By Dean Goodman
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Metallica frontman James Hetfield
fought back tears on Friday as he recounted his public battle
with addiction, and labeled the sex, drugs and rock’ n’ roll
ethos as a “horrible myth.”
The 42-year-old singer/guitarist was being honored at a
Hollywood fundraiser for the MusiCares MAP Fund, which provides
access to addiction recovery for members of the music
The event, which also honored concert promoter Bill Silva,
culminated in a three-song set by Hetfield and Metallica
bassist Robert Trujillo, along with Alice in Chains guitarist
Jerry Cantrell and drummer Sean Kinney. They dusted off the
Alice in Chains songs “Would?” and “Them Bones,” and finished
with the Metallica ballad “Nothing Else Matters.”
Other performers included Tom Waits, Velvet Revolver, Jason
Mraz and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.
Guests included Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne, Motorhead
frontman Lemmy, Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich and guitarist
Kirk Hammett, and Red Hot Chili Peppers singer Anthony Kiedis.
They reclined on couches scattered throughout the Music Box @
Fonda and imbibed alcohol-free refreshments, thus avoiding the
risk of any public relapses.
Hetfield began his speech asking for a moment of silence
“for the people who didn’t make it, that aren’t with us, who
could be and I think should be.”
He recounted the old saw that “dying is easy, living is
hard,” and offered his own recovery as proof that addiction is
Five years ago, things were different, he recalled,
expressing gratitude to the award-winning documentary “Some
Kind of Monster,” which depicted Metallica’s virtual
dissolution as Hetfield began a lengthy rehabilitation to treat
drug and alcohol abuse.
“I think that movie helped some people, and it took the
black veil away, it took the mystique and the mystery out of
the rock myth ‘sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll,”‘ he said.
“What a horrible statement, to me. It is a myth. And to
have those things attached to music, which is the best drug in
the whole f—–‘ world, moves me like no other. And I thank
God that I discovered that gift early on.”
He alluded to his constant daily struggle, connecting with
real emotions such as fear and love.
He also paid tribute to his bandmates and producer Bob Rock
for saving his life daily, as well as wife Francesca and their
three children, 7-year-old daughter Cali, 5-year-old son
Castor, and especially 4-year-old daughter Marcella, whom he
tearfully described as the glue that kept the family together
during his darkest days.
Other performers chimed in with bons mots during the
evening. Waits congratulated Hetfield, saying “getting sober’s
not for sissies.”
And Velvet Revolver singer Scott Weiland dedicated the
band’s acoustic cover of Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” to
“everyone from Gram Parsons to Kurt Cobain.”
The event raised about $300,000 for MAP MusiCares, which is
part of the National Academy of Recordings Arts and Sciences,
the group that organizes the Grammy Awards.