In a new interview with the band’s fan-club magazine So What!, Hetfield also conceded that the pandemic has had a huge personal toll for thousands of people across the globe.
“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,” he explained.
“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.
“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 added: “When I’d come home and you know, I’d get a couple weeks at home, and Francesca, my wife, has got things planned out: ‘Here’s the friends we’re hanging with,’ and I’d just kinda jump right into that. It’d take a week to even say ‘hi,’ to even want to come off the couch and say ‘hi.’
“I’m noticing a lot more since I’ve been away from it and stepped back, big picture-wise, those transitions between road and home have been more difficult than I really had at first imagined.”
While coronavirus has forced the band to postpone the majority of their activity for 2020, they got together in August to play a show behind closed doors near their northern California headquarters, which was subsequently shown at drive-ins across the US.
Meanwhile, it was confirmed earlier this week that Metallica have donated £250,000 to aid wildfire relief efforts across California and the US West Coast.
The generous sum came via the band’s All Within My Hands foundation, which has gifted significant sums to a series of worthy causes since launching back in 2017.
The latest donation from the band comes after they gave $295,000 in coronavirus relief grants in July. It followed from the $350,000 pledged by the foundation to fight the disease in April.