According to PressTelegram.com, METALLICA guitarist/vocalist James Hetfield will be inducted into the Downey High School 2011 Hall Of Fame today. He will receive a special induction for attending Downey High in Downey, California his freshman and sophomore years.
Downey Assistant Principal Lisa Lucke said the plan to induct Hetfield into the Hall of Fame has been in the works for years.
"He's a very private person, and he's usually on tour this time of year so it was really just about trying to align schedules," she said. "We're all excited and hoping he can come."
She said Hetfield, 47, sent his former high school a signed guitar one year.
"He said we could auction it off but we haven't had the heart to do anything with it yet," she said.
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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".
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, MOTRHEAD, QUEEN and LED ZEPPELIN.
METALLICA's ninth studio effort, "Death Magnetic", came out in September 2008.
Photo courtesy of Metallica.com