MetallicaTim Saccenti

James Hetfield On Metallica’s Musical Ability: “I Know Individually We’re All Really Average Players…”


Metallica vocalist/guitarist James Hetfield apparently holds a rather humble view of the musical ability of both himself and his bandmates. Despite helping define and popularize thrash metal amid their vaunted 80s run — not too mention the runaway success that has persisted since— Hetfield isn’t about to boast about his or his band’s chops.

Per a recently published interview in Cigar Afficionado, Hetfield was quoted as saying:

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“I know individually we’re all really average players, but when you put us together something happens. Something really happens…. Getting up and jamming with people is like a nightmare for me.”

As for the latter comment, Hetfield attributed it part to anxiety, offering:

“Early shows were really difficult, I was so shy. [I] didn’t want to talk. I’d have the other guys in the band introduce the songs. [Now] I feel so comfortable up there, it’s so weird. Sitting down one-on-one with someone is a lot more anxiety ridden than standing up in front of 10,000 people, 20,000 people.”

Hetfield‘s former bandmate, Megadeth vocalist/guitarist Dave Mustaine, somewhat recently spoke of Hetfield‘s issues with anxiety onstage back in the day. He told Guitar World:

“…Early on, James was terrified to talk to the crowd, and I would look at him and say, ‘Talk, man. Get up there and fucking talk,’ but James didn’t do it; he stayed in the background, and he’s the fucking singer.”

“So, I… went up to the mic and started talking. That’s how it was until I left; James only started talking to the audience after I left; he had no choice. You can hear it on the tapes from the shows we did in San Francisco at the Waldorf and the Stone; I did all the talking.”

And most of what I said on stage was things James would then copy after I left…”

You’ll next be able to hear the ‘average’ playing of Metallica on their eleventh studio album “72 Seasons“, due out April 14th.

[via Far out]

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