James Hetfield’s Handwritten Letter To Ex-Metallica Bassist Revealed

An X user recently posted some pages from Ron McGovney’s 1981 Downey High School yearbook. The pages included a letter from James Hetfield to the ex-Metallica bassist:

“Ron, I’ll sign it even if I didn’t go to Downey this year. I can’t wait till we get the studio + the house together. I know ‘The Charm’ will happen. Just keep practicing bass, watch ‘General Hospital,’ and get long hair + stay skinny.”

Hetfield and McGovney played together in a garage band called Leather Charm in those years. The letter went on:

“Too bad you can’t go to Ozzy [Osbourne], but have a b*tchin’ time in Hawaii. I know you will with your I.D. I hope we can have that party at the house. It will be a cranker, especially with ‘Leather Charm’ playing. Well, good luck from me + the rest of ‘The Charm.’”

The Yearbook Had More Pages

The X post also included a photo of that year’s students and a list ranking musicians. The user asked:

“This two-page sheet was inside ranking musicians. Any idea if you wrote that out or James did. Thanks man!”

The bassist replied:

“I wrote the musician ranking papers. That was a common thing we did in school on a daily basis.”

McGovney was a Metallica member in its first year and appeared on the band’s early demos before leaving the lineup in late 1982. Cliff Burton replaced him and played with the band until he died in 1986.

Metallica’s First Bassist And His Departure

Ron McGovney quit the band due to tension between him and Dave Mustaine but previously said he didn’t regret the decision. The bassist noted that he wasn’t into Metallica’s thrash style and wanted to be a motorcycle mechanic at the time.

He also explained that Burton treated him with respect after his departure:

“He was really respectful of me for my tenure in the band, which was really nice. I remember at that Palladium show in ’84, I had a pass but it was just like a sticker pass. And I wanted to go in the back and talk to them but [security] wouldn’t let me in. Cliff saw me, he gave me his laminate. I walked back there and their tour manager said, ‘Why did you give him that?’ And Cliff said, ‘He was the first bass player for Metallica!’”

Check out the memorabilia from Metallica’s high school years below.

Photo Credit: Steve Grad – X
Photo Credit: Steve Grad – X
Photo Credit: Steve Grad – X