Metallica's James Hetfield Admits He's Feeling Insecure, Gets Hug from Bandmates During Concert

The band was playing a previously postponed show in Brazil when Hetfield took a moment to address the crowd

Guitarist Kirk Hammett, drummer Lars Ulrich, frontman James Hetfield and bassist Robert Trujillo of Metallica perform at Allegiant Stadium on February 25, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Metallica. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty

Metallica frontman James Hetfield got real with the audience at a recent concert.

The heavy metal band took the stage in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, on May 12 — after the concert's original spring 2020 date was postponed numerous times due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the 16-song set, Hetfield, 58, took a moment to address the crowd about how he was feeling leading up to the show, according to a video posted to YouTube by Michele Fernanda.

"I gotta tell you, I wasn't feeling very good before I came out here," he said. "Feeling a little bit insecure, like I'm an old guy who can't play anymore. All this bulls--- that I tell myself in my head."

"So, I talked to these guys and they help me, as simple as that," Hetfield continued, motioning to his bandmates. "They gave me a hug and said, 'Hey, if you're struggling on stage, we've got your back.' I'll tell ya, It means the world to me."

In the video, Hetfield's bandmates — Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, and Robert Trujillo — then surround him and embrace him in a hug.

"And seeing you out there, I am not alone, I am not alone and neither are you," he said to the crowd.

James Hetfield of Metallica
James Hetfield of Metallica. Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

In September 2019, Metallica announced their tour of Australia and New Zealand would be postponed as Hetfield sought treatment following his relapse.

In a tweet signed, "A note from Lars, Kirk and Robert," Metallica shared that "James has been struggling with addiction on and off for many years."

"He has now, unfortunately, had to re-enter a treatment program to work on his recovery again," the band continued.

Over the years, Hetfield has been candid about his struggle with alcoholism. His alcohol abuse forced him to leave the band in 2001 while he worked to get sober in rehab.

Hetfield opened up about his journey during an interview on The Joe Rogan Experience, explaining that "Fear was a big motivator in that for me" when it came to getting clean.

"Losing my family, that was the thing that scared me so much, that was the bottom I hit, that my family is going to go away because of my behaviors that I brought home from the road. I got kicked out of my house by my wife, I was living on my own somewhere, I did not want that."

"What worked for me was seven weeks someplace, like basically tearing you down to bones, ripping your life apart, anything you thought about yourself or what it was, anything you thought you had, your family, your career, anything, gone."

"Strip you down to just, you're born. Here's how you were when you were born, you were okay, you were a good person, let's get back to that again, then they slowly rebuild you," Hetfield said.

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