the band was shaping their sound mixing all the things they liked, including Punk Rock and Heavy Metal. Putting especially those two genres together, the band glued the heaviness of Metal and the speed of Punk, being one of the pioneers of what would later be called Thrash Metal.

Over the decades, the band’s guitarist, main songwriter and singer James Hetfield gave his opinion on many other bands, including The Ramones.

What is James Hetfield’s opinion on The Ramones

The Ramones were formed in New York City back in 1974, when Hetfield was only 11 years-old. The group remained active until 1996 and became one of the most important and influential groups in the history of music.

Although they didn’t had a huge commercial success like Metallica, for example, Ramones remains a big cult-following band. They keep being rediscovered by younger generations a cited by other bands as an influence. Hetfield is a huge fan of the band and said many times that their guitarist Johnny Ramone was a big influence to his style. “Johnny Ramone, lots of down-picking. Just fast down-picking that helped develop my style.”

“So kind of a combination of Punk Rock and Heavy Rock at the time, turned into the down-picking style with melody along with it,” James Hetfield said in an interview with Ernie Ball in 2022.

Metallica covered The Ramones

Metallica was part of the tribute album “We’re A Happy Family: A Tribute to Ramones” released in 2003. They covered the track “53rd & 3rd”. The album was produced by Johnny Ramone alongside Rob Zombie. That record also had RHCP, U2, Eddie Vedder and Green Day.

In that year, when Rob Trujillo still wasn’t a member of the band. They performed an intimate concert with their producer Bob Rock on bass and played that track live.

James Hetfield credites Punk for Metallica’s longetivity

Over the years, Hetfield had the chance to meet the member of The Ramones. He credited in a conversation with Howard Stern, Punk Rock for Metallica longevity. According to him, they managed to go so far in their careers because just like Punk bands, they didn’t worried about everything being perfect all the time.

He also recalled that Metallica had the chance to play on the same day as The Ramones at Lollapalooza once. Hetfield said that it “was such a treat”.

Joey Ramone believed that The Ramones was the main influence to Metallica

The late Ramones co-founder and vocalist Joey Ramone liked Metallica and once in an interview interview that the Punk group would have been Metallica‘s main influence. He said that in an interview in Helsinki, Finland made by Heli Nevakare (Rockstop) back in 1991 (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage). He was asked about the evolution of Punk Rock music and used Metallica as an example. “It keeps evolving. When we started out it was the ‘Punk Revolution’. Then Thrash (Metal) came in, bands like Metallica with Lars (Ulrich).”
“He saw us in 1980 in Copenhagen (Denmark). That’s basically where he got the idea to combine the music of The Ramones with Metal influences like Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and people like that. He took that to L.A where he put the band together. You know, bands like Megadeth, Jane’s Addiction. All that Thrash (Metal) stuff was derived from Ramones. The Sex Pistols, The Clash, all that came later,” Joey Ramone said.

Besides Punk, Metallica was also heavily influenced by less famous bands from the New Wave of The British Heavy Metal.

Rafael Polcaro: I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG