James Hetfield is trading life on the road for rehab. The Metallica co-founder and frontman, who has struggled with addiction for years, is focusing on his health as he takes time from touring to return to a treatment program, the remaining members of the Grammy-winning hard rock band announced.
In a statement posted to the band’s website and social media, Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich, guitarist Kirk Hammett, and bassist Rob Trujillo delivered the news that Metallica’s upcoming WorldWired tour in Australia and New Zealand has been canceled so that Hetfield can focus on his recovery after suffering a relapse.
In a somber message, the heavy metal bandmates apologized to fans for the tour cancellation and promised to return to “your part of the world” as soon as possible. The trio noted that they are “devastated” by the turn of events and pledged that ticket-holders will be fully refunded.
Metallica had been scheduled to play a series of cities in Australia starting October 17 in Perth, Australia and ending the tour leg on November 2 in Auckland, New Zealand.
Rolling Stone notes that while Metallica’s fall dates are now canceled, a benefit show in San Francisco is still on for March, and the band’s South American tour starting in April remains unchanged.
You can read Metallica’s message about James Hetfield below.
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A Note from Lars, Kirk, and Rob ・・・ We are truly sorry to inform our fans and friends that we must postpone our upcoming tour of Australia and New Zealand. ・・・ As most of you probably know, our brother James has been struggling with addiction on and off for many years. He has now, unfortunately, had to re-enter a treatment program to work on his recovery again. ・・・ We fully intend to make our way to your part of the world as soon as health and schedule permit. We’ll let you know as soon as we can. Once again, we are devastated that we have inconvenienced so many of you, especially our most loyal fans who often travel great distances to experience our shows. We appreciate your understanding and support for James and, as always, thank you for being a part of our Metallica family. ・・・ All tickets purchased to the shows in Australia and New Zealand, including Enhanced Experiences and Black Tickets, will be fully refunded. Links to more details on how to obtain your refund are posted on Metallica.com.
While the news of Hetfield’s relapse was a shocking blow to fans of the heavy metal band, the Metallica singer is receiving support from friends all over the world, including former Guns ‘N Roses drummer Matt Sorum, and Coheed and Cambria’s Josh Eppard.
Sending my best to James Hetfield Of @Metallica Take care of yourself my friend,You are a human being like everyone else that has real struggles. The disease of Alcoholism doesn’t discriminate. You are very strong to take the steps needed to be healthy and happy.The rest can wait
— matt sorum (@mattsorum) September 28, 2019
Peace to you James. Find it again brother @Metallica
— Josh Eppard (@Weerd_Science) September 28, 2019
Metallica fans are well aware of Hetfield’s struggles with addiction and alcoholism. The “Nothing Else Matters” singer’s issues were detailed in the band’s 2004 documentary Some Kind of Monster. Hetfield later revealed he had remained sober for 15 years after getting clean in 2002.
In 2010, Hetfield described himself as a “reborn straight edge.” DoubleCross webzine posted excerpts from an interview in Metallica’s fan club magazine, So What!, in which Hetfield explained the “X” tattoo on his hand.
“You know, the old straight edge tattoo, it’s just like a big X on your hand. No drinking, and I don’t drink. It’s like when you go into the clubs, they put an X on your hand… And I don’t need drink or drugs. That’s straight edge life. Obviously I’m not straight edge – a true, hardcore straight edge has never had any of it in her or her whole life. But I’m a reborn straight edge,” Hetfield said in 2010.
While music fans won’t get to see Metallica live this fall due to James Hetfield’s rehab stay, the band is set to release a unique book, The ABCs of Metallica, in late November.