He wishes his ex-bandmate wouldn’t keep making such statements to the press – but believes there’s no malice involved when he does.
His comments appear in a special edition of Metallica fan magazine So What, created by Classic Rock’s sister publication Metal Hammer to mark the thrash giants’ 30th anniversary. In the feature he discusses rekindling his relationship with Mustaine, who was fired in 1983, but in 2009 was invited to Metallica’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction.
Hetfield says: “We learned a lot from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame about maturity and grace, as far as previous members and things like that – especially after watching other bands get up there and bicker about stupid things.
“They didn’t get the big picture: there’s a lot of people out there that enjoyed that lineup, or a lot of people grew up with that lineup – why are you not celebrating that? Why are you not embracing that as part of your history? It’s sad and it’s selfish.”
That’s why Metallica invited ex-members Mustaine and Jason Newsted to take part in their induction, and Hetfield says it was a positive experience.
“I think especially with Dave, with all of his struggles,” says the frontman. “I see him healthier now. I see him as less of a bitter guy.
“But I do see a lot of stuff in the press with him talking about jamming with us and making an album. All this other crazy stuff.
“I read it and say to myself, ‘Hold on. This is the Dave that we kind of wanted to forget about. You know, the big mouth that wants to just go-go-go.’
“But there is an authenticity about him when he speaks. He doesn’t think too much before he does. He just goes off the cuff. Plus, when he sats stuff like that it’s well-intended.”
Last year, following the Big 4 shows starring Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax, Mustaine announced plans for a supergroup featuring himself and his bassist Dave Ellefson alongside Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich. He reported: “I’ve talked to Lars and James. James never said ‘no’ – it’s still kind of out there in the air. I’m going to keep hammering on him.”
-Classic Rock Magazine