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LISTEN: James Hetfield on Metallica's early days, recording Hardwired & UK tour plans

To celebrate the release of Metallica’s phenomenal new album ‘Hardwired… To Self-Destruct’, James Hetfield appeared on Planet Rock this morning for a wide-ranging chat with Paul Anthony.

Articulate and engaging as ever, James spoke candidly about Metallica’s early days including how influential British imprint Music for Nations helped them along the way together with how tragedies and triumphs have sculpted the Metallica “family” into the band they are today.

After 35 years in the business, James quipped to Paul: “We’re boys trapped in men’s bodies. The music keeps us young.”

James also reflected on the recording process of ‘Hardwired… To Self-Destruct’ and joked that with the eight-year wait “we just wanted to torture people, as well as ourselves.”

Admitting that Kirk Hammett wasn’t present in the studio as he was busy “dealing with life”, James said that the recording process inside Metallica HQ unconventionally relied on Lars Ulrich cherry-picking the best riffs.

“Lars and I, steering the ship as usual, going through the riffs, creating the songs,” James explained. “I got to do a lot of guitar stuff that I was missing around Death Magnetic and St Anger - some of the guitar harmony guitar things, harmony vocals; a little more layering like the Black Album.”

When Paul asked James whether any UK shows are in the pipeline, James confirmed: “Oh, for sure. We’ve got at least the next year and a half lined up for the… WorldWired Tour so we’re planning on being out for quite a while.

“At our age – 53 – our mind, body and spirit can only do so much so we’re gonna pace ourselves so we can be 110% (at) every show. Two weeks at a time, day on, day off – that’s what it takes for us to feel good and running on all cylinders. So we’ll be out for a long time.”

Enthusing about performing live, James said: “We love the touring, we love performing live. The two hours on stage makes the other 22 worth it for sure.

“I have the joy of getting to watch the fans, that’s what I love doing. I get up there and I see how music changes people, you know they show up and they’re a little stiff and they’re worrying about crap but at the end of the night they’re loose and having fun.

“The Vans gig (tonight), a nice and tight little area – we love small gigs as well, it’s always fun to get in people’s faces and to see people’s faces is a joy.”

You can listen to James’ full interview below where he also opens up about the ambitious project of releasing a video for every ‘Hardwired…’ track, exactly what Metallica have been up for the past eight years and also his encounter with Paul at Monsters of Rock in 1987!

Boasting the blistering anthems ‘Hardwired’, ‘Moth Into Flame’ and ‘Atlas, Rise!’, Metallica’s tenth studio album ‘Hardwired… to Self-Destruct’ is out right now.

The band will also be live streaming their ultra-intimate show at the 850-capacity London House of Vans tonight from 9pm (GMT).

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