MOTIVATION FOR THE GUITARIST: JAMES HETFIELD
I was very afraid of quite a lot: I was afraid of the world, I was afraid to speak, and I was a very, very modest guy, and music was the way to speak, that’s all. I could just keep a journal, compose poetry, write everything I could think of, and then sit down, play a couple of chords, put everything together and get myself. It’s me! So I tell the world about myself when I can not say in words. So the music was a voice that I didn’t have.
At my school there was one guy from a jazz band who was selling his guitar. He seems to have had a Gibson SG ’69 with a tremolo and he wanted to sell it. He asked me: “Do you want?”, And I told him: “Yes, how much will you take?”, To which he replied: “200 bucks!”. I begged my mother, did everything I could and finally, she gave the go-ahead and bought me my first real guitar.
But then, it comes to light when you already have a guitar, you must join the group. I hung out with school guys who loved to play music. It was an Obsession cover band – guys from my parallel. We gathered in the house after school and played. From the Black Sabbath group I was so trudging! Their music is so … heavy … exciting. I disappeared into it, I could close my eyes and find myself right in the song.
With a friend from school, we tried to outdo each other. Every day they boasted of their achievements: “Hey, look what I learned!”, “Oh, look what I learned!”. And then I get home and learn something else. So the competition at school raised us to a higher level and it was great.
And at some point you understand what you want in your group of musicians better. I wrote some songs that they didn’t like. They just wanted to play covers and I decided it was time to play with other people. At that time, I already understood that I was striving to be better and some of my friends did not understand me and asked why you would not stay with us? And I just wanted to go further and look for my place.
I once returned to school in the summer to train to play football again. And then I had long hair. The coach said that I would have to get a haircut, but I began to object and said that the same Eddie Van Halen and Michael Schenker had long hair, and I want to play football and have long hair. But it wasn’t possible, and at that moment it became an obstacle on the road, quite decisive in my life, and I did not know how to get around it. I said to myself: “Damn it! “Do I want to be the second team in football or to be on stage and carry a mission, speaking the language of music?” At that time I did not know that I had made the right choice.
Motivation for the guitarist: James Hetfield
I think that not before graduation I realized that I should think about what I want to do. I worked in a sticker factory and cut out blanks, and only thought about riffs, texts and all that. And in the afternoon at lunch, I was already sitting in the car with my guitar, inventing riffs and thinking that it was time to return to work again. After work, I already played those riffs that I composed at lunch. And then we played the first concert, and I thought: I probably need to quit; it’s time to get down; I want to play music! And there really were no other options.
I remember the first time: “Hey, we are going to New Jersey to sign a contract!” Or “We are going to San Francisco to give a concert!” And then: “Hey, this manager offers a contract with trips to Europe!” Yes, you think, I wanted to be cool, but inside I just got crazy and did not believe that this was happening to me. Really happening! We are all friends and we can do whatever we like. This is just awesome!
You know, I grew up listening to different guitarists and most of all I like rhythm guitarists. Obviously, Tony Iommi had a huge impact on many metal guitarists and, of course, on single note riffs, as they sounded bold. The sound of the Mesa / Boogie amplifier is not really bold, it seems to have a face, edges. I achieved this sound on the first albums, and then began to increase the depth. It was as if I wanted to drum on a guitar, I wanted a really percussion sound, a sound with a quick reaction, but at the same time, when you hold a chord so that it fills the space.
I wanted a Les Paul shape guitar that would be a little lighter, a little more practical, to be cut to fit me. I like to keep the guitar pretty low, that guitar that has sharper edges. So I can tune higher if you do not need to play in the lower classes. I have probably tried about 30 different “floors”, different bends, different metals. I wanted a traditional look, but at the same time an active pickup, to combine active and passive in one device: even distortion, but with aggressive mid frequencies; and what passive sounds have is the assertiveness that I like, but also the warmth and breadth of the active sensor. So the challenge was to combine 2 into 1. Perhaps this is what I want to hear in a guitar sound. But this should not be the annoying sound that makes the ears hurt after the concert.
I think being on stage means thinking differently, being in a different space. For me, time stops, no pain. It’s like, as creative people say, a different world. I can get into this world at any moment, playing the guitar and forgetting about everything that is around me. Somehow our world is disappearing. For better or worse, it is sometimes difficult to return from there. There is such a misfortune, but there is also a blessing — concentration, determination, a sense of life, a sense of connection, a sense of creation. That is the reason and the reason that I am here.
Motivation for the guitarist: James Hetfield
It happens that I don’t play for several weeks, and my wife says to me: “Stop grumbling, go play the guitar!” And I go play, and I feel better. It turns out that music is part of me, it should be in my life. This is my morning coffee, my rest in the evening. Music helps us do things that we would not normally do. You know, I’m not jumping and screaming at people in the face, but the riff forces coming from the combo box, admittedly, they are rather not friendly, they are rude, frankly rude. But we need all this on stage, because we want to give out music with each of our particles.
Most worthy things in life require work. You need to give it all up – you get what you invest. That’s all, such a universal law. So yes, it’s not just that he took the guitar and went to play “aege!”. Although I did, you know, quite a lot, like – yes, I’m really cool! This is also necessary, but it requires work, it requires dedication, but if you love your job, then it is not as difficult as it could be if you did what you are not interested in.
Nothing inspires me so much as connecting to an amplifier, tweaking the settings and turning on the sound. I can write 20 riffs just on the move, when the sound passes through me, when the waves pierce me.