Recently, James Hetfield made some intriguing discoveries during a conversation with SiriusXM. He talked about a metal legend he’s always admired and the friendly competition he has with bandmate Lars Ulrich. ’72 Seasons,’ the new album from Metallica, has already caused a stir in the music industry, and this interview was released shortly after.
Tony Iommi, the guitarist for Black Sabbath, has had a big impact on Hetfield. He is the benchmark against which Hetfield measures himself and the source of the zeal with which he approaches his music. Along with Iommi, Hetfield, and their bandmate, Ulrich have a friendly rivalry.
Hetfield’s admission that he is a “wanna-be drummer” at heart during the interview immediately brought a humorous element to his friendship with Ulrich, who has always wanted to be a vocalist and a guitarist. The two performers reportedly have a profound desire to fill one other’s shoes, which has spurred healthy rivalry and driven them to always improve.
Regarding Tony Iommi and Lars Ulrich, James Hetfield said:
“All of it stems from Tony Iommi. I mean, I’m still trying to outdo him. I know I never will, but I will continue to try, man. So a lot of it is about him and his inspiration with me. But I would say that my being a ‘wanna-be drummer’ has a lot to do with it. I mean, that’s really what I do; I play the drums on the guitar. I get to move cool notes around, you know, and Lars [Ulrich] and I share that. He wants to be a singer and a guitar player, and I want to be a drummer. We try to continue to impress each other, and that’s where some of that healthy competition comes from.”
The fact that Metallica’s “72 Seasons” is currently dominating the radio proves that James Hetfield still has a strong ambition to surpass his idol Tony. When jamming out to the new album, you can hear that fresh vibe in the band’s most recent tracks thanks to that drive and the playful, friendly competition between Hetfield and Ulrich.