METALLICA frontman James Hetfield recently spoke to Rolling Stone magazine about touring and post-rehab life.
Rolling Stone: Do you feel different on the road now?
James Hetfield: Totally — also scared that maybe this environment is not the best thing for me anymore. But the music's the main thing, instead of drinking and strip clubs [laughs]. And doing five shows a week for three months straight — that's not going to happen anymore. If my throat was hurtin' and I couldn't perform my best, I would resent the others. I couldn't tell them, "Hey, this is too much." I'd look like the wimp.
Rolling Stone: Indestructibility is a big part of your aura.
James Hetfield: I struggle with the intimidation factor: "He's unapproachable. He might explode at any point." I learned that from my dad. You never knew what was going on inside. It's a great tool — to not have to talk with anyone or let them in on the craziness in my head. Because there's no way they would like me once they heard what I had in there. But after you get it out and diffuse your fears, you feel more comfortable.
Rolling Stone: Describe your post-"Monster" friendship with Lars [Ulrich].
James Hetfield: It's not like we've laid down the weapons. We're both driven and can be very childish about it. We have control issues: I want to drive. He wants to drive. And there's only one steering wheel most of the time.
Rolling Stone: Would you recommend group therapy to other bands?
James Hetfield: Two hours of session before going in to jam every day — when METALLICA do something, we do it all the way. I would recommend it for other bands if they think it would help. But if you think, "I don't need that crap," then you probably do.
Rolling Stone: Did you ever see the final bill?
James Hetfield: The final bill? [Laughs] It was up there.