Kirk Hammett On James Hetfield: ‘That Would Be Weird If He Wrote A Love Song To His Girlfriend’
Metallica frontman James Hetfield opened up about writing love songs during a recent interview with Classic Rock Magazine and revealed that when he first wrote the band’s classic song, ‘Nothing Else Matters‘ he was skeptical about playing it to his bandmates let alone recording it for the album.
As many of you know, ‘Nothing Else Matters’ is one of the most loved tracks of Metallica since it first released on April 20, 1992, as the third single from their self-titled fifth studio album, commonly known as ‘The Black Album.’ The track was an instant success as it peaked at number 11 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, number 6 on the UK Singles Chart, and reached the top ten on many other European charts.
In addition to being recognized as one of Metallica’s best-known and most popular songs, the power ballad has also become a staple in live performances of the band. ‘Nothing Else Matters’ was initially written by James Hetfield for himself about missing his then-girlfriend Kristen Martinez while on tour, and he wanted to keep the song for himself as he revealed during an interview back in 2008 with MOJO, love songs weren’t meant to be for Metallica.
In his own words, Hetfield said during the interview:
“At first I didn’t even want to play it for the guys. I thought that Metallica could only be the four of us. These are songs about destroying things, head banging, bleeding for the crowd, whatever it is, as long as it wasn’t about chicks and fast cars, even though that’s what we liked.”
While the world wouldn’t be the same without the power ballad, ‘Nothing Else Matters’ and Metallica fans are glad that James changed his mind about the song, Metallica frontman recently opened up about how he felt about love songs once. Apparently, Hetfield saw romantic tracks as a sign of weakness, however, he soon changed his mind since it connected its meaning with so many more people that it ultimately got bigger and bigger.
During an interview with Classic Rock, James Hetfield stated:
“What was it about not wanting to write a love song? That’s pretty easy. It’s a huge sign of weakness. You’re in Metallica. This is hardcore. What the fuck are you doing? But that song was for me. It’s about being on the road, missing someone at home. But it was written in such a way that it connected with so many people. It wasn’t just about two people. It was about a connection with your higher power, lots of different things.”
His bandmate, Metallica lead guitarist Kirk Hammett also opened up about the track and revealed that he was surprised to hear that James Hetfield actually wrote a romantic song for his girlfriend despite having an image that made him look like he’s a tough, strong, and confident person which is why it took a lot of courage to show his vulnerable side with the song.
Kirk Hammett’s statement follows:
“All I could think of at the time was, ‘James wrote a fucking love song to his girlfriend? That’s just weird.’ James always wanted to be perceived as a guy who is very confident and strong. And for him to write lyrics like that – showing a sensitive side – took a lot of balls.”
You can listen to ‘Nothing Else Matters’ below.