Original METALLICA Bassist RON MCGOVNEY Explains Why He Never Regretted Leaving The Band

Metallica Ron McGovney

Former METALLICA bassist Ron McGovney has once again said that he has never lamented his decision to exit the band.

Ron made the comment in response to a tweet from a fan asking him if he has ever regretted “leaving METALLICA and seeing them have overwhelming success.”

“I would rather have privacy and freedom over money any day of the week,” McGovney responded.

Back in 2018 interview with Chris Jericho, McGovney explained how the iconic metal act came to be.

Ron started the story with LEATHER CHARM, a short-lived band he played in with James Hetfield back in 1981, saying (as transcribed by Ultimate-Guitar.com): “We had one original song, a song called ‘Hit the Lights.’ The other songs were all copies. That band just kind of folded.”

When asked if they played gigs, he answered: “We never played. We never got out of the garage with LEATHER CHARMJames said, ‘I want to just be a singer… I want to find a band.’ So I just kind of backed out and did my own thing, and he started auditioning people.

“One day, he brings over Lars [Ulrich]. I had met him before one time at a JUDAS PRIEST concert. James brought him out of the crowd – they had no shirts on, sweating their asses off… they stunk like crap. He was like, ‘This is Lars.’ And I’m like, ‘Oh… Okay.’ James knew him apparently, but I didn’t know him.

“He brought him over and said, ‘He’s a drummer.’ And I’m like, ‘Okay, cool.’ So he brought over his drum set eventually, he started playing and I was like, ‘Ehhh… I don’t know about that. I don’t think he’s too good.’

“It seemed to me that he decided to be a drummer on the spur of the moment. But this kid, he was from Europe, and he knew all these bands. And he hung out with all these bands in Europe and stuff.

“I’m like, ‘Wow, that’s cool… but I don’t think he’s that good on drums.’ So I just kind of backed out of it. And they tried out other bass players and guitar players to get this band going.

“And one time we got a call at my house. I answered the phone and it was a guitar player. He says, *nasal, squeaky voice* ‘I’ve got four Marshall stacks, I’ve got 17 guitars…’ I’m like, ‘Woah. James and Lars, you guys take this call because this guy’s head is not gonna fit through the door.’

“That was Dave Mustaine. Dave Mustaine came in, plugged in… He was just warming up and everybody’s like, ‘Holy crap, this guy’s good! This guy’s really good!’

“They had another bass player there for about a week or two, but this guy couldn’t keep up. I was just sitting there with nothing to do, they’re playing ‘Hit the Lights’ and they said, ‘Why don’t you show him how to play ‘Hit the Lights’?’ So I took his bass and we played ‘Hit the Lights’ and they kind of [told the bassist], ‘Why don’t you go home?’ And, ‘Hey, will you be in the band’ to me. I said, ‘Okay, I guess I’ve got nothing else to do.’

“But like I said, I never really tried out to be in the band, it was just something that… I was there and it was available and was never gonna be a long-term thing until they found somebody.””

He added: “I was the only one that had a full-time job. My parents had a truck repair company. As a matter of fact, James‘ father had a trucking company across the street, so they knew each other from the business.

“So I was the only one with a full-time job, and they would sit there all day and create music. Then I’d get home from work and they’d say, ‘Here’s how it goes. Play this.’ And then I’d play the song and we’d practice for a few hours. Then the next couple of days, they’d add another song and that’s the way it kind of worked.”