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Baroness’ Baizley recalls Hetfield hospital call

Singer/guitarist John says Metallica man’s pep talk after bus crash helped him on the road to recovery

John Baizley has recalled the moment he received a call from Metallica mainman James Hetfield following the bus smash that left the Baroness star in hospital with a severely injured arm.

In 2012, the band were heading south after a gig in Glasgow when their tour bus careened 30ft off the road near Bath. Nine people were injured and Baizley’s arm was so badly crushed that doctors considered amputation.

But a hospital call from Hetfield, who was in the bus crash which claimed the life of Metallica bassist Cliff Burton in 1986, gave Baizley hope that he’d make a full recovery.

Baizley tells Rolling Stone: “It was late at night in the trauma ward and most of the people I was in the room with were elderly, and they'd gone to bed early. 

“The nurse was an older lady, and she said, ‘Somebody just called you – a Jim Hatfield or John Hartfield, something like that. I told him I wasn't sure if you were awake or taking calls.’ I said, ‘I don't know anybody by either of those names, but I don't care if they're trying to sell me a dishwasher or life insurance – bring me the number, because I need somebody to talk to.’

“So she handed me the little slip of paper with James Hetfield's name and number on it. I called him up, and I had one of the most realistic and honest conversations that I had that week.”

He recalls that Hetfield gave him “very good advice” and adds: “Coming from Hetfield, who'd been through a tragic bus-related incident, and things that were more severe than what I went through, his words had a little bit of weight to them.”

Baizley adds: “When he said, ‘Don't worry, things will get better,’ I thought, ‘Well, if it got better for him, it will get better for me. And I had many other conversations that weren't with Metallica members, where people were telling me things I needed to hear, because I wasn't quite believing them myself at the time.”

Baroness named their upcoming album Purple after the crash, with Baizley saying: “The band suffered a gigantic bruise. It was an injury that prevented us from operating in a normal way for quite some time. Hopefully, this record is the springboard that helps us get away from all that.”

Their fourth album will be released on December 18 via the band’s Abrazan Hymns label.

Purple tracklist

  1. Morningstar
  2. Shock Me
  3. Try To Disappear
  4. Kerosene
  5. Fugue
  6. Chlorine & Wine
  7. The Iron Bell
  8. Desperation Burns
  9. If I Have To Wake Up (Would You Stop The Rain)
  10. Crossroads Of Infinity

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