James Hetfield recently recalled having a challenging time in Metallica in the early days while disclosing how he and his bandmates, individually, had no ‘great’ musical talent in a recent interview with Cigar Aficionado magazine.
The frontman could be really modest when it comes to making a few jokes about Metallica’s musical abilities, even not holding back from calling himself out for being an average player. However, he felt that when he and his buddies got together and started playing, that’s when ‘something’ magical happened, turning them into the metal legends they are today.
Still, no matter how great they might be together, this didn’t make things any easier for Hetfield, who struggled a lot as a frontman due to his shy nature. He recalled having his bandmates introduce the songs and interact with audiences in the early days. However, he’d learned to overcome his worries over time. And now, standing before thousands of people on stage felt easier than interacting with a single person.
James on being an average player and having difficult times on stage:
“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.
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.”
Although Metallica made millions by selling quality records, fascinating rock fans worldwide, and forming a notable reputation in the industry, Hetfield was modest enough to embrace his musical flaws and confess struggling in the early days of the act. Perhaps this shows how honest he could be about his career, not worrying about expressing his true feelings and beliefs.