Metallica’s James Hetfield reveals recurring anxiety dreams about performing

For the last 40 years, Metallica singer James Hetfield has relentlessly toured the globe, and being on-stage should feel like his natural habitat by now. However, the thought of playing a show still occasionally haunts his dreams.

Unlike the days when Metallica began their journey, when there was no pressure attached to their performances, they now play to stadiums full of people expecting to witness a spectacle. Although Hetfield has been able to meet this demand for decades, his subconsciousness prevents him from taking his foot off the pedal.

Currently, Metallica are trotting round Europe with headline shows lined up in Finland, Norway, Spain, France and Poland in June and July before they return for the North America leg of the tour later this summer.

Speaking on a recent episode of The Metallica Report, Hetfield revealed the full extend of his “nightmares” which occur before Metallica take to the road. The most common one is that he’s “the only one who cares about what we’re doing here”, or “there’s 200 people backstage” which sends everything into chaos.

Other worries that frighten him include “the guitar neck is made of rubber and there are only two strings on it,” which would be a haunting ordeal for any guitarist, let alone somebody playing in-front of 50,000 pairs of eyes.

Hetfield continued: “And, ‘Where’s my roadie?’, and the guitar cord won’t let me get to the microphone. Silly stuff like that.”

Due to the sheer scale of their ongoing M72 tour, a million different aspects of the show could feasibly go wrong, which only enhanced the fears of Hetfield, who recalled, “The anxiety level was off the charts at the beginning of the M72 tour. Like, how are we going to cover this stage? And, of course, my ego saying, ‘Well, the other guys don’t have to sing. They don’t have to run over there, they don’t have to do all this. Ah, no one knows the woes I have and all the worries…’”

Thankfully, upon sharing his worries with the rest of the band, his fears were squashed, and they put his mind at peace. “We know what we’re up against. And we know what shape we need to be in. And now, it’s just fun. We’ve broken that stage in, it’s well-trodden on, and it’s worked fantastically,” Hetfield said of the ambitious tour so far.

Meanwhile, in the same episode, Hetfield also expressed his love for the late Mötorhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister, who he believes should posthumously be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Notably, Hetfield recently got a tattoo of the Iron Cross on his middle finger, with ink that had been mixed with the ashes of the Motörhead singer. Discussing the ink work, he said, “And for me paying respects to him in lieu of him being in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which still continues to piss me off”.

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