Metallica singer James Hetfield recently checked into rehab, and last week his longtime guitar tech Chad Z discussed first being hired by Hetfield the last time he got sober after going to rehab in 2003. Alternative Nation transcribed the conversation, where Chad said there isn’t a party atmosphere in the Metallica camp with drug use, and he seemed to recount conversations he had with Hetfield in the past about the importance of sobriety, though he didn’t touch on the recent rehab news, which Howard Stern discussed.
Metal Up Your Podcast: This is sort of when St. Anger is getting done, and he had come back from rehab, so yeah, he’s made some big changes, and he wants to connect with who he is going to work with.
Chad Z: Exactly, so he wanted to make sure he had somebody he could trust, and wasn’t going to let him down.
Metal Up Your Podcast: (Laughs) So how long did it take you to get off all the drugs you were on so you could get the gig?
Chad Z: (Laughs) I had already sort of been through my rough phase a number of years before that, so I was doing okay at that point.
James Hetfield recently cryptically quit social media. The conversation continued:
Metal Up Your Podcast: I feel like, you had already been a road dog at this point, and I’m coming up on 20 years on the road, and you see the people who fall by who can’t figure out how to get well and get healthy, and it’s just not a long game you can play unless you’re willing to tighten up in that area.
Chad Z: Exactly, that’s why it’s not the big party backstage that you think it is, it is a professional job. You can’t do it and last.
Metal Up Your Podcast: One of the best things I ever did was on a two week run, I brought my wife out on the bus, and I think she just thought it was a party, and she was able to see how boring it is, and how you are just sitting around with a bunch of dudes in a really tight space all of the time. When I would go out on tour, she would always look at it a little more realistically after that, it was good.
Chad Z: James asked me how I dealt with the stress of being out on the road, that was important to him. I ended up getting sober myself a number of years after being hired, but that’s a whole other chapter.