BLABBERMOUTH.NET has obtained the full text of the speech by METALLICA members Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield inducting BLACK SABBATH into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Monday night (March 13) at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City.
In addition to inducting SABBATH into the Roll Hall, METALLICA also performed a medley of SABBATH songs ("Hole in the Sky" and "Iron Man") during the ceremony.
The following is the full text of Ulrich's and Hetfield's induction speech:
Lars Ulrich: "Let me start off by saying that, if I'm doing my math right, we are gonna celebrate BLACK SABBATH tonight a decade or so late, but that's another conversation and another argument.
"Oh, by the way, Sharon, if I fuck this up in any way, please no eggs. This is my finest leather, this is my finest leather.
"Anyway, I wonder how many times on this very night in the last 20 years that the words 'If it weren't for you, we wouldn't be here' have been uttered. Well, here we go once more. Bill, Geezer, Ozzy and Tony, if it weren't for you, we wouldn't be here. Obviously if there was no BLACK SABBATH, there would be no METALLICA. If there was no BLACK SABBATH, hard rock and heavy metal as we know it today would look, sound and be shaped very, very differently. So if there was no BLACK SABBATH, I could possibly still be a morning newspaper delivery boy — no fun, no fun. So thank you for meeting, thank you for knowing each other, and thank you for forming a band so I would have something relevant and important to do on this Monday night in 2006.
"Over the past 20 years, remarkable talent has been hailed on this special night — talent whose names have been and will forever define the broader term 'rock and roll.' So it's really interesting to me how few of these names are synonymous with a single particular subgenre of music. And as one who has fought labeling at any opportunity given, I hereby not only acknowledge but scream from every fucking rooftop that BLACK SABBATH is and always will be synonymous with the term 'heavy metal.'
"SABBATH join what I consider a very short list of artists who can claim to be symonymous with their specific genre of music — one being BOB MARLEY with reggae, BOB DYLAN with folk, JOHNNY CASH with country, perhaps BILL HALEY with rockabilly, but no matter how you fucking slice and dice it, when you say 'heavy metal,' the words BLACK SABBATH hover in the shadows fighting for pole position. On any given day, the heavy metal genre might as well be subtitled 'music derivative of BLACK SABBATH.' Sure, we're all respectful to BLUE CHEER, we're enamored with LED ZEPPELIN, we're in awe of DEEP PURPLE and of course admiring of STEPPENWOLF and John Kay's first uttering of the words 'heavy metal,' but when it comes to defining a genre within the world of heavy music, SABBATH stand alone. They took pre-existing elements of blues, rock and soul, threw in the right amount of darkness and street cred, and fused those elements with a previously undiscovered 'X' factor — whatever the fuck that was — creating something unheard, unexperienced, unique and utterly groundbreaking with their huge hymns of doom. BLACK SABBATH are an entity of their own — in my mind, the only word that fits is the word 'pioneer.' They were, and much more importantly, still are considered pioneers of all things heavy. All the metal bands and all the so-called subgenres of metal still trace their lineage to one place: four kids in their late teens from the black country of Birmingham who named their band after a 1963 Italian horror movie starring Boris Karloff. Subsequently they changed hard rock and by doing so the entire family tree of metal and everything that metal, for better or worse, stands for, was and will be forever both invigorated and elevated.
"Are they taking the piss? The question 'Are they taking the piss?' still rumbles in my mind. It's 1986 and we're fortunate enough to land the much-coveted support slot on Ozzy's 'Ultimate Sin' tour. We would, when given the chance to soundcheck, often start jamming on any number of SABBATH songs — be it 'Symptom of the Universe', 'Fairies Wear Boots', 'Sweet Leaf', or what have you. Apparently, as the hallowed sounds of our meek attempt at SABBATH music reached into Ozzy's dressing room, his first reaction — so I was told — was, 'Are they taking the piss?' And as we were later threatened with, if indeed we were 'taking the piss,' we would be at the receiving end of — something I was unfamiliar with at the time — namely, a 'Birmingham handshake,' of which I could only imagine the horrors. So I can now answer Ozzy's question in person face to face. No, Ozzy, we weren't taking the piss. We were just four snot-nosed kids on our first go-around in the big leagues hoping that one of the key people — that would be you, Ozzy — responsible for bringing us to that soundcheck, to that stage, on that tour, would honor us in a moment of the planets spontaneously aligning by joining us on stage and singing the words to the music, the very music that forever changed our lives, the music that was directly responsible for us not only being at that soundcheck, on that stage, on that tour, but also the very music that is directly responsible for us being here tonight celebrating your triumphs. And in our turn, we are honored to be the ones chosen from the thousands of bands you have spawned in your wake to honor you, BLACK SABBATH, and induct you into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on this night, a decade late or not. And with that, Bill, Geezer, Ozzy and Tony, I salute you with much love, respect, appreciation and gratitude. Thank you."
James Hetfield: "BLACK SABBATH is mammoth riffs with menacing lyrics that made me oh so happy. That was gonna be my speech — that was it — but Springsteen kind of upped the ante the last year. I'll go a little deeper. Picture a nine-year-old boy — quiet, well-behaved on the outside, but on the inside boiling and dying for a life to burst open with some sort of — any sort of — stimulation and the discovery of music was what was to burst it wide open. But not just any music. This was more than just music — a powerful, loud, heavy sound that moved his soul. You see, this timid nine-year-old constantly raided his roommate-slash-older brother's record collection, and going against his older brother's wishes, played those off-limit records on the forbidden record player. And out of all the records he could have worn out, there was no other choice — the very moment he saw their earliest album cover, he knew they were going to offer him a different kind of ride. He was drawn to them like a magnet to metal… That's pretty lame, yes. OK, I'll try again. More like a shy boy to his own loud voice. Those monstrous riffs lived inside him and spoke the feelings he could never put into words [choking up], sending chills of inspiration through him, from those gloomy lyrics and outlaw chords and all. They helped crack the shell he was stuck in. Also, scaring his mom and sister was an extra bonus. And now, as the former nine-year-old speaks to you here, as an adult musician — I know those two words really don't go together — I realize that without their defining sound, as my friend Lars has said, there would be no METALLICA, especially with one James Hetfield. Never have I known a more timeless and influential band. They have spread their wonderful disease through generations of musicians. They are always listed as an influence by heavy bands to this day. They are loved and highly respected as the fathers of heavy music. It truly is a dream come true and an extreme honor for me and the nine-year-old still inside of me to induct into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame such a significant group of musicians. And in the words of our fearless leader Ozzy Osbourne, 'Let's go fucking crazy!'"