On November 24, 2011, Jason Saulnier of the MusicLegends.ca web site conducted an interview with Lloyd Grant, the guitarist who played on the original recording of the METALLICA song “Hit The Lights” in early 1982. You can now listen to the chat in the YouTubeclip below.
In his “Metallica Unbound” book, noted hard rock journalist K.J. Doughton wrote about Grant‘s brief time with METALLICA, “Lars [Ulrich, drums] and James [Hetfield, guitar/vocals] decided, with only hours to go before the ‘Hit The Lights’ demo was due for submission [to be included on Metal Blade Records‘ ‘Metal Massacre’ compilation], that a second lead by a second guitarist would be essential! Lars knew a Jamaican guitarist named Lloyd Grant who was available. So, on the way to Hollywood’s Bijou Studio where Brian Slagel [Metal Blade Records head honcho] was already finished mixing the other ‘Metal Massacre’ tracks, the band screeched into Grant‘s driveway, lugged the four-track into his front room, and watched him churn a second lead break. The ‘Hit the Lights’ recipe was now complete.”
“I remember we had this four-track recorder,” explained Hetfield, recalling the last-minute struggle. “It had tracks for drums, bass, guitar and vocals. Because there were no vocals in certain parts of the song, we could punch a lead in on the vocal track. I remember we wanted to get another solo on, so we stopped by Lloyd‘s house and hooked up some little fuckin’ amp and just ripped through a solo. It was the first take. We went into the studio and that solo ended up on the record. It’s a fuckin’ great solo, man!”
Although many stories claim Grant was actually a member of METALLICA, James maintains that this single, slapdash encounter was the only time he was involved with the band. Other associates remember that Grant was a talented Delta blues player who had a knack for tasty leads. “He could play leads like a motherfucker,” said James, “but his rhythm stuff was not very tight.”
The second and third pressings of “Hit The Lights” for “Metal Massacre” included Dave Mustaine and not Grant.