Mike Rowe apologises after mistaking James Hetfield for Lars Ulrich

Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield
Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield (Image credit: Getty)

TV host Mike Rowe has apologised to Metallica’s James Hetfield after mistaking him for drummer Lars Ulrich.

The broadcaster was dining outside when Hetfield approached him to praise his work on skilled trade shows such as Deadliest Catch, Dirty Jobs and Somebody’s Gotta Do It.

Rowe admits that he initially failed to recognise the singer after he humbly said he played in a “local rock band” and, upon discovering that he was in Metallica, then mistook Hetfield for his drummer bandmate, Ulrich.

In his Facebook post, Rowe says he’s usually good at remembering people’s names – but blames his social faux pas on drinking mimosas in warm weather and failing to control his excited dog during the “botched encounter.”

He says: “Thank you for being so gracious and saying such kind things about my foundation. I was very flattered. I also wish to apologise - not just for failing to recognise you - but for not recognising you in front of your charming niece from Buenos Aires.

“It must have been very strange for her to watch her uncle - one of the greatest singers in the history of rock and roll - introduce himself to a guy with a psychopathic dog and no idea who he was. And it must have been especially gratifying for you, when I tried to recover by calling you Lars Ulrich - the first named that popped into my head when my synapses started firing off bad information.

“For what it’s worth, I know that Metallica consists of several people who aren’t Lars Ulrich, but earlier this week, someone told me Lars lived in the neighbourhood, so his was the name that shot into my head when I finally realised I was talking to the lead singer of Metallica. Point is, I knew you weren’t Lars before I called you Lars, but I called you Lars anyway - which brings me back to the aforementioned idiocy, and my own slow unraveling.”

He promised he’ll remember his name the next time they meet, adding: “Anyway, thanks James, for saying hello, and for writing songs that used to make my workouts fly by. And for being Record Store Ambassadors. Rock on.”

Metallica aim to release their 10th studio album this year.

Former TeamRock news desk member Christina joined our team in late 2015, and although her time working on online rock news was fairly brief, she made a huge impact by contributing close to 1500 stories. Christina also interviewed artists including Deftones frontman Chino Moreno and worked at the Download festival. In late 2016, Christina left rock journalism to pursue a career in current affairs. In 2021, she was named Local Weekly Feature Writer of the Year at the Scottish Press Awards.