Metallica Gets Real About James Hetfield's Rehab: 'It Was Very Emotional for All of Us'

Band members find strength through tough times

August 21, 2020

Metallica has endured much uncertainty near the turn of this decade.
While producing a mult-platform, lead singer James Hetfield battled with addiction and returned to rehab. The group shared details from this difficult period in a recent interview with Metal Hammer.

“We really didn’t see it coming,” said bassist Robert Trujillo. “James seemed like he was fine, but then you look back and you try to analyze the situation over time and see where there were red flags.”

Last fall, the group was set to appear at various concerts and festivals until Hetfield decided to enter rehab, struggling to cope with addiction issues. Metallica immediately rescheduled all their shows.

Performing together for nearly 30 years, the group’s relationship worked from a solid foundation of trust and empathy. "These guys have been in my life longer than anybody else other than my parents," drummer Lars Ulrich told the publication. “We know what the MO is. As you see your brothers, your friends, your partners go through ups and downs for decades, you know what the process becomes.”

New music is just around the corner for Metallica. A multi-format release capturing 2019’s “S&M2” concerts with the San Francisco Symphony are set to release August 28. It’s all part of celebrating the 20th anniversary of the band’s iconic live album S&M. The group canceled their 2019 tour dates due to Hetfield’s rehab and safety concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic.

That’ll be followed by the group’s first show of 2020, featuring a drive-in only audience hosted by theaters across the U.S. and Canada.

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