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Hetfield’s fight for validation

Metallica frontman struggles with being “King Shit” on stage - then being husband and dad at home

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.

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