Following news that Metallica frontman James Hetfield had entered rehab for addiction, Lamb of God vocalist Randy Blythe and Hatebreed singer Jamey Jasta have spoken out on how Hetfield inspired their own personal journeys toward sobriety.
Jasta took to social media after the announcement that Metallica were postponing their New Zealand and Australian tour because Hetfield had re-entered rehab.
In the revealing post on Instagram and Facebook, Jasta said the example set by Hetfield was the reason he gave up drinking:
“No tour or album or mountain of obligations is worth diving back into the abyss of booze & drugs. Energy is real and if you’re going to put it out either online or in person I ask that you please put out positive energy for James. Sure there are people who can cut loose every so often & bounce back but for others, even 1 drink can lead to decisions that snowball into a destructive avalanche.
I’ve toured heavily for over 20+ years and would not have given up drinking if it wasn’t for James and the example he set.
I always said that booze was the ‘dark river’ that is always flowing and the current is too strong for me. I want to dive in, sometimes every day for weeks, but I don’t and I can’t.
Meeting James at MTV and speaking with him about my drinking problem was very eye opening because this is a guy who is in one of the biggest bands in the world with so much pressure on him and so much weight to carry and he really made me think if he could quit so could I.”
In a reply to Jasta’s post, Blythe shared an anecdote on how Hetfield “literally helped save [his] life” and inspired him to go sober while on tour with Metallica. In the comments section on Jasta’s Instagram, Blythe wrote:
“I got sober while we were on tour with METALLICA almost 9 years ago. The first day of that run, one of my crew guys came to me and said ‘Hey, Hetfield’s looking for you’- we had been touring with them in the States & Europe for over a year and I was just RAGING, especially in Europe, but inside I was MISERABLE. He knew I had been trying to quit drinking, it wasn’t working for me anymore, & it all came to an end in Australia.
A HUGE FACTOR in my willingness & ability to get sober while on f**king heavy metal tour was the fact that I had James & some of his crew who were also sober to talk to- I didn’t have to do it alone. James & crew babied me through my first month of sobriety out there on the road- it was a heavy trip. I couldn’t have done it without them.
When I saw the news about James, I hurt so bad inside for him, because he was there for me when I was in such bad shape- I know how dark it can get. But it was also a very strong reminder for me of what I am, & what waits for me if I f**k up & forget I am alcoholic.
If you’re an alcoholic, NO ONE IS IMMUNE, no matter how long you have been sober. James is in the right place right now, though, & as he has gone there of his own volition, it sounds like to me he wants sobriety back- and that is the key to it all, you have to want it. So my thoughts & prayers are with him- I love that dude. He literally helped SAVE MY LIFE.”
Hetfield’s struggles with addiction and alcoholism were transparent during the 2004 Metallica documentary Some Kind of Monster, around the time he first entered rehab. After staying sober for many years, the band announced on Friday that Hetfield had re-entered treatment for addiction.
(Read: 33 Years After His Death, The Legend of Metallica’s Cliff Burton Lives On)
While the band’s New Zealand and Australian dates are on hold, Metallica’s spring South America tour with Greta Van Fleet remains on schedule, kicking off April 15th in Santiago, Chile. Most recently, Metallica played a pair of “S&M2” shows earlier this month in San Francisco, where they appeared in fine form.