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Hetfield’s fight for validation

James Hetfield has discussed his struggle with acting like “King Shit” on stage in front of thousands of fans – and balancing it with being a husband and father at home.

In December the Metallica frontman spoke on video about his lifelong fear of responsibility and how it’s caused problems in dealing with his addiction issues.

In a follow-up clip he tells Road Recovery: “I’ve been seeking validation my whole life. I want to people-please. I want you to like me. I’m going to go out of my way and entertain you into liking me.

“Seeking validation from the fans is like the most amazing drug I’ve ever taken – and it can really fuck me up.

“I get up on stage and I think, ‘I’m the shit. I feel good. I’m King Shit here.’ Then I go home, off the road, and I don’t have that. I’m just me; I’m just Dad. I’m just a husband, and there’s a pile of dishes waiting righter over there.

“I’m like, ‘Don’t you know who I am?’ It’s like, ‘Yeah, you’re my husband – get over there and do the dishes.’ ‘You’re my dad; drive to me school.’ That can be the toughest.”

But he adds: “I don’t have to do anything but just be. Just be, and be there. That’s unconditional love.”

Hetfield says he’s had to change his way of dealing with his issues as he gets older. “I’ve been through horrible stuff. The survival techniques I’ve had, learned as a kid, they worked then. They don’t work any more.

“I’ve got new tools, new hope, new love, new respect for myself – and I get the validation.”

Metallica headline this year’s Reading and Leeds festivals and they’re currently working on the follow-up to 2008 album Death Magnetic. The band are the cover stars of the latest edition of Metal Hammer, on sale now and also featuring Korn, Nightwish, Periphery, Falling In Reverse and more.

Martin Kielty

Not only is one-time online news editor Martin an established rock journalist and drummer, but he’s also penned several books on music history, including SAHB Story: The Tale of the Sensational Alex Harvey Band (opens in new tab), a band he once managed, and the best-selling Apollo Memories (opens in new tab) about the history of the legendary and infamous Glasgow Apollo. Martin has written for Classic Rock and Prog and at one time had written more articles for Louder than anyone else (we think he's second now). He’s appeared on TV and when not delving intro all things music, can be found travelling along the UK’s vast canal network.