Metallica’s James Hetfield Reveals Anxiety Struggles Before 2024 Tour: “We’re Old, We Can’t Do This”

James Hetfield, the iconic singer and guitarist of Metallica, has opened up about the anxiety he experienced before embarking on the band’s latest tour. The heavy metal giants, who have been performing across Europe since late May, have faced various challenges, including Hetfield’s personal battles with self-doubt and nightmarish premonitions.

Speaking candidly on a recent episode of the official podcast, The Metallica Report, Hetfield shared his internal struggles as he prepared to hit the road. “I start to doubt myself,” he 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.”

Hetfield delved deeper into his pre-tour anxieties, describing vivid nightmares that plagued him before the first show. “So, having the nightmares about how I’m the only one who cares about what we’re doing here: ‘Where is everybody?’” he recounted. “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?’”

He painted a surreal picture of these dreams, where typical performance fears took bizarre turns. “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.”

Despite these unsettling visions, Hetfield has learned to manage his anxieties through preparation and experience. “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,” he noted, emphasizing the importance of readiness and muscle memory.

Addressing how he maintains balance, Hetfield shared his philosophy on coping with anxiety. “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 launched their current tour in Munich, Germany, on May 24, braving adverse weather and technical issues, including a video tower being struck by lightning, to deliver a memorable performance. The band is set to continue their European tour with upcoming shows at the Olympic Stadium in Helsinki, Finland, on June 7 and 9. As they power through these challenges, Hetfield’s revelations offer a glimpse into the human side of rock legends, reminding fans of the dedication and resilience behind their electrifying performances.

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