James Hetfield on Metallica Fandom: ‘It Could Be Hard To Be a Metallica Fan’

James Hetfield: Tommy Holl, CC BY 3.0, Wikimedia Commons
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Over the last year, Metallica has been experiencing a major surge in popularity. While the thrash legends are already adored by metal and hard rock fans, the band has started to gain new fans in the form of younger kids just discovering Metallica’s music (with much thanks owed to Stranger Things).

At one point during a Kerrang! Radio interview with James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett, the interviewer mentions the following quote from Slipknot singer Corey Taylor, in regard to Metallica fandom (the following was transcribed by Revolver):

“For so long, they were our secret. They were ours. We worshipped them. It was a cult for a second.”

A little after this quote is brought up, the interviewer then brings up how a lot of young folks are just now discovering Metallica’s music (and mentions Stranger Things). The interviewer shares that she sees young kids who have never listened to rock before now discovering the genre through Metallica.

When the interviewer asks the Metallica members how they feel about this, Hetfield replies with the following:

“It is beautiful. It is so cool that, first of all, people are interested in that song [‘Master of Puppets’], which I still can’t believe. But to have a connection with a younger audience … it takes me back to hearing ‘Purple Haze’ for the first time on my brother’s stereo. It’s like, ‘What is that?’ This whole new world opened up.

“So I get it, and I relate to it. And I love that you relayed that Corey message. It could be hard to be a Metallica fan. If you see this big ‘M’ everywhere and it’s like, ‘Oh my god, everyone likes them now.’ And I get it. I want to have something that no one else has.

“But I think what I’m trying to say is there’s a connection between us and an individual fan deep down that no one else might have. So there’s a connection through the lyrics or just the feel. And yes, there’s a big brand and blah blah blah. I think there’s both, and I guess you choose which one you want to focus on more.”

It’s so incredibly cool to hear how welcoming Metallica are when it comes to their fans. Gatekeeping is bs and anyone should be allowed to enjoy the music they like; it doesn’t matter when someone discovers a band’s music, it just matters that the music brings them enjoyment. When we asked Judas Priest singer Rob Halford about gatekeeping in heavy metal, he had some really powerful words to say.

Interview: Rob Halford Talks Heavy Metal Gatekeeping + Could Judas Priest Be In Stranger Things Season 5?

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