Lars Ulrich reflected on Metallica frontman James Hetfield’s return to rehab in 2019 and said it was another example of the band’s “fragility.”

In a new interview with Metal Hammer, Ulrich and guitarist Kirk Hammett shared their thoughts on dealing with the event that knocked their plans off course, even before the coronavirus struck.

Asked about Hetfield’s decision to check in to a well-being facility, Ulrich responded by talking about the whole band. “I’m conscious of the fragility of it all the time,” he said. “I think we wear our human side proudly. I think we’ve always been pretty comfortable with sharing our vulnerabilities. I guess just showing our human side, being truthful, that’s always been part of Metallica, so the events of the fall of 2019 were a very organic and pure extension of that.”

Hammett added that he's "been in a situation where nothing’s going right for me, I just need to stop doing everything that I’m doing and check myself in.” Noting he hasn't had a drink in “five and a half years now,” he explained, "When someone needs help, I’m not one to judge, because I’ve been through it myself. I’ve been there big time, and you just have to help your fellow human being.”

Ulrich also discussed how the band dynamic has changed as they got older, comparing the way they work now to how they were depicted in the 2004 documentary Some Kind of Monster.

“As human beings get older, you become more respectful,” he said. “You understand the word ‘empathy,' all these types of things you would never catch yourself acknowledging when you’re 22 years old. … So, as you sit there in your 50s, it’s like, ‘I don’t need to go down to the studio and fucking battle.’ That’s not what I wanna do. I wanna connect with the rest of the guys in the band, I wanna push some ideas forward, and yeah, I enjoy that.”

 

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