Metallica defend decision to launch whiskey despite James Hetfield’s alcoholism

Metallica have defended their decision to launch a whiskey, in spite of James Hetfield’s continuing battle with alcoholism.

The band’s bourbon blend Blackened landed in off licenses in 2018, but last year vocalist Hetfield went back to rehab after a setback with his drinking problems.

Bandmate Kirk Hammett insists they are unrelated: “You can’t compare the two things. James’s struggle to get dry is a completely personal matter mentally and emotionally.

“The fact that we produce, bottle and sell alcohol is totally independent of this.

“It is completely up to you whether you drink or not. And I think I can sell what I want. If I were a diabetic, that wouldn’t mean that I couldn’t sell sweets.”

Hetfield is out of rehab but the band have yet to hook up since: “We hold a virtual meeting once a week to keep in touch. James is working his way out of his situation. We can really only try to support him.”

Anyone who has followed Metallica will know they thrive on ­adversity and Hammett can’t see a day when they call it quits.

He said: “We’ve definitely survived so much and have become ­brothers. We love one another, even if we sometimes hate each other as well. But that’s the way it is with brothers. We realise that we are bound to one another for the rest of our lives. I could say I’m leaving Metallica. And then what? Everyone would look at me and say: “Hey, that’s the Metallica guy.”

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“So I could physically leave the band, but emotionally, symbolically, mentally, I wouldn’t be let go anyway. What would that do for me?”

And Hammett has put the pandemic to good use: “I had time to go through all of my musical ideas. I have over 600 musical ideas that I went through.”

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