Metallica's James Hetfield Returns To Rehab

By David Konow 09/30/19

The 56-year-old frontman's battle with addiction was chronicled in Metallica's 2004 documentary Some Kind Of Monster.

James Hetfield
ID 127143723 © Andre DurÃo |

Right before a planned tour of Australia and New Zealand, Metallica has announced that the band's frontman James Hetfield is making a return to rehab.

As the band explained in a statement on September 27, “We are truly sorry to inform our fans and friend that we must postpone our upcoming tour of Australia and New Zealand. As most of you probably know, our brother 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 that they “fully intend to make our way” down under “as soon as health and schedule permits… We appreciate your understanding and support for James and, as always, thank you for being a part of our Metallica family.”

Peers, Fans Show Their Support

Once the news hit, several musicians expressed their support for Hetfield, who first went into rehab in 2001. Former Guns N' Roses drummer Matt Sorum tweeted, “Sending my best to James Hetfield of @Metallica. Take care of yourself my friend. You are a human being like everyone else that has real struggles. The disease of alcoholism doesn’t discriminate. You are very strong to take the steps needed to be healthy and happy. The rest can wait.”

Jamey Jasta, lead singer of Hatebreed, revealed on Twitter that he “would not have given up drinking if it wasn’t for James and the example he set…I commend James for seeking help…I hope that all #Metallica fans affected by this understand that this is absolutely the best choice. Health is EVERYTHING. No tour or album or mountain of obligations is worth diving back into the abyss of booze & drugs.”

James Discusses First Rehab Stint

After he first got sober, Hetfield told Kerrang! “Going away to rehab taught me about priorities. I’ve been in Metallica since I was 19 years old, which can be a very unusual environment, and it’s very easy to find yourself not knowing how to live outside of that environment, which is what happened to me. I didn’t know anything about life… I didn’t know that I could live my life in a different way to how it was in the band, which was very excessive and very intense.”

Hetfield called rehab “like college for your head. I really learned some things about myself in there. I was able to reframe my life and not look at everything with a negative connotation. That’s how I was raised. It was like a survival technique for me."

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In addition to contributing for The Fix, David Konow has also written for Esquire, Deadline, LA Weekly, Village Voice, The Wrap, and many other publications and websites. He is also the author of the three decade history of heavy metal, Bang Your Head (Three Rivers Press), and the horror film history Reel Terror (St Martins Press). Find David on LinkedIn and Facebook.