METALLICA's JAMES HETFIELD: Validation From Fans Is 'Like The Most Amazing Drug I've Ever Taken'

February 5, 2015

In the three-minute video below, METALLICA frontman James Hetfield talks about how he has been seeking validation his whole life — both from his family and the band's fans. James goes on to explain that while validation is powerful, it's the unconditional love from his family that is sometimes the only validation he needs.

Hetfield says: "I've gone through horrible stuff. And with the survival techniques that I've had, learned as a kid, they worked then, [but] they don't work anymore. I've got new tools, I've got new hope, new love, new respect for myself, and I get the validation."

He continues: "That's been another interesting thing in my life. You know, growing up the shyest kid on the block, and being handed this — I guess — a gift of music, and also seeking validation… I've been seeking validation my whole life, and looking for it everywhere. I wanna people please. I want you to like me. I do. But I'm gonna go out of my way and entertain you into liking me. So seeking validation from the fans. That's like the most amazing drug I've ever taken, and it can really fuck me up."

Hetfield adds: "I can sit and say a message of my story, my recovery [and] my struggle, and I have done that in lyrics, and then when I get up onto the stage, there's people out there that like what we do — the band METALLICA — or like the lyrics that I've been writing, because they share that. But, you know, there's times when I struggle with validation. I get up on stage and think, 'I'm the shit. I feel good, 'cause I am King Shit here.' And then I go home, off the road, and I don't have that, and I'm just me. I'm just dad. I'm just a husband, and there's a pile of dishes waiting right over there. And [I'm like] 'Don't you know who I am?' It's, like, 'Yeah. You're my husband. Get over there and do the dishes.' 'You're my dad. Drive me to school.' That can be the toughest validation to get from my family at times. And I don't have to do anything but just be… just be and be there. That's unconditional love."

Also available below is a previously released clip of Hetfield talking about growing up with and overcoming his fear of responsibility and how that has played a part in his recovery from drug addiction. Hetfield also shared his views on what it means to be a role model and what he tells young people when they ask him for advice.

The Hetfield videos were produced by Road Recovery, an organization dedicated to helping young people battle addiction and other adversities, in partnership with Hooplaha.

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