James Hetfield Shares He Has Gang That Meditates With Cigars

James Hetfield Shares He Has Gang That Meditates With Cigars | I Love Classic Rock Videos

James Hetfield in a tribute for Eddie Money, 2020 - rb rb / Youtube

For Metallica fans, the image of James Hetfield onstage is iconic: all growls, riffs, and headbanging fury. But away from the spotlight, Hetfield has a surprisingly mellow pre-show ritual that recently came to light.

In an episode of The Metallica Report, the frontman revealed his unexpected vice: a deep appreciation for a good cigar. This indulgence wasn’t just a solitary pleasure; it transformed into a kind of brotherhood, a private “gang” where Hetfield could bond with like-minded cigar aficionados.

But Hetfield’s pre-concert routine has undergone an interesting evolution. Meditation has become part of his preparation, but with a Metallica twist – his trusty cigars are still very much involved, adding a unique layer to his focus and relaxation before he unleashes his energy onstage.

Hetfield’s cigar sanctuary

Hetfield’s passion has transcended personal enjoyment and blossomed into a unique social circle – a “cigar fellowship” as he fondly calls it. Every Thursday, this fellowship gathers at Hetfield’s place, transforming it into a haven for relaxation and camaraderie. The ritual is simple: light up a cigar, share a puff, and most importantly, “get real with each other.”

Hetfield highlights the significance of this social aspect. The fellowship serves as a safe space for some members who might be more introverted. It provides a platform for them to connect with others, fostering a sense of belonging and shared experience.

These weekly gatherings create a much-needed sense of community, not just for the less social members, but for everyone involved, including Hetfield himself. He clearly finds joy in witnessing the connections forged over shared puffs of his favorite smoke.


Hetfield’s open door policy

The aforementioned cigar fellowship extends beyond the confines of a single Thursday evening. His dedication to the group is evident in his surprising offer: even when he’s away, his friends have access to his house.

“They’ve got the code to my garage; they can get into the house and enjoy it while I’m away too,” Hetfield shared. This level of trust and camaraderie speaks volumes about the importance of this fellowship for both Hetfield and his friends.

It’s clear that Hetfield finds a sense of liberation in this ritual. He admits to a rebellious streak that surfaces when faced with smoking restrictions. “‘Sir, you’re not supposed to smoke here,'” he quotes with a playful defiance, “‘Yeah, I know!'” For Hetfield, the cigar isn’t just about the taste or the social aspect; it’s a symbol of personal freedom, a connection he enjoys sharing with like-minded people.

Whispers of cigars and vocals

While Hetfield hasn’t publicly addressed concerns about his cigar habit impacting his voice, some music critics have raised questions. Ed Masley, writing for the Arizona Republic, noted a potential connection after a Metallica concert in September 2023.

The setlist for that show, Masley observed, was shorter than usual for the M72 tour’s opening nights. Additionally, the band deviated from their typical closing sequence, opting for “Hardwired” instead of the customary “Master of Puppets” after “Seek & Destroy”. These changes fueled speculation that Hetfield’s voice might have been a factor in the setlist adjustments.

It’s important to remember these are just theories. Hetfield hasn’t confirmed any vocal issues, and the reasons behind the setlist variations could be unrelated to his cigar smoking.

Fan concerns and Hetfield’s response

While some music critics have pointed to potential vocal issues based on setlist changes, online resources like setlist.fm go further, directly attributing the omission of “The Day That Never Comes” and “Master of Puppets” to Hetfield’s voice.

Hetfield himself seems aware of these concerns. In the same podcast episode where he discussed his cigar fellowship, he acknowledged that “a lot of people around” him are worried about the impact on his health and singing.

However, he remains confident in his abilities, stating, “I feel that I am kind of singing the best that I have in a long time.” Hetfield seems to prioritize both his enjoyment of cigars and his vocal performance, leaving the long-term effects to be seen.