METALLICA Frontman Talks Touring, Songwriting

Del Crookes of BBC's Newsbeat recently conducted an interview with METALLICA frontman James Hetfield. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

BBC: How's the current tour going?

Hetfield: We've only been out for a little over a year. We've got about one more year to go. It's the hump right here with one month over in Europe. We're obviously doing a lot of summer festivals, then heading back to the States. We've got South America to go. We've got more Europe. We've got Japan, some Asian things. We've got Australia and we'll see what happens after that.

BBC: Are British fans different to fans around the world or is there no difference?

Hetfield: There are differences and there are similarities in pretty much any fan on the planet. When I talk about fans, I notice the METALLICA fans more than others because I am in that band. So what I say is most of the time, the METALLICA fan is, I would say, the most dedicated of any fan because they have a lot that's thrown at them but they're able to handle it all.

And when they do go to a show, they're giving 110% just like we are. It's another level of fan. And depending on the culture where you are on the planet they're probably exerting themselves as much as they ever had even if it's standing and clapping in Japan, where they're very polite, or somewhere in Mexico City, where they're like rabid and tearing your hair out.

BBC: What's it like touring around Europe with lots of other metal bands? Do you get together after gigs or do you not see each other?

Hetfield: We do try to do as much as possible. Logistically things don't work out all the time, where we're not in the same hotel or we're flying to another gig and they're busing it, so we don't see them as often. But before the shows we're hanging, on days off we're hanging as much as possible.

Basically what we like to do is to get bands out with us that we vibe with, that we have a good time with. That's pretty important, to have a good spirit out there, backstage and on the stage, obviously bringing bands out there that the fans like but also ones that deliver the goods.

They're not just up there getting pelted and booed at by METALLICA fans. They're trying hard, they're trying really, really hard to win some people over and we love seeing that.

BBC: Do you write new material on the road or do you do it after you've finished touring?

Hetfield: It's both. It's like a waterfall. Sometimes it's happening, sometimes it's not. When we're on the road, sometimes the ideas are flowing, you can't really turn it off or turn it on. It's constantly flowing but at different levels. And most of it has to do with me.

If I'm in a good mood, I'm going to write something really great. Or if I'm in a bad mood I'm going to write something really great. Somewhere in the middle, I'll wait until one of those other emotions happens. Or if I get a really good guitar sound in the tuning room, that will spur on a great riff too.

Read the entire interview at


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