Last September, James Hetfield shocked the world, when he announced he was going back to rehab. None were more shocked than his Metallica bandmates.
In an extended interview with the band in their new issue, Metal Hammer asked the thrash legends what it was like learning about Hetfield’s state of mind.
Bassist Robert Trujillo said “We really didn’t see it coming. James seemed like he was fine, but then you look back and you try to analyze the situation over time and see where there were red flags.
“Being on the road can be very challenging, and I would imagine for James, to get up there in front of all those people and have to be ‘on,’ meanwhile your family’s not with you and all these things are going on, it builds up.”
Hammett chimed in to say “Whenever something happens to a bandmember like this, it’s so deeply unsettling. It comes as a shock. You have to do a bit of scrambling just to cover some ground.”
During a 2017 interview on the Joe Rogan Experience, Hetfield went into detail on why he went to rehab:
“Fear was a big motivator in that for me,” Hetfield said. “Losing my family, that was the thing that scared me so much. That was the bottom I hit, that my family is going to go away because of my behaviors that I brought home from the road. I got kicked out of my house by my wife; I was living on my own somewhere. I did not want that. Maybe as part of my upbringing, my family kind of disintegrated when I was a kid. Father left, mother passed away, had to live with my brother, and then kind of just, where did my stuff go? It just kind of floated away, and I do not want that happening. No matter what’s going on, we’re going to talk this stuff out and make it work.”
He continued: “[My wife] did the right thing — she kicked my ass right out of the house and that scared the shit out of me. She said, ‘Hey, you’re not just going to the therapist now and talking about this. You’ve got to go somewhere and sort this shit out.’ So that’s what I did… What worked for me was seven weeks someplace — like, basically tearing you down to bones, ripping your life apart. Anything you thought about yourself or what it was, anything you thought you had, your family, your career, anything, gone. Strip you down to just — you’re born. Here’s how you were when you were born — you were okay. You were a good person. Let’s get back to that again. Then they slowly rebuild you.”
Metal Injection – METALLICA Say James Hetfield’s Rehab Stint Was “Deeply Unsettling”
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August 20, 2020