James Hetfield Pays Respect To Tony Iommi, Rudolf Schenker, And Malcolm Young, ‘These Are My Rhythm Guitar Gods’

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Metallica frontman James Hetfield revealed his rhythm guitar influences during a recent interview with Music Radar, and apparently, he sees Black Sabbath guitarist Tonny Iommi, Scorpions guitarist Rudolf Schenker, and late AC/DC guitarist Malcolm Young as his rhythm gods.

As many of you know, in addition to being the co-founder, lead vocalist, and primary songwriter for Metallica as well as being regarded as one of the greatest metal vocalists of all time, James Hetfield is also an exceptional rhythm guitarist who has been praised by significant music critics such as in Guitar World’s poll in which Hetfield was placed as the 19th greatest guitarist of all time in addition to being placed at the 87th greatest guitarist of all time by Rolling Stone magazine.

During a recent interview, the Metallica frontman opened up about his rhythm guitarist role and revealed that when he first started playing guitar, he tried different playing styles similar to Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry. However, he ended up leaning towards guitarists such as Tony Iommi, Rudolf Schenker, and Malcolm young since he appreciated rhythm guitar in a band so much that it’s the base ground of a track, according to him.

In his words, James Hetfield said:

“When I started playing guitar, I would fiddle around with pretty much everything. I was trying out different rhythms and trying to play Joe Perry solos, but then I just started gravitating more towards rhythm because of guys like Tony Iommi, Rudolf Schenker of the Scorpions, and even AC/DC. You know, very rhythm-based stuff.

And then later I got into riffing as, to me, that’s what makes a song great. If you’ve got a great riff you’ve got a great song. Some dude can do an amazing solo, but if it’s over a crappy riff the song’s still gonna be crap. A riff is the meat of the song.”

James Hetfield also revealed how he was inspired by other rhythm guitarists and named Tony Iommi, Rudolf Schenker, and Malcolm Young as his rhythm gods, stating that their simplicity and stability carry the tracks in addition to the Misfits and Ramones guitarists all of which shaped Hetfield as a rhythm guitarist he is.

During the interview with Music Radar, Hetfield stated:

My rhythm gods are Tony Iommi, Rudolf Schenker, and Malcolm Young – guys who just keep it steady. The Misfits too, and even the Ramones with their simplicity. It’s all down picking! Watch some footage of Johnny Ramone and you’ll go, ‘Wow!’”

While James Hetfield is undoubtedly one of the greatest guitar players of all time as well as being regarded as a brilliant frontman, his fans are thrilled to hear he also has legendary guitarists such as Iommi, Schenker, and Young as his inspiration to whom he has a deep admiration and respect.