Members of Metallica have opened up about frontman James Hetfield’s rehab experience in a new interview with Metal Hammer. According to Consequence of Sound, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett and Robert Trujillo stated that it came as a total surprise for them, with Trujillo saying “We really didn’t see it coming,” Trujillo said. “James seemed like he was fine, but then you look back and you try to analyze the situation over time and see where there were red flags. Being on the road can be very challenging, and I would imagine for James, to get up there in front of all those people and have to be ‘on’ — meanwhile, your family’s not with you and all these things are going on, it builds up.”
Hammett then added that it was a complete shock for the band and unsettling. “Whenever something happens to a band member like this, it’s so deeply unsettling. It comes as a shock. You have to do a bit of scrambling just to cover some ground.”
Ulrich also noted that it was a surprise for the band and were prepared once they got the news. “I’m an only child, so these guys have been in my life longer than anybody else other than my parents. We know what the MO is. As you see your brothers, your friends, your partners go through ups and downs for decades, you know what the process becomes.”
With the news of Hatfield entering rehab, the band had to cancel their festival appearances at the Sonic Temple Festival and Louder Than Life Festival. They were replaced with Red Hot Chili Peppers and Tool.
Hetfield then held his first interview earlier this year stating that he was unsure of when another Metallica album will come to fruition. He later had his first comeback performance with an acoustic version of Eddie Money’s “Baby Hold On” at the Saban Theater in Beverly Hills, California in tribute to the late singer. Hatfield is now back with Metallica and will be joining the band performing their first show of 2020 for Encore Drive-In Nights August 29 in North America. The performance will be shot, mixed and edited beforehand by Metallica’s production team. The band also mentioned a new album is in the works.
They have been working on a new album remotely via Zoom and email. “We’ve been obviously connecting [before that], but we [have now] connected creatively, and now we’re sort of in discovery mode, I think is a good way to say it. We are sending ideas to each other via email and via Zoom and [trying to] make music in these unusual situations” stated Ulrich in an interview with Swedish talk show host Fredrik Skavlan.
The band also unveiled a Vinyl Club subscription, which will release rare cuts, demos, rough mixes and live rarities for the first time on vinyl.
Photo Credit: Mauricio Alvarado