Metallica is undoubtedly one of the biggest metal bands on the planet, and James Hetfield has admitted that the fame he experienced as part of the group went to his head.
“Being up onstage is a fantasy world,” he said during an interview with The New Yorker, adding that he got carried away with the hype of being famous.
“Everyone is out there sprinkling you with wonderful dust. You start to believe it, and then you get home and you go, ‘Where’s my dust?’ Not so wonderful now, sitting here alone with two cats, taking the garbage out,” he said.
Hetfield said that the days between shows left his mind spinning and yearning to get back to the adrenaline rush of performing.
“My body is tired, but my mind is still going. What do I do with that? I just ask people in the crew, or friends, or my assistant, ‘Hey, can you just sit down and watch TV with me?’
“I believe the addiction to fame is a real thing. I’ve got my little recovery posse on the road to help me out. We’ll say a prayer before going onstage: ‘James, you’re a human being. You’re going to die. You’re here doing service. You’re doing the best you can.’ That is helpful for me,” he said.
When asked how to define the feeling he experiences on stage, Hetfield described it as “getting in the zone”.
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“There are many names for it. I call it getting in the zone. You’re not feeling shameful about past stuff, you’re not future-tripping in fear about what’s coming up next. You’re right there, and you’re doing exactly what you need to do.”
The musician said that the adrenaline rush of being on the road was a catalyst for his well-known battle with alcohol.
“I think everyone searches for that sense of presence. I searched for it in the wrong medicines for a long time. I just wanted to turn my head off. That worked until it didn’t work. Finding a new god that isn’t alcohol . . . yeah, that’s what I’m still workin’ on.”