METALLICA's JAMES HETFIELD: Success Of 'Hardwired' Album Is 'A Huge Surprise'

December 11, 2016

On November 30, METALLICA frontman James Hetfield sat down for a one-on-one interview with Josie Dye from the 102.1 The Edge radio station in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. You can now watch the chat below. A couple of excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).

On how watching the Amy Winehouse documentary "Amy" was one of the inspirations for "Moth Into Flame", the second single off METALLICA's new album, "Hardwired... To Self-Destruct":

Hetfield: "Well, just watching that movie was extremely saddening, and how her life went from just such a lively, joyous person to someone who was just trying to escape the reality of where she was. It really hit me in the one part of the movie where she was lost in her mind, it seemed, and she was just leaving her flat in England to go somewhere and the press were just hanging out in front of her place all the time, just snapping these pictures of her, 'Hey, Amy, how's it going? How's this?, talking to her like they know her and they just don't notice how… I mean, they wouldn't say, 'Gosh, you look skinny. You look unhealthy.' There was a total misconnection there with reality. And just noticing the fame part and how that can really be a drug for some people and it certainly has been for us in our career. But just growing up with it, and how do you deal with fame? What do you do with that? How does it affect you? And at what point do you realize that this might not be as healthy as I think it is for me?"

On how he stays grounded:

Hetfield: "Well, I've got a wife that kicks my ass, first of all. Kids that tell it like it is. That, to me, is love right there, when your kids [say to you], 'Dad, you're being a jerk.' You know? I love that; that's what helps me a lot. Family certainly does that. I think the guys in the band too; we all keep each other in check. Like, 'Dude, is that limo a little too long? C'mon!' Just goofy things like that. We try and keep each other real. I think not surrounding ourselves with 'yes' men too, which can really just totally distort your reality."

On whether he is able to go into his local store without being bothered:

Hetfield: "Oh, yeah, well, when I don't have my butler doing that, sure. Oh, gosh. Where we live, no one cares. [Editor's note: Hetfield and his family recently relocated to Colorado.] It's like, 'Oh, it's that dude again.' Or some people just don't even know, [and] I love that. I don't know… I think… It just really depends on where you are. If you are on tour somewhere and people are expecting you to be there and there's a different feel, but living at home, I think they get over it. They get over the, 'Ooh, you're the guy,' and then they realize, oh, you're just another dork. [Laughs]"

On the success of "Hardwired… To Self-Destruct":

Hetfield: "It's a huge surprise — it really is — 'cause, for us, this is just the next record. And, for some reason, the timing is right. People are needing or wanting this. And, I guess, song-wise, people are identifying with its older-school feel — more guitar harmoinies, things like that, and some of the stuff that I knew was missing from our music. So it's still a big surprise. When your record people send you an e-mail saying, 'Hey, you're No. 1 in all these countries?' And you're, like, 'What?' Does that mean we're gonna go play Uganda? What? The tour's gonna get longer.' [Laughs]"

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