HATEBREED singer Jamey Jasta says that James Hetfield was "a real inspiration" for him, explaining that the METALLICA frontman's sobriety motivated him to change his life and avoid substance use.
Jasta made his comments in an interview with Full Metal Jackie's nationally syndicated radio show, four months after METALLICA's tour of Australia and New Zealand was called off so that Hetfield could enter rehab to battle his addictions. The trek was slated to kick off on October 17 in Perth and was to include over 10 dates, with SLIPKNOT in the support slot.
Speaking about Hetfield's influence on his sobriety and the responsibility that he feels in terms of paying it forward within a community fraught with substance abuse, Jasta said (hear audio below): "I tell people there are so many free resources online. There's programs that are free; there's meetings that you can go to. For me, I just try to put out positivity. I try to be there for the people I can be there for. I try to show that you can be in social situations where people are drinking, and you can still abstain, and it's okay. Some people may not think you're the life of the party anymore, but that's gonna happen. We would rather have our peers and our friends and our acquaintances around and not be the life of the party than be dead or in jail or whatever. And that's, unfortunately, especially with alcohol, that's the outcome for a lot of people.
"There's this singer I heard — I wasn't too familiar with her music," Jasta continued. "I knew one song I had heard on the radio when my daughter was a little, but I was talking about how she had passed away. Her name was Amy Winehouse. And there's a documentary [about her life and eventual death]. And I said, 'If we could turn back time, people would say, 'Don't go on tour. Don't be in these situations. Go get help.'' And it's hard, because the machines are always rolling.
"I really commend James for postponing the dates that he needed to postpone and for getting his help and continuing to show that, 'Look, it's not the destination; it's the journey,'" Jamey added. "You can have these slip-ups. You can have these times where you have to stop. You need that support, you need people rallying behind you. And so that's why I spoke about it publicly.
"When I was [hosting the MTV program] 'Headbangers Ball', I never thought I could take a plane five hours across the country, shoot a show, then take another plane back, play my show, go back on tour. I never thought I could do that without booze. But seeing James do his travel and his schedule and be at such a higher level and be able to do it sober was a real inspiration for me. So, I commend him and anybody trying to get help, doing their best to not drink, stay strong, stay at it. And it does get better with time. And you'll be better because of it."
The 56-year-old Hetfield has been open about his addiction and alcoholism. His struggles were detailed in the 2004 documentary "Some Kind Of Monster".
A couple of years ago, Hetfield said "fear was a big motivator" in inspiring him to get clean. At that time, he said he was sober for 15 years.