Metallica now has their own “day.” December 16 was designated “Metallica Day” in San Francisco as the city celebrated the band’s 40th anniversary with a special ceremony to commemorate the honor.
Drummer Lars Ulrich and bassist Rob Trujillo were present to accept the honor at the ceremony on Dec. 16 at the Chase Center in San Francisco and shared how significant the city has been in their lives and careers.
In previous years, the band has performed around “Metallica Night,” typically tied to a sporting event in San Francisco, but the “Metallica Day” proclamation is the first city-wide honor they’ve received.
“They’re part of the fabric of the community,” said Mayor London Breed in a speech during the ceremony. “They have touched people’s lives for generations. When you talk about San Francisco, you talk about cable cars and then you talk about Metallica. And on behalf of the City and County of San Francisco, I want to officially declare today ‘Metallica Day.'”
On social media, the band shared a photo of the official proclamation. ”Thank you so much to Mayor London Breed for hosting us this afternoon at Chase Center and for the incredible (sic) honor of this proclamation,” wrote the band. “Contributing to San Francisco in our small way means the world to us.”
Trujillo talked about his love of San Francisco and shared fond memories of attending Golden State Warrior basketball games at the Chase Center when he first joined Metallica in 2003.
Ulrich closed with a lengthier acceptance speech:
We didn’t start in San Francisco. We started in Southern California. And we came up to San Francisco, the first time, in 1982, in September, and played at the Stone and subsequently played at the Old Waldorf a couple of times… And we had done six, nine months in Los Angeles, and we did not belong.
The reason we all wanted to be in a band was to fit into something greater than ourselves, and we absolutely did not fit into anything in Los Angeles, Sunset Strip, Hollywood — any of that. We felt like complete outsiders. When we came up here in September of 1982 and we started playing, we played four shows that fall — like I said, at the Stone, the Old Waldorf and at the Mabuhay Gardens — and we were embraced and we were taken in and we felt so welcomed and so loved up here.
There was a sense of music community for people like ourselves who felt like outsiders, who liked things that were not in the mainstream, and that had obviously been a significant part of San Francisco’s history. So coming up here in 1982, standing on the shoulder of the history of the culture, the Beat poets and the hippie movement and the music and Bill Graham and everything that San Francisco represented, we were just embraced instantly.
We felt so welcomed, so loved and we felt finally like we belonged someplace. And it’s been 39 years of feeling that sense of belonging, to not just a geographical place — San Francisco, the Bay Area, Northern California, whatever you wanna call it — but it’s also a state of mind. You belong to what San Francisco represents.
We have been so proud to shout from every rooftop all over the world, at every press conference, in every mic that’s been shoved in our faces for the better part of 40 years how much San Francisco gave us an identity and gave us like I said, a sense of belonging. And we fly the flag proud for San Francisco and the Bay Area all over the world on our t-shirts. But we are so proud of our connection to everything that San Francisco represents and to all the wonderful people, too, obviously, the great physical and geographical elements here and the history and the cable cars and the Giants and the Warriors and the list goes on.
Those of you who know our story know that we’ve been fortunate enough to travel all over the world — we’ve played all seven continents — and there are many, many wonderful places on this planet where music, compared to when we started — Latin America, Southeast Asia, places that you wouldn’t expect 30, 40 years ago that you could bring rock and roll to — that have now also embraced us. But our hearts and our souls and our sense of belonging will always be San Francisco. And Metallica and San Francisco will always be two words which are synonymous with each other.”
Photo: Ross Halfin