Classic Rock

Metallica’s First Bassist: What happened and Why He Doesn’t Have A Bass Anymore

todayMarch 12, 2024 2

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For Metallica fans, the name Ron McGovney might not hold the same weight as James Hetfield or Lars Ulrich. But McGovney was there at the very beginning, laying down the low-end foundation for the band’s thrash metal sound in their formative years.

Recently, McGovney made a public statement about his current challenges. Through X, he shared his struggles with a debilitating hearing loss and a chronic hand injury.

These issues have unfortunately forced him away from the bass, the instrument that was once an extension of himself.

A glimpse into McGovney’s life now

McGovney has been reminiscing with fans online, sharing stories and experiences from his time with Metallica. But a recent exchange took a more personal turn when a fan asked about his current involvement with music.

The answer was heartbreaking. McGovney revealed that a chronic hand injury, plaguing him for over 15 years, has forced him to step away from the bass. As if that wasn’t enough, he also disclosed a significant hearing loss, further diminishing his ability to create music.

“No. I don’t even own a bass anymore. I have a hand injury that I have been dealing with for more than 15 years. Oh yeah, I’m almost deaf,” McGovney wrote.

Setting the record straight on Metallica’s debut

Taking a deeper dive into Metallica’s past, McGovney tackled a common misconception about the band’s first live show, often celebrated as a momentous occasion. Having been there himself, he downplays the event’s significance.

In his own words, McGovney describes the debut performance as far from groundbreaking.  He emphasizes his firsthand experience with a wry “Believe me. I was there.”

This sets the stage for a potentially contrasting perspective on a different show – the first one in San Francisco after the release of their album No Life Til Leather. Perhaps, McGovney suggests, that’s where the true groundbreaking moment for Metallica lies.

McGovney’s return to the stage

After a long hiatus, Ron returned to the stage in a big way. On December 10, 2011, he joined his former band Metallica for a performance at The Fillmore during their 30th-anniversary celebrations.

It wasn’t just a Metallica reunion though, as Dave Mustaine, Megadeth’s founder and former Metallica guitarist, also participated. Along with Lloyd Grant, they performed two of Metallica’s classics, “Hit the Lights” and “Seek & Destroy”.

Two years later, McGovney would share the stage with another metal legend. On December 5, 2013, he joined Megadeth onstage in Charlotte, North Carolina. This time, he took on lead vocals for a cover of Thin Lizzy’s “Cold Sweat”.

Written by: Best Classic Bands Staff

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