Baton Rouge guitarist Lance Bulen recalls bad experience with James Hetfield but forgives him

Photo by Joe Schaeffer Photography

Baton Rouge guitarist Lance Bulen recalls bad experience with James Hetfield but forgives him

Baton Rouge guitarist Lance Bulen has shared an incident with Metallica frontman James Hetfield that occurred more than 30 years ago. Bulen has decided to forgive Hetfield for what took place so long ago as the latter is in rehab once again battling his addiction problem.

The following message was posted on Bulen‘s Facebook page yesterday (with slight edits):


LB 10.6.19 AD

When I first came out To California ( 1987) with my band Baton Rouge, we were pretty green here in LA.

We did not have jobs and lived accordingly.

Mike Clink producer however took us under his wing and produced some demos for us while finishing GNR‘s Appetite For Destruction.

Mike would give me work in the studio from time to time helping him as a guitar tech.

I was usually there to help him get tones and settings for rigs while he tweaked.

One of the sessions was with the band Metallica. Mike had me come out for a few days and do the usual tech stuff.

On the 3rd day, we were in the studio tweaking.

Tones and while I was playing James Hetfield’s white Explorer. James walked in and stared at me with disgust. He did not say a word and then left the studio.

That night after the session, the band, crew and studio crew all went out to have drinks at a bar. I think it was ?THE CAT HOUSE.

After a couple of drinks in, we all seemed to have a great time when James looked up at me and started to laugh at me and belittling me for playing his guitar. He then got the band and crew to join in. That actually brought the New Orleans Bulen’izm out and started to get 10 feet tall but decided to say “Fuck You guys.”

And then I left.

This was approximately 30 years ago and for 30 years, I’ve boycotted and turned off Metallica when ever a song came on.

Today however, I’ve decided to forgive and show support for James while he’s going through recovery and

Wish James all good things, for him his family and friends.

The next time I hear Metallica come on, I will listen.

Keep Life Rockin’ Peeps !


Sleaze Roxx‘s “Bio” for Baton Rouge is as follows:

Baton Rouge was a melodic hard rock band with heavy blues overtones not that far removed from early Whitesnake and Tangier. The band originally formed in Louisiana as Voices in 1986 and consisted of Kelly Keeling (guitar and keyboards), Lance Bulen (vocals), Keith Harrison (bass) and Harold Knappenburger (drums).

After changing their name to Meridian and finally Baton Rouge, the group relocated to Los Angeles in 1987 and revamped their lineup; Keeling took over on vocals while Bulen switched to guitar and a new rhythm section of Scott Bender (bass) and Corky McClellan (drums) was added. After a mere six live shows on the Sunset Strip, they were signed to Atlantic records and hooked up with producers Jack Ponti and Vic Pepe who would co-write many of their songs. Their debut album, Shake Your Soul, debuted in 1990 and reached #160 on the Billboard charts. Keyboardist David Cremin appeared on the album artwork, but didn’t actually join the band until recording for the debut was finished.

For the follow-up album, ex-Keel guitarist Tony Palmucci was brought in so that Keeling could focus solely on the vocals and Cremin was gone. Lights Out On The Playground was a commercial failure and the band promptly broke up when Keeling was offered the lead vocalist slot in Blue Murder. A self-titled Baton Rouge album was released in 1997, but was really nothing more then Keeling supplying vocals to some Jack Ponti demos and was never really considered a group project.

In 2006, a greatest hits compilation entitled The Hottest of Baton Rouge was released, which included two short previously unreleased tracks. In 2009, Baton Rouge‘s original line-up reunited to perform live at the Rocklahoma music festival held in Pryor, Oklahoma.”

Baton Rouge‘s “Walk Like a Woman” video:

Baton Rouge – Walks like a woman

hard rock