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Metallica’s James Hetfield: My Body Can Only Handle 50 Shows a Year

Spencer Kaufman, Loudwire
Spencer Kaufman, Loudwire

The demands of life on the road can be grueling, especially when you’ve been doing it for more than 30 years. With touring being an essential way of life especially following the collapse of album sales, it’s rougher than ever. Thrash legends Metallica are one of metal’s hardest working groups, but don’t expect to see them keep up with the road dogs of today.

James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett guested on The Nerdist podcast with host Chris Hardwick (audio below) and discussed their plans for 2017. “We’ve got stuff penciled in for the whole year,” Hetfield said, referring to their tour itinerary before revealing how many shows Metallica intend on playing. “My body has told me to tell these guys that 50 shows a year is kind of what we can do, so make the best of those. And I think we all kind of agree in that,” the frontman added (transcription via Blabbermouth).

“But 50 shows a year, that’s pretty good. My body can handle that,” continued Hetfield. “Body, mind and spirit all need to kind of revitalize themselves at home and days off for voices — things like that — so 50 shows a year, it goes pretty quick, I’m sure. I tell people, ‘We’re only doing 50 a year,’ and they’re saying, ‘Oh my God! That’s a lot.’ And it’s, like, it’s not. It’s not, really, compared to what we used to do.”

Speaking about previous tours, Hammett chimed in, stating, “Yeah, I mean, we would tour for 10 out of 12 months in the past. We had crazy tours where we would tour, like, 12, 15, 16 weeks in a row, doing five shows a week…” Finishing Hammett’s sentence, Hetfield spoke about the toll it took, “And we came home and we were divorced, girlfriends were gone and we were addicted to a few substances and we were fighting.”

Metallica have already booked out 16 shows around the world in 2017, so fans eagerly awaiting an ambitious tour schedule may have to hold out for casual announcements of a handful of dates as they come instead. In November, bassist Robert Trujillo suggested the rumors of a Metallica U.S. stadium tour were true and with roughly 34 or so shows remaining for the band this year, the possibility of special event stadium concerts seems likely.

James Hetfield + Kirk Hammett on The Nerdist Podcast

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