Metallica’s James Hetfield sold his motorbike for health reasons

James Hetfield with motorcycle
Bike fan: Hetfield in 2003 (Image credit: Getty)

James Hetfield has revealed he stopped riding motorcycles last year in a bid to minimise risks to his health.

The Metallica frontman isn’t the only member of the band to have considered the challenges of continuing to perform at full power as they approach their mid-50s.

Drummer Lars Ulrich recently said the band could continue for 100 years if it was just a question of mental ability – but that they knew the time would come to retire for physical reasons.

Asked about his bike collection, Hetfield tells Jeff Woods Radio: “I sold the one I ride. I’ve got a few customs and things that were built for me, or I helped build. I love that part.

“I had my daily rider and I sold it last year. I just thought, ‘It’s not me, it’s the other guy. Somethings gonna happen, and I want to be healthy, have all my stuff work.’

“I want grandkids to show up, I want to have some fun with them.”

The frontman takes his role as a father seriously – but he’s made sure his kids take his job seriously as well. “I think it’s important that they understand what I do,” he says.

“It’s not just, ‘Dad sits around on the couch and plays guitar.’ There’s hard work that goes into it. It’s important that they see that hard work.

“They see me after a show coughing up a lung or something, or just beat. But they see the joy that I get out of it.”

And he reflects that, on balance, he has a better chance of dealing with any health issues than his bandmates. “Catching on fire, broken arms… I’ve got job security,” he argues.

“I sing and play. My throat goes out I can always play. I break my arm, I get to sing. I’m set!”

Metallica released 10th album Hardwired… To Self-Destruct last month. They appeared on US TV show Jimmy Kimmel Live this week, where they discussed how their kids don’t care too much about their dads’ careers – with guitarist Kirk Hammett revealing that his children thought his instrument was “boring.”

The band played a small club show in Hollywood last night (December 15) and appear in Oakland’s Fox Theater tomorrow. They commence their WorldWired global tour in earnest next month, with more dates to be announced in due course.

Metallica tour dates 2016-17 so far

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

Lars Ulrich: I hope Metallica will know when to walk away

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.