JAMES HETFIELD Had Terrible Anxiety Leading Up To METALLICA’s Current Tour

Metallica’s James Hetfield might be a legendary guitarist onstage, but he’s as human as the rest of us. For millions of fans, Metallica’s live shows are all about raw energy and flawless performance. However, in a recent interview with The Metallica Report, Hetfield revealed that he struggles with self-doubt, recurring nightmares, and stage fright before tours, including the current one.

“I start to doubt myself,” Hetfield confessed. “We’re old, we can’t do this — all that bullshit everyone tells themselves before they go into something they care about.” He even described having dreams about showing up to a deserted venue with a malfunctioning guitar – the stuff of any musician’s worst fears.

“I have nightmares about being the only one who cares about what we’re doing. ‘Where is everybody?’ I show up at the gig, and everyone’s goofing off, or there are 200 people backstage. I’m thinking, ‘Where’s my stuff? Where’s the setlist? What songs are we doing?’ And then, typical things like the guitar neck is made of rubber, there are only two strings, and ‘Where’s my roadie?’ The guitar cord won’t let me get to the microphone. Silly stuff like that. But I don’t freak out over it. All you do is practice, and that confidence comes back pretty quickly.”

Despite these anxieties, Hetfield has learned to manage them. “It’s part of the cycle; it just is,” he explained. “You have anxiety build up, and don’t let it get the best of you because you have that balance of anxiety and faith. As soon as you get up there, it’s all gonna be good.”

Metallica’s M72 World Tour recently kicked off in Germany after a break. While Hetfield feels confident now, he recalled the initial fear of tackling the massive custom-designed stage they built for the tour – which he helped design.

“The anxiety level was off the charts at the beginning of the M72 Tour. Like, how are we going to cover this stage? And, of course, my ego saying, ‘Well, the other guys don’t have to sing. They don’t have to run over there, they don’t have to do all this. Ah, no one knows the woes I have and all the worries…'”

“But as soon as I share them with the other guys, they’re like, ‘Yeah, but I got this, and I got that.’ It’s like, ‘Oh, okay. I want mine back [laughs].’ So, it’s known. We know what we’re up against. We know what shape we need to be in. And now, it’s just fun. We’ve broken that stage in, it’s well-trodden on, and it’s worked fantastically. So, we just get to step back into it and do what we do best.”

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