During Metallica’s 35 years as a band, they’ve sold millions of records, played thousands of gigs and become metal’s biggest act.
But guitarist James Hetfield says that, despite the success and adulation, he and the guys still have some insecurities.
“We’re literally afraid to jam with certain people, ’cause we think we’re not worthy enough,” he tells Metal Talks. “We’re not great musicians.”
The subject came up as Hetfield was discussing Metallica’s recent jam with Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon and the Roots, a fun skit in which the two bands and Fallon performed Metallica’s 1991 hit “Enter Sandman” on children’s toy instruments. Hetfield said that despite the lighthearted nature of the attempt, he and his band mates were uptight.
“The Jimmy Fallon thing is one of those things that showed up in our lap, and we had a blast doing that. You have to have humor. You’ve got to laugh at yourselves. You’ve got to not take yourself so seriously all the time. Stuff like that is just fun and it lightens your heart.
But, he said, “It humbles you as well. We’re literally afraid to jam with certain people, ’cause we think we’re not worthy enough. We’re not great musicians.
“Even with those little flutes and stuff, I was worried. I mean, Kirk was practicing the song on this little [melodica]. It’s like, ‘Dude, stop practicing it! Just go have fun, man! Go screw it up.’
“So there’s a freedom to fuck up in Metallica.”