James Hetfield: 5 Interesting Facts You Might Not Know
Published: August 3, 2023 | Heidi
Here are 5 interesting facts about James Hetfield, the frontman and guitarist of the legendary American heavy metal band, Metallica!
In honour of his birthday (August 3, 1963), I decided to compile a list of interesting facts about the handsome frontman of Metallica, James Hetfield AKA Papa Het, one of my favourite musicians.
Metallica guitarist and founder James Hetfield is one of the successful offsprings of heavy metal progenitors of long ago, bringing the genre to a whole new level with the band’s iconic sound. Hetfield also does vocal and songwriting work for the band, along with his insane down-picking skills. Here are five interesting facts about the Metallica frontman that you might not know.
1. His nickname is 'Papa Het'
Hetfield personally chose the ‘Papa Het‘ nickname for himself. His official Instagram account, which he deleted a while ago, was also named ‘Papa Het.
2. He's a big time gear head
He has an impressive collection of customised classic cars. According to Hetfield, customizing cars and making music have a lot of similarities. Both allow a person to express themselves creatively. That individual expression is then put out where others can appreciate it.
3. The Song "Mama Said" was Inspired by James Hetfield's Mother
To cope with the loss, James Hetfield turned to music and wrote the song “Mama Said.” The track appeared on Metallica’s sixth album, Load, and is one of the band’s most personal songs. The lyrics represent a man or boy who is learning to find his own way in life away from his mother. The song is directly written about Hetfield’s difficult relationship with his mother, who died of cancer when he was 16 years old.
4. Elton John moved Metallica frontman James Hetfield to tears after calling ‘Nothing Else Matters’ “one of the best songs ever written”.
Elton John calls Metallica’s ‘Nothing Else Matters‘ “one of the best songs ever written” Elton John moved Metallica frontman James Hetfield to tears after calling the band’s track ‘Nothing Else Matters’ “one of the best songs ever written”
5. Musical Inspirations
Loudwire reported during the promotional video for Hetfield’s new Hardwired Master Core strings for Ernie Ball, he explained how both metal and punk icons helped lead the way to his unique style of rhythm guitar.
Hetfield was quoted as saying, “For me it was a little more raw, the stuff that I liked. Discovering bands like AC/DC then Judas Priest and then the whole new wave of British heavy metal came out and that was Iron Maiden, then Motörhead, and Black Sabbath for sure was a Number One influence for me.
Hetfield revealed that Thin Lizzy is one of the major influences on him, from whom he drew inspiration for Metallica’s guitar harmonies.