James Hetfield: How Amy Winehouse inspired Moth Into Flame

James Hetfield
Grounding: James Hetfield

James Hetfield has recalled how watching a documentary movie about Amy Winehouse inspired Metallica track Moth Into Flame.

It was one of the first songs to be released from their 10th album Hardwired… To Self-Destruct, which arrived last month.

He’s previously discussed how his lyrics deal with the wider concept of addiction, and not just to drugs.

Winehouse died after a drinking binge in 2011, at the age of 27, following years of struggling with mental illness and abuse of various substances.

Hetfield tells 102.1 The Edge: “Just watching that movie was extremely saddening – how her life went from such a lively joyous person, to someone who was just trying to escape the reality of where she was.

“It really hit me in the one part of the movie where she was lost in her mind, it seemed, and she was just leaving her flat in England.

“The press were just hanging out in front of her place all the time, snapping these pictures of her. ‘Hey, Amy, how’s it going?’ Talking to her like they know her.

“They just don’t notice – they wouldn’t say, ‘You look skinny, you look unhealthy.’ There was a total misconnection there with reality.”

The frontman adds that there’s also an influence from Metallica’s own experiences: “The fame part, and how that can really be a drug for some people. It certainly has been in our career.

“Growing up with it, how do you deal with fame? How does it affect you? At what point do you realise this might not be as healthy as I think it is for me?”

After dealing with his own addiction issues, Hetfield says he has a strong grounding network. “I’ve got a wife that kicks my ass, first of all. Kids that tell it like it is – ‘Dad, you’re being a jerk.’ I love that.

“The guys in the band, too, we all keep each other in check. Like, ‘Dude, is that limo a little too long?’ Just goofy things like that. We try and keep each other real.”

He lists another saving grace: “Not surrounding ourselves with yes-men too, which can really just distort your reality.”

Other people to have influence material on Hardwired… To Self-Destruct include late Motorhead icon Lemmy Kilmister and the band’s late bassist Cliff Burton. Metallica’s WorldWired tour is expected to continue for at least two years, with more dates to be confirmed in due course.

Metallica tour dates 2016-17 so far

Dec 15: Hollywood Fonda Theatre, CA
Dec 17: Oakland Fox Theater, CA
Jan 11: Seoul Gocheok Sky Dome, South Korea
Jan 18: Beijing Le Sports Centre, China
Jan 20: Hong Kong AsiaWorld-Expo, China
Jan 22: Singapore Indoor Stadium, Singapore
Feb 03: Copenhagen Royal Arena, Denmark
Feb 05: Copenhagen Royal Arena, Denmark
Feb 07: Copenhagen Royal Arena, Denmark
Feb 09: Copenhagen Royal Arena, Denmark
Mar 01: Mexico City Foro Sol, Mexico
Mar 03: Mexico City Foro Sol, Mexico
Mar 25: Sao Paulo Interlagos Racetrack, Brazil
Mar 31-Apr 01: Buenos Aires Hippodrome San Isidro, Argentina
Apr 01-02: Santiago Parque O’Higgins, Chile
May 19-21: Rock On The Range festival, OH

Dave Mustaine reviews Metallica’s Hardwired… To Self-Destruct

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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, a band he once managed, and the best-selling Apollo Memories 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.