New Theory: James Hetfield Should Start a Solo Instrumental Band

  • Axl Rosenberg

James Hetfield Should Start a Solo Instrumental Band

So I was just on Metal Injection watching this video of James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett performing “The Star Spangled Banner” to kick off “Metallica Night” at the San Francisco Giants game this past weekend:

And while my first instinct was to make a joke along the lines of “Further Proof That Metallica Would Sound Better Without Lars Ulrich,” I quickly realized that this would be incredibly unfair. I mean, Kirk Hammett uses the wah pedal so much you’d think he was OCD and believes that if he stops using said pedal his family will die. Also, he hits a lot of sour notes. So you can’t really cock slap Ulrich and then just let Hammett off the hook.

I then began to ponder a world in which Metallica was James Hetfield and two other musicians, when I remembered that Rob Trujillo is also in this band. Rob Trujillo is a good bass player and I really like a lot of his work with other bands, but he has yet to bring much to the Metallica (I am the) table. He could be a cardboard cutout and no one would notice. In fact, I bet he’d be far more popular if he were a cardboard cutout… of Cliff Burton.

So THEN I began to ponder a world in which Metallica was James Hetfield and three other musicians, which, I realized, would really just be a James Hetfield solo band.

“But UGH!” I thought. “James’ vocals, and his goddamn ‘YE-AH!’s. Those’ve gotta go, too.”

And THEN I began to ponder a world in which James Hetfield fronted an instrumental solo band.

And the idea started to get me really… excited. Seriously. For the first time in YEARS, I had a thought about Metallica that didn’t immediately fill me with dread.

Think about it: the dude has clearly lost his way, but he was one of the best metal riff writers of all time, and the truth is, he can still write a decent lick when he tries — he’s just in dire need of an editor. And he’s still one of the best rhythm guitarists in the history of metal. He sounds great in the above video. And his can still rip leads, too:

So, this is my new fantasy that will never actually happen: Hetfield, an instrumental band consisting of James Hetfield and three other musicians of equal or greater value. But I guess it’s really a silly idea, anyway. It’s not like there’s anyone really good who’s available right now.


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