Metallica must have had some – ahem – unique fans over the course of their career, but a serial killer surely must take the cake.

Over their illustrious career, Metallica are sure to have had some – ahem – unique fans. Some, however, are more unique than others – namely, serial killer Richard Ramirez, who apparently was incensed that he couldn’t see the band perform live.

Those who don’t know Ramirez by his name might remember him as the serial killer the Night Stalker. In the 80s, Ramirez terrorised the Greater Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay areas for over 14 months. In 1989, he was convicted of 13 counts of murder, five attempted murders, 11 sexual assaults, and 14 burglaries. 

So, where do Metallica come in? Ramirez, apparently, was a huge Metallica fan, and was apparently awaiting execution on death row when the band came to play in San Quentin Prison. It was a familiar location to them, since they’d already filmed the ‘St. Anger’ music video in the very same location.

“When we played San Quentin Prison [in 2003], he was on death row and could hear us. The guards who were responsible for watching him said Richard Ramirez was pissed off and pacing his cell because he wasn’t allowed to see us.” Kirk Hammett recalled in a recent interview with NME. 

While Ramirez couldn’t see Metallica live, he did leave them an unusual souvenir.

“He gave the guards his subscription copy of a magazine with us on the cover and on the mail-tag it said: ‘Richard Ramirez, San Quentin Prison.’ So that’s my little token from Richard Ramirez.” Hammett said, before reflecting on the oddity of the possibility that him and Ramirez might have run into each other – however remotely – before their lives took very trajectories.

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“Not to glorify the guy – he did some horrible crimes. He hung out in Richmond California, and I wonder sometimes if me and the guys from [his pre-Metallica band] Exodus were at the same parties as him back in the day.” Hammett told NME.

Apparently, Ramirez wasn’t the only person whom Hammett might have known from back in the day.

“At one point, one of the inmates screamed over to me and said, ​‘Hey, Kirk, I know your mom!’ and I was like, ​‘Excuse me?’ He goes, ​‘Yeah, I used to mow her lawn!’ He added that he knew so-and-so from the neighbourhood, too.” Hammett told Kerrang! in a 2021 interview.

For more on this topic, follow the Classic Rock Observer.

Check out ‘St. Anger’ by Metallica:

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