Metallica’s James Hetfield Opens Up About Anxiety Ahead of 2024 Tour: “We’re Old, We Can’t Do This”

Published by Cel Manero from Global One Media, Inc.

James Hetfield, affectionately known as Papa Het, grappled with nightmares featuring empty stadiums and malfunctioning gear as he prepared to return to the road with Metallica last month.

Metallica’s lead vocalist and guitarist, James Hetfield, shared his experience of anxiety before embarking on the road with the heavy metal giants last month. Speaking on a recent episode of the official podcast The Metallica Report, Hetfield delved into his self-doubt fueled by concerns about his age and nightmares leading up to the tour.

“I start to doubt myself,” Hetfield admitted, as transcribed by Metal Injection. “[Thinking,] ‘We’re old, we can’t do this’ – all that bullshit everyone tells themselves before they go into something they care about.”

Continuing on the topic of his nightmares, Hetfield elaborated, “So, having the nightmares about how I’m the only one who cares about what we’re doing here: ‘Where is everybody?’”

“I show up at the gig, everyone’s goofing off, or there’s 200 people backstage and 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, and there are only two strings on it. And, ‘Where’s my roadie?’, and the guitar cord won’t let me get to the microphone. Silly stuff like that.

“That has to happen, and I don’t freak out over it. All you do is you practice, and then you build that comes back pretty quickly.”

Hetfield concluded by sharing his approach to managing his anxieties: “It’s part of the cycle; it just is. You have anxiety build up, and don’t let it get the best of ya because you have that balance of anxiety and faith. And as soon as you get up there, it’s all gonna be good.”

Metallica kicked off their current tour in Munich, Germany, on May 24, overcoming rainstorms and a video tower being struck by lightning to deliver their performance. The band’s upcoming shows will take place at the Olympic Stadium in Helsinki, Finland, on June 7 and 9.