When Metallica stole their first manager’s wedding champagne

James Hetfield winced as he remembered the moment Metallica repaid the kindness of their first leaders by stealing a bottle of champagne they had kept since their wedding.

Jon and Marsha Zazula believed in the band’s music so much that they formed Megaforce Records specifically to spread the word about future thrash icons. Hatfield, Lars Ulrich and Kirk Hammett appeared in an introductory video for tribute show they recently held for the late Zazulas.

“They put up with a lot of crap from us,” Hetfield recalls in the clip, which describes how Metallica had arrived at the Zazulas’ New Jersey home in 1983 to be set up in the basement. “Hey, we’re here – and we’re getting rid of our lead guitarist!” he told Jon Zazula, referring to dismissal of Dave Mustaine. “He says, ‘OK, well, let’s continue – we share the same vision’.”

You can watch the clip below.

“Most of us didn’t have the highest social skills,” Ulrich added, noting that a “feeling of love” ran throughout the experience. “Ground Zero for all that was Metallica … was their house.”

Hetfield said, “We were just wild and unruly; we knew what we wanted to do, but we didn’t know how to get there.” He admitted their antics included “raiding their liquor cabinet” and the moment they stole the champagne. “She was mad,” he said of Marsha. “‘Dude, I saved it! It was the champagne from our wedding!’ They found us a place to stay after that!”

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