The Pulse of Radio reports: METALLICA frontman James Hetfield turns 45 on Sunday (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 57 million records in the U.S. and 100 million worldwide. Hetfield struggled 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. While doing press for the 2004 documentary "Some Kind of Monster", which chronicled the events surrounding "St. Anger", Hetfield admitted that he used to drink to maintain his public image. "There's no doubt that I played into the image that was portrayed in the press, portrayed in people's description of why they liked METALLICA," he said. "I didn't want to disappoint. I wanted to be that guy. I wanted to put that mask on, and then keeping the mask on 24 hours became suffocating, and I could not do it anymore." 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", is due out in September. Turkey's leading 24-hour news channel NTV aired a lengthy report on METALLICA's July 27, 2008 appearance at the Ali Sami Yen Stadium in Istanbul. The report — which includes an interview with James Hetfield about the group's forthcoming album "Death Magnetic" and the "Some Kind of Monster" movie — can be viewed below.
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