Metallica’s Forgotten Original Guitarist Remembers Their First Demo
Lloyd Grant, a Jamaican-born friend of Lars Ulrich's, played on Metallica's first demo before disappearing into history. He got there when the group decided, at the last moment, to add a second lead break before submitting "Hit the Lights" to Metal Blade Records' initial Metal Massacre compilation in 1982.
Ulrich "called me and said they were gonna be on this compilation album," Grant tells Rockzone Legends, "and he brought over a tape of 'Hit the Lights' recorded on a four-track and asked me to make some solos for that, and they were gonna bring the four-track down and they were just gonna put it out and dump it on the compilation album."
Grant took advantage of the empty places on the already-finished vocal track to punch in some solo guitar, and "Hit the Lights" was completed with just hours to go before it was due to Metal Blade founder Brian Slagel. James Hetfield was credited with bass on the song.
But that legendary moment of improv brilliance wasn't as off the cuff as it might seem. Grant adds that he was familiar with "Hit the Lights" long before this impromptu recording session with Metallica.
"We were playing for a long time, and [Ulrich] came down to my place, my apartment, once, and he kept asking me to come by and jam with the band, but I was really busy doing other stuff," Lloyd says. "And I went down and played with them – me and him and James; just the three of us. James was playing bass and I was playing guitar and Lars was playing drums. And we rehearsed that 'Hit the Lights' song. But way before that, Lars let me hear that song. We were hanging out watching soccer ... and he played this one song, and it was great, and that's how I first was introduced to 'Hit the Lights.' And after that, I went over and jammed a few times."
It wouldn't last, however. Dave Mustaine initially took over lead duties, followed by current guitarist Kirk Hammett. Grant joined Metallica again on stage in 2011 at San Francisco's Fillmore as part of the group's week-long 30th anniversary celebration.
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