Home Music James Hetfield on Metallica: “Individually we’re all really regular players”

James Hetfield on Metallica: “Individually we’re all really regular players”

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Frontman James Hetfield credits Metallica’s massive success with the magic happening as a collective unit, as opposed to the musical skills of the individual members.

Hetfield said in a new cover story for Cigar aficionados Journal (as stated by far). “Something is already happening.”

The singer and guitarist went on to admit that he is less comfortable playing with musicians outside of Metallica, adding, “Getting up and jamming with people is a nightmare for me.”


Over the years, the members of Metallica may not have been seen as talented compared to many of their metal peers – with drummer Lars Ulrich unfortunately bearing the brunt of musical compromise – but Hetfield makes a great point. It’s really how the band operates as a whole that matters most, and you’d be hard-pressed to find another metal act whose first five albums are as legendary as Metallica – except, perhaps, Black Sabbath.

Elsewhere in the interview, Hetfield reflected on his initial stage dread when Metallica started playing gigs. “The early shows were really hard—I was very shy,” he said. “[I] Don’t want to talk. I would ask the other guys in the band to submit the songs. [Now] I feel very comfortable there, it’s very strange. Sitting alone with someone is more anxious than standing in front of 10,000 people, 20,000 people.”

Get Metallica tickets here

He continued, “As we get older, we’d like to keep playing all the places we’ve been to before, but it’s almost impossible to keep up the pace we had in, say, the ’90s. We’d be out for months at a time…we We’re very self-critical, very self-confronting and have very high standards. So we take care of all aspects of putting on the best show both visually and acoustically for the people who enjoy our music and keep coming to see us live.”


Speaking of watching Metallica live, the band will soon embark on a 2023-2024 world tour in support of their upcoming album, 72 seasons. Tickets for their next shows are available here.

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