20 Great James Hetfield Quotes: Metallica Singer on Women, Nature, Rap and More | Revolver

20 Great James Hetfield Quotes: Metallica Singer on Women, Nature, Rap and More

"Anger is just a part of me, so I celebrate it"
metallica james hetfield HUBBARD, Jimmy Hubbard
Metallica's James Hetfield
photograph by Jimmy Hubbard

James Hetfield has never been the most loquacious member of Metallica (for that, see one Lars Ulrich), but the caricature of him as some hulking, monosyllabic brute is, of course, just that — a caricature. The singer-guitarist-songwriter may not be a man of many words, outside of his endlessly memorized and repeated lyrics, but he is a man of strong opinions and deep life experience. As such, he has served up over the years many memorable quotes, incisive observations and nuggets of wisdom. Below are some of our favorites.

"I think success is living the way you want to." —MTV, 1986

"People have their own interpretations of love. For some, love is sleeping with a sheep. For others, it's just being with somebody. Love to me is being able to depend on someone else, especially being on the road. You can really lose yourself out here. Then you go home and you realize, 'Yeah, here's my base. Here's where I start, and here's where it ends.'" —Rolling Stone, 1991

"Looking good, being seen in the right places, playing the fucking game — I get real sick of that shit. That has nothing to do with real life, with being alive." —Rolling Stone, 1991

"If you don't try everything, it's like, 'We could've done that!' It's better to regret doing it than not doing it." —Guitar World, 1992

"When it comes down to all this oh-they're-cooler-than-this-band-now kinda shit, I mean, like Nirvana — 'We don't want to tour because it might make us famous, it might make us rich or something' — I mean — what the fuck?" —NME, 1992

"Rap is just to me very annoying." —NME, 1992

"I like to buy things that I know I can take care of. I change my own fucking oil. There are real things that you've got to hang on to, that people just don't do anymore." —Rolling Stone, 1993

"There are too many people on the fucking planet. I love nature. I love the wilderness, and there is not much more of it left. It makes me hate people. Animals, they don't lie to each other. There is an innocence within them. And they're getting fucked." —Rolling Stone, 1993

"I definitely don't want to tell people how to live. We've said since Day One, "Think for yourself." If someone's dumb enough to just follow somebody else, that's their own fault. When you're a role model, you have a responsibility and you lose your creative juices. You worry about what other people think of you. Why worry about what people think? You have to be true to yourself, write what you feel. When people see that you're full of shit, then it's over." —Rolling Stone, 1993

"Anyone who says, 'Well, you better be pissed or you ain't gonna write a good album' — that right there pisses me off." —Rolling Stone, 1993

"I like a woman who's got some balls, some strength. As long as I can beat her at arm-wrestling, that's fine." —The Independent, 1997

"There's a part of me that craves family and another part of me that just can't stand people. At the end of the day I feel like this lone wolf, but, you know, I do feel that I need family." —Guitar World, 2009

"I love art, but not for the sake of shocking others." —Guitar World, 2009

"I'm always feeling like I don't belong, no matter where I am. So I'm just searching for a family nonstop, and sometimes I find it in the mosh pit, sometimes I find it when I'm doing some French TV show with the president's wife." — Time Out, 2012

"Playing music saves my life. Every day it saves my life. ... It's a way I connect with the world." —Road Recovery, 2015

"If you're honestly having fun and you're doing it for yourself, there's no reason to stop." —Revolver, 2016

"When I'm happy, I'm writing the heaviest riff possible. Being happy is not overrated." —Metal Hammer, 2016

"I kind of got sick of the Bay Area, the attitudes of the people there, a little bit. They talk about how diverse they are, and things like that, and it's fine if you're diverse like them. But showing up with a deer on the bumper doesn't fly in Marin County. My form of eating organic doesn't vibe with theirs." —Joe Rogan podcast, 2016

"Anger has kinda been this part of me that I've tried to embrace, I've tried to hide, I've tried to do everything with, and it is just a part of me, so I celebrate it." —Clash, 2017

"There's a lot of myths in rock & roll — you're not allowed to grow up, you're not supposed to age. Yes, we are boys trapped in men's bodies, but we accept where we are now. We got gray hair, but we've earned this stuff. I've earned my silver." —BBC, 2017

Below, watch Metallica's epic performance of "For Whom the Bell Tolls" at the 2013 Revolver Golden Gods: