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Metallica speaks on James Hetfield returning to rehab: "We really didn't see it coming"

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Samir Hussein/WireImage

Metallica members Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett and Robert Trujillo have opened up regarding frontman James Hetfield‘s return to rehab last year in a new interview with Metal Hammer.

“We really didn’t see it coming,” Trujillo says. “James seemed like he was fine, but then you look back and you try to analyze the situation over time and see where there were red flags.”

“Being on the road can be very challenging, and I would imagine for James, to get up there in front of all those people and have to be ‘on,'” he continues. “Meanwhile, your family’s not with you and all these things are going on, it builds up.”

In a statement last September, Metallica wrote, “As most of you probably know, our brother James has been struggling with addiction on and off for many years. He has now, unfortunately, had to re-enter a treatment program to work on his recovery again.”

“Whenever something happens to a band member like this, it’s so deeply unsettling,” Hammett now says. “It comes as a shock. You have to do a bit of scrambling just to cover some ground.”

“I’m an only child, so these guys have been in my life longer than anybody else other than my parents,” adds Ulrich. “We know what the MO is. As you see your brothers, your friends, your partners go through ups and downs for decades, you know what the process becomes.”

Metallica postponed a number of tour dates in late 2020 due to Hetfield returning to rehab, and the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t allowed them to yet return to the stage. However, they did film a new performance that will screen in drive-in theaters on August 29, which marks Hetfield’s first post-rehab Metallica concert.

By Josh Johnson
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