“I’ve been writing lots of music” – Metallica frontman James Hetfield shares some news

Author Benedetta Baldin - 23.5.2024

In the latest episode of the weekly Metallica Report podcast, James Hetfield revealed that he has been writing new music during his downtime between tours. Metallica‘s most recent concert was held last December, and the band is now preparing for another series of performances this spring and summer. Over the past few months, Hetfield has kept himself busy not only with music but also by enjoying some skiing, taking advantage of the “tons of snow” in his home state of Colorado.

The time off has been pretty fantastic and, at the same time, I miss playing with the guys. And I let them know, ‘Man, I miss jamming with you guys.’ We’ve done a few things here and there. The Elton John thing was so fantastic. I had a blast there. Elton, what a beautiful soul. [I’ve been] Writing lots of music, playing guitar pretty much every day. I have to. It’s like breathing.

When he is asked about his idea machine, Hetfield replies:

I am so grateful it doesn’t shut off. I have a little music room basement that I spend a lot of time in. It’s outfitted with a computer, a few guitars and a little rig setup, affording me my soul-nourishing place to go in there and just play and write. Not too much practising, it’s just writing.

But he still has an open mind to other influences.

I get inspired from all kinds of different music, listening to it. Even the Elton John thing — hanging out with Elton and Bernie Taupin challenged me. Watching [them play] ‘Rocket Man’ and seeing how they wrote… Elton is just such a visionary in a way that Bernie sets a set of lyrics — a poem — in front of him and he sees the music just appearing which is bizarre to me.

This is different to how he writes songs, which is more rooted in Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi’s approach, building everything around the riff.