James Hetfield was born on August 3, 1963. He is of German, English and Irish descent.
Hetfield's father, Virgil (a truck driver who later left the family) and mother, Cynthia (a light opera singer) were strict adherents to Christian Science, and accordingly, much of James' young life revolved around Christian Science.
In accordance with their beliefs, Hetfield's parents strongly disapproved of medicine or any other medical treatment and remained loyal to their faith even as Cynthia was dying from cancer. His mother died in 1979 when James was 16. His father died in 1996, during the Load tour.
Musical influences
imageHetfield was nine years old when he first began piano lessons, after which he took on his brother David's drums and finally, at the age of fourteen, he began to play guitar. He also was in a few bands as a child - one being Leather Charm and another Obsession.
Hetfield identifies Aerosmith as having been his main musical influence as a child,[4] and has said that they were the reason why he wanted to play guitar.

Metallica (since 1981)
In the early days of the band, Metallica experimented with a few different vocals and guitar combinations, essentially creating a setup like that of Diamond Head. (Eventually, they would cover Diamond Head's "Am I Evil?") Some of the options considered included adding another guitar player, having John Roads play lead guitar, as well as asking John Bush from Armored Saint (who later joined Anthrax) to sing for the band. Hetfield stated in a 1989 interview with Spin that the band wanted ex-Misfits' vocalist Glenn Danzig[citation needed] to be Metallica's singer, but it is unclear whether or not Danzig was ever actually approached to join the band. The finalized line-up of the band became Hetfield (rhythm guitar and vocals), Lars Ulrich (drums), Dave Mustaine (lead guitar), and Cliff Burton (bass).
From 1982 to 1983, Mustaine's alcoholism sparked heated altercations between himself and Hetfield.[5] Mustaine also once poured beer onto Ron McGovney's bass[5] very nearly causing serious damage. Eventually, Hetfield and Ulrich rejected Mustaine due to his alcoholic tendencies[5] and recruited lead guitarist Kirk Hammett from the band Exodus the same day.[6] Mustaine was sent home on a 4-day bus journey, and went on to form the thrash metal band Megadeth.

Until the mid-1990s, Hetfield recorded all rhythm tracks and most harmony tracks[citation needed]. Since the recording of Load, Kirk Hammett is recording rhythm guitars as well. James occasionally plays guitar solos, too, such as "Nothing Else Matters", "My Friend of Misery" the outro solo on "The Outlaw Torn", the second solo on "To Live Is to Die", the second solo on "Orion", the first solo on "Suicide and Redemption", and the first interlude solo on "Master of Puppets" and the introduction harmonic solo in "The Day That Never Comes". He also writes the majority of the guitar harmonies, as well as writing the lyrics, vocal melodies, and co-arranging the songs with Ulrich.
Hetfield has been involved in many onstage accidents, the most famous one being an incident with pyrotechnics at Montreal's Olympic Stadium. While on the GN'R-Metallica Stadium Tour on August 8, 1992, he accidentally stepped into the path of one of the chemical flames that had been rigged to shoot from the lip of the stage during the song "Fade to Black". Hetfield's guitar protected him from the full force of the blast; however, the fire engulfed his left side, burning his hand, arm, eyebrows, face and hair. He suffered second and third-degree burns, but was back on stage 17 days later, although his guitar duties were delegated to former guitar tech and Metal Church guitarist John Marshall for four weeks while he made a full recovery.
image Hetfield has also broken his arm several times while skateboarding, which prevented him from playing guitar on stage, and subsequently caused Hetfield's management company Q Prime to add a clause in James' contract forbidding him to ride a skateboard during a Metallica tour.[8] During a concert on tour for the Black Album, James experienced complications with his vocals after performing a cover of the Anti-Nowhere League's "So What", forcing him to take vocal lessons for the first time. James did basic warm-up exercises to piano keys with his vocal coach who also gave him a cassette tape of the piano warm-up for future use. Hetfield still uses the same cassette he was given in the early nineties to this day before any show or any recording Metallica does. James talks about his vocal training endeavours in the Metallica documentary film, Some Kind of Monster produced & directed by Joe Berlinger & Bruce Sinofsky. During the recording of the St. Anger album (2002–2003), Hetfield went into rehab to address his alcohol addiction. Hetfield rejoined the band after two months in rehab and seven months recovering with his family. He is now clean and sober and is determined to remain so, all of which is in Some Kind of Monster.
Some Kind of Monster also shows the making of the St. Anger album and documents the various conflicts and issues the band were facing at the time including the departure of Metallica's bassist, Jason Newsted, alcoholism, family commitments, and the future of the band with many in the rock press questioning whether the band would even still be together to see the completion of the St. Anger album.
Hetfield and Metallica addressed their need for a new bassist by recruiting Robert Trujillo. The new lineup has continued to make music and tour worldwide. Metallica's newest album, Death Magnetic, was released on September 12, 2008. Like St. Anger and every album of original material released by Metallica since 1991's Black Album, Death Magnetic went #1 on the Billboard charts in over 30 countries during its first week of release.
On April 4, 2009, James along with remaining Metallica members Lars, Kirk, Robert, Jason, as well as the late Cliff Burton were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.[11] In an interview after their nomination, Hetfield commented that everyone who had appeared on an album with the band would be inducted. This excluded original guitarist Dave Mustaine and original bassist Ron McGovney, as both had appeared only on the band's early demo tapes.
Hetfield was ranked 24th in the Hit Parader's Top Metal Vocalist of All Time.

Personal life
When he is not writing, singing or playing, Hetfield engages in a variety of outdoor activities including hunting, skateboarding, snowboarding, water and jet-skiing; sketching, working in his garage customizing cars and motorcycles, watching his favorite football team the Oakland Raiders, and going to hot-rod shows.
He also collects vintage guitars—particularly those from 1963—and enjoys working on classic automobiles. Among his favorites are a '74 Chevy Nova, which he helped restore, and "The Beast", an all-terrain four wheel drive Blazer.
He put his 1968 Chevrolet Camaro up for sale on eBay, with the proceeds going to a Music for Schools program[14]. The car was used in the video for "I Disappear" and was given to him as a gift upon the video's completion. Years later, James donated the car to the Hard Rock Cafe which is featured in the movie Hard Rock Treasures.
Hetfield has several tattoos, including one which shows flames encasing four cards, - ace (1), 9, 6 and 3 - representing the year of his birth, and the words "Carpe Diem" ("seize the day", also part of the title of the track "Carpe Diem Baby" off ReLoad). The flames from the tattoo are in reference to the pyrotechnic accident from which he suffered in 1992. He has also tattooed an 'M' on his right hand which stands for Metallica and 'F' on his left hand which stands for "Francesca".
Aside from these pursuits, Hetfield says he is often happiest spending time with his wife Francesca and their three children: Cali (June 13, 1998), Castor (May 18, 2000), and Marcella (January 17, 2002). Hetfield married his wife Francesca Tomasi on August 17, 1997.
During an interview on NPR's Fresh Air, Hetfield stated that his wife had helped him to mature and learn to deal with his anger issues more constructively, explaining that after they met, his destructive tendencies embarrassed both of them. The Hetfield family currently resides in Marin County, California.