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James Hetfield Writes Riffs When Happy, Lyrics When ‘Emotional’

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Road Recovery, the music-based nonprofit outreach that assists young people battling addiction and other obstacles, was recently awarded nearly $2 million in grants by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. The funds are to help implement its VirtualTrax virtual help hotline program throughout the state of New York.

Road Recovery has long been supported by big names in rock and metal, so in conjunction with VirtualTrax, several have shared video messages detailing their personal experiences of living and creating amid the COVID-19 pandemic. They include Metallica’s James Hetfield, Guns N’ Roses’ Slash, Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello and others.

Watch the videos down toward the bottom of this post.

“I know we’re going through some rough times,” Hetfield says in his video greeting, “and [I’m] just here to send a message of hope and that you’re not alone — that we’re all living this together and that we’ve been given a gift of music, which is a great thing to lean on and rely on.”

He continues of his recent songwriting progress with Metallica, “Gosh, [I’ve been] writing a lot of riffs, writing a lot of lyrics. Obviously, at this time, a lot of feelings come up, you know? When I get really emotional, that’s when I write lyrics. When I get in a really happy, good mood, that’s when I start writing [guitar] riffs. That’s just what I do, and you’ll find your own thing. But you’ve been given a gift of music, and to utilize that in great times and in struggles.”

The Metallica frontman adds that the “other thing that’s pretty helpful for me is knowing that I’m not alone out there, and just knowing that you aren’t the only one going through what you’re going through. Whatever you’re going through, someone else has gone through it before and survived it. So you will too.”

Road Recovery was established by several members of the music industry in 1998, led by former roadie Gene Bowen and artist manager Jack Bookbinder, to “help young people battle addiction and other adversities by empowering at-risk youth from all backgrounds to face their struggles while teaching them comprehensive life skills,” according the the organization’s website.

Metallica wrote at least 10 new songs while in quarantine, but drummer Lars Ulrich previously revealed that progress on a follow-up to 2016’s Hardwired… to Self-Destruct was going slowly.

Metallica Frontman James Hetfield’s Road Recovery Message – July 26, 2021

Guns N’ Roses Guitarist Slash’s Road Recovery Message – July 26, 2021

Rage Against the Machine Guitarist Tom Morello’s Road Recovery Message – July 26, 2021

Singer-Guitarist Peter Frampton’s Road Recovery Message – July 26, 2021

Singer Paul Rodgers’ (Bad Company, Free, Queen) Road Recovery Message – July 26, 2021

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