Metallica Frontman James Hetfield’s Roadie Gives New Interview
It’s been widely reported that Metallica singer James Hetfield recently checked into rehab, and last week his longtime guitar tech Chad Z discussed first being hired by Hetfield when the band went out on tour to support their 2003 album St. Anger. It was around this time that James returned from rehab and Chad claimed James was sober when he was hired and he discussed some of the conversations he had with Hetfield in the past about the importance of sobriety. Chad Z didn’t go into detail about what is going on with Hetfield’s most recent stint in rehab. Check out the back and forth below!
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Metal Up Your Podcast: This is sort of when St. Anger is getting done, and he had come back from rehab, so yeah, he’s made some big changes, and he wants to connect with who he is going to work with.
Chad Z: Exactly, so he wanted to make sure he had somebody he could trust, and wasn’t going to let him down.
Metal Up Your Podcast: (Laughs) So how long did it take you to get off all the drugs you were on so you could get the gig?
Chad Z: (Laughs) I had already sort of been through my rough phase a number of years before that, so I was doing okay at that point.
Metal Up Your Podcast: I feel like, you had already been a road dog at this point, and I’m coming up on 20 years on the road, and you see the people who fall by who can’t figure out how to get well and get healthy, and it’s just not a long game you can play unless you’re willing to tighten up in that area.
Chad Z: Exactly, that’s why it’s not the big party backstage that you think it is, it is a professional job. You can’t do it and last.
Metal Up Your Podcast: One of the best things I ever did was on a two week run, I brought my wife out on the bus, and I think she just thought it was a party, and she was able to see how boring it is, and how you are just sitting around with a bunch of dudes in a really tight space all of the time. When I would go out on tour, she would always look at it a little more realistically after that, it was good.
Chad Z: James asked me how I dealt with the stress of being out on the road, that was important to him. I ended up getting sober myself a number of years after being hired, but that’s a whole other chapter.