James Hetfield said recent experiences helped him to start learning how to take proper care of himself as he gained more knowledge about his “relationship wit the world.”

The Metallica frontman returned to rehab in 2019 as he continued to struggle with alcohol; he rolled back to action just in time for the coronavirus lockdown to cancel the band’s plans for 2020. In a new interview with fan-club magazine So What!, he agreed with interviewer Steffan Chirazi when asked if he felt “more comfortable” with his life’s direction than ever before.

“As far as my life and growth and band life, all together I’d say yes,” Hetfield said. “The older we get, we learn more. Whether I want to learn any more about myself, that I don’t know. But I am learning about how much I’m a regular human being, I’m learning that more and more, and yeah, I get to be in a big, popular band, but everyone has their own celebrity in their life, and it’s all just relative to what’s around you. Ours is highly elevated, and I’m realizing a lot more that I have not cared for myself very well.”

He said he comes from a family that “might not, as far as medically, have taken care of themselves” and transition to a place where he was “actually caring for myself in more than just an ‘eat food and shower’ way.” That included “asking for what you need, asking if you can help, connecting to the world in different ways. ... I mean we can get super deep, super quick, but yes, [I have] a lot more knowledge about myself and my relationship with the world.”

Hetfield described his bandmates as “brothers on this journey in life." “Metallica definitely happens because of us getting together," he explained. "We’re gonna continue to stay connected and write music. For me, there’s been two sides of the coin in the band. There’s been ‘you’re on the road’ or ‘you’re writing.’ … I’m writing, they’re writing. At some point we’ll get together.”

Noting they were all learning to adapt to a world impacted by COVID-19, Hetfield said, “I realize more and more that this is a gift. This is a gift we’ve been handed, and we need to care [of] it.”


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