Metallica’s James Hetfield Talks How He Deals With Pre-Tour Nightmares and Self-Doubt

In 1981, James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich joined forces to create the heavy metal band Metallica. Unknown to them at the time, the band would go on to be one of the most popular bands in the genre as it sold over 58 million albums in the United States alone. Having been part of the band since its inception, Hetfield knows the ins and outs of performing on stage and helming a massive tour. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t get nervous. The rocker recently details how he still gets nightmares before heading out on the road.

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Appearing on The Metallica Report, Hetfield decided to open up about how he continues to get nightmares as they head out on their European tour. “[T]he normal thing happens, where I start to doubt myself. I start to feel insecure – ‘Well, we’re old; we can’t do this; blah, blah, blah.’ All that bullshit everyone tells themselves before they go into something they care about.” Explaining what the nightmares consist of, he continued, “having the nightmares [where] I’m the only one who cares about what we’re doing here. … I show up at the gig, everyone’s goofing off. Where’s my stuff? Where’s the set list? The guitar neck is made of rubber and there’s only two strings on it – where’s my roadie? And the guitar cord won’t let me get to the microphone. Silly stuff like that.”

[RELATED: Metallica’s James Hetfield Reveals How Elton John and Bernie Taupin Challenged Him]

James Hetfield Shares His Dreams With Band

Although having any kind of nightmare can be daunting, Hetfield learned to cope with the dreams and understand where they come from. “That has to happen, and I don’t freak out over it… You have anxiety build up, and don’t let it get the best of you because you have that balance of anxiety and faith. And as soon as you get up there, it’s all gonna be good.”

Having spent decades with the band, Hetfield doesn’t hide his dream from his bandmates as he insisted, “As soon as I share them with the other guys, they’re like, ‘Yeah, but I got this, and I got that.’ It’s like, ‘Oh, okay. I want mine back!’”

 (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for ATLive)

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