James Hetfield once offered The Darkness' Justin Hawkins support during his alcohol issues

James Hetfield and Justin Hawkins
(Image credit: Neilson Barnard/David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)

The Darkness frontman Justin Hawkins has revealed that none other than Metallica's James Hetfield once offered him a subtle but welcome bit of support when the two bands toured together during the English rocker's more hellraising years.

Speaking on his regular YouTube show Justin Hawkins Rides Again, the singer/guitarist analyses last year's famous Miley Cyrus performance on the Howard Stern show, during which the pop megastar teamed up with Metallica for a new version of the metal titans' biggest ballad, Nothing Else Matters. Before Justin gets properly stuck into the performance, however, he has some warm words to share about heavy metal's biggest band.

"I love Metallica," he states proudly. "Let's just get that out there: Metallica's amazing. It's a rite of passage - if you haven't seen Metallica live, you must do so at some point in your lifetime. Those guys really kick arse, always have, I don't care what anybody says."

Justin then goes on to illustrate the kindness of Papa Het in recognising that he may have been burning the candles at both ends a little too hard during The Darkness' early days; the two bands shared bills in Dublin in 2003 and across Australia in early 2004.  

"We actually did a bit of touring with Metallica," Justin notes. "We played with them in Ireland and we played with them in Australia. And James Hetfield could recognise in me that I might have been struggling a little bit with certain behaviours [makes drinking motion]. He was really kind; he took me to one side and gave me his number and was like, If you ever need to talk to anybody...' Really supportive, and an excellent person."

As it turns out, Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich had a slightly different approach to the whole situation.

"Lars Ulrich was an excellent person but in the other way," Justin laughs. "He was somebody that encouraged me to party and partied with me, so happy days one and all!"

Justin's drink and drug issues would escalate and ultimately see him enter rehab in 2006, leaving The Darkness the same year before the band eventually reunited in 2011. 

Watch Justin get stuck into the Miley/Metallica performance below.

Merlin Alderslade
Executive Editor, Louder

Merlin moved into his role as Executive Editor of Louder in early 2022, following over ten years working at Metal Hammer. While there, he served as Online Editor and Deputy Editor, before being promoted to Editor in 2016. Before joining Metal Hammer, Merlin worked as Associate Editor at Terrorizer Magazine and has previously written for the likes of Classic Rock, Rock Sound, eFestivals and others. Across his career he has interviewed legends including Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy, Metallica, Iron Maiden (including getting a trip on Ed Force One courtesy of Bruce Dickinson), Guns N' Roses, KISS, Slipknot, System Of A Down and Meat Loaf. He is also probably responsible for 90% of all nu metal-related content making it onto the site.