James Hetfield: Metallica thrive off the fear of the unknown

James Hetfield at the Petersen Automative Museum
James Hetfield at the Petersen Automative Museum (Image credit: Michael Tullberg - Getty)

James Hetfield returned to public life last week (opens in new tab) after his stint in rehab when he attended the opening reception of his Reclaimed Rust: The James Hetfield Collection exhibition.

The Metallica vocalist and guitarist has lent the Petersen Automative Museum in Los Angeles 10 of his cars, along with a range of memorabilia.

At the event, Hetfield took to the stage for an interview in front of an audience and was asked what Metallica’s plans were for a new album – which will be the follow-up to 2016’s Hardwired… To Self-Destruct (opens in new tab).

He replied: “That's a great question. We do not know. Right now, I'm sitting in Petersen Museum, and I don't know what's going to happen next! That's the beauty of this. We'll sit down and figure out what works best for us. 

“Whatever is coming up, we don't know. And we kind of thrive off of the fear of the unknown a bit, and being scared just enough to feel alive."

The Reclaimed Rust: The James Hetfield Collection is on now and will run through November 1.

Among the exhibits at the museum are Hetfield’s 1948 Jaguar ‘Black Pearl’ and his 1937 Lincoln Zephyr ‘Voodoo Priest’. The cars will be on display in the Bruce Meyer Family Gallery along with a selection of Metallica items and memorabilia, which includes his ESP Snow White Snakebyte guitar and the ESP Vulture in Black Satin.

Hetfield will rejoin his Metallica bandmates later this year for a series of US festival appearances, which will see there group perform two headline sets at each event.

Scott Munro
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent more than 30 years in newspapers and magazines as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. After initially joining our news desk in the summer of 2014, he moved to the e-commerce team full-time in 2020. He maintains Louder’s buyer’s guides, scouts out the best deals for music fans and reviews headphones, speakers, books and more. He's written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog and has previous written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to video games, travel and whisky. Scott grew up listening to rock and prog, cutting his teeth on bands such as Marillion and Magnum before his focus shifted to alternative and post-punk in the late 80s. His favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Ned's Atomic Dustbin and Drab Majesty, but he also still has a deep love of Rush.