When you’re the frontman and the public face of arguably the most popular metal band in history, there’s a certain kind of pressure heaped upon you that isn’t really found elsewhere, other than maybe a star quarterback in football. When you’ve sold millions upon millions of albums worldwide (in Metallica’s case, over 100 million), that pressure is magnified even further.
Considering the pressure of fame and living up to the legacy that you’ve cemented for yourself, there’s few things that come with more highs and lows than being an artist. And this is true even for someone as popular as Metallica’s James Hetfield, who recently experienced his own insecurities at a recent show in Brazil.
As MSN noted about the incident, James Hetfield had this to say while on stage (video below):
“I’ve gotta tell you, I wasn’t feeling very good before I came out here. Feeling a little bit insecure, like I’m an old guy, can’t play anymore, all this bulls**** that I tell myself in my head. So I talked to these guys, and they helped me, as simple as that. They gave me a hug and said, ‘Hey, if you’re struggling onstage, we’ve got your back.’ And I tell you, it means the world to me.”
Anyone who’s ever been in the spotlight in any capacity can relate to Hetfield’s feelings, especially when those watching you are able to approach you with a critical eye (or ear, in this case). For a musician, there’s pressures from all sides of the aisle. There’s the pressure of putting on a live show for the fans while on tour, especially considering this is the primary driver for the income of musicians now. There’s also the stresses of a touring and musician lifestyle, where the record/release/tour cycle can have repetitive effects on the mind and body. Not seeing your friends and family for an extended period of time can be taxing.
Power and Respect to James Hetfield for opening up.
Fuck absolutely everyone who reacts negatively to that; especially at a time when Metal just lost a great guy and prominent figure to suicide.
— OL Drake (@old_rake) May 17, 2022
A prominent one that’s often overlooked, also, is when you’ve been a band for a long time. You’re under pressure to recreate your past accomplishments while also blazing new trails, and when you combine that with the effects of aging, it can all really bring you down mentally, psychologically, and physically. Whether you’re a creative artist or not, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone in this.
Remember this: If one of the most iconic names in music history can publicly admit to his own insecurities and say “I am not alone, and neither are you”, it’s okay for you to do so as well.