James Hetfield revealed that having his world slow down in the wake of the pandemic hasn't been the worst thing for him personally. Blabbermouth reported that guitarist chatted with the official Metallica fan club magazine, So What!, and gave a peak into his live off the road at home in Colorado, explaining, “Well, COVID is certainly not welcomed. A pandemic is not welcomed. People are hurting. People are dying. There's lots of people struggling, really, really struggling with funds, wherever they're living, they can't afford things anymore. Lives are changing drastically. So I don't mean to sound cold about it, but for me personally, it's been really helpful to slow down, stop the work, stop the circus of what's going on with touring and band and all of that stuff, family struggles as well. So it's really good to have time to just be. To just be. Not have to have an agenda, but just to chill, to soak up life on life's terms, to plug into my community here in Colorado.”

Hetfield revealed that the extended time off forced him to break his usual routine of how he dealt with family life outside of the band: “That's definitely one thing that has been difficult for me to have (in the past) because of coming and going every few weeks, not really being able to plug into any commitments or say, 'Hey, let's do this once a week,' or get together and barbecue, have a cigar pit or whatever, those weekly things that people get to do. I was not able to do those and now I am. I've built a really cool community of friends, true, unconditionally loving friends, and I would not have had that if I didn't have this time.”

He went on to underline the importance of connecting with this bandmates with their weekly online meetings: “Sitting there doing our weekly Zoom call with the band, Lars (Ulrich) talking about being in his home in San Francisco and he's, y'know, not leaving. He's getting things delivered, and how he hasn't been in a grocery store in four or five months. That just blows my mind. I'm really fortunate here. I've got four or five buddies to come over, barbecue, we go shooting, we go camping, we go fishing, whatever. There's grocery stores, the Home Depot, all the normal stuff. Very grateful for that.”

Back in August, Metallica became the first rock band featured in the “Encore Drive-In Nights” series, which featured the band performing a full concert shown at hundreds of open-air drive-in theaters across North America. Hetfield went on to shed light on how he's been dealing with the break creatively — apart from the band's recent virtual gig: “I've been playing, writing kind of nonstop, and trying to slow down and trying to have the other guys present some stuff that they would like to play in Metallica. So getting back together with the guys was anxiety ridden. I mean, it really was. Getting on a plane, traveling. And then what we really had to do was make the least comfortable person comfortable with all of this COVID and testing and whatnot. . . I think we did a great job in that department. But getting back and playing was just scary. After almost a year. . . it's all the same stuff that's happened over the years, where we have nightmares before getting back together, and then as soon as we play, everything's fine. It's just that messed up creative mind that's the blessing and curse, y'know?”

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