So Let It Be Written
The Biography of Metallica’s James Hetfield
Foreword by Chuck Billy of Testament
The first and only biography of one of the best front men of the modern era.
With James Hetfield at the helm, Metallica went from being thrash pioneers to heavy metal gods. He overcame adolescent upheaval and personal demons—including his parents’ divorce, his mother’s untimely death and severe alcoholism—to become metal’s biggest star.
So Let It Be Written does justice to the many hats Hetfield has worn, with his strong leadership, signature vocal style, powerful guitar-playing and masterful songwriting. Author Mark Eglinton uses exclusive, firsthand interviews—with prominent rock stars and key figures in Hetfield’s life—to construct the definitive account of Hetfield.
“Hopefully this book will rekindle certain special memories about one of metal’s most charismatic and important individuals.” —Chuck Billy of Testament
6 x 9 | 224 pp
Paperback $14.95 | CAN $20.50
Mark Eglinton Discusses His James Hetfield Biography, So Let It Be Written
With James Hetfield at the helm, Metallica went from being thrash pioneers to heavy metal gods. Lesser Gods is publishing the first and only biography of Hetfield on April 11. So Let It Be Written: The Biography of Metallica’s James Hetfield does justice to the many hats Hetfield has worn, with his strong leadership, signature vocal style, powerful guitar-playing and masterful songwriting.
Here’s an interview with author Mark Eglinton, who shares his thoughts about Hetfield as a musician, what James is like offstage, and what led him to write this book.
What inspired you to write a biography of James Hetfield?
I met James Hetfield and Cliff Burton in 1986 on the Damage Inc. tour in the UK. I was a kid, and they were too. Sadly, Cliff’s life was cut short a few days later. Never did I imagine the extent of the success that would follow for Metallica. In the years and decades afterwards, I became more interested in the man himself—particularly in light of his personal struggles and when the band were struggling with their identity. It surprised me that—given the scale of Metallica’s audience—no book about him existed. So I made it exist.
What will Metallica fans get out of this book?
Fans will get a deeper understanding of what part James has played in taking Metallica from being an underground band to arguably the biggest metal band in history. The Hetfield and Lars Ulrich axis has been vital to that development, and the book focuses specifically on what Hetfield brought to the Metallica table. Fans will learn about some of the early players in the Metallica story, notably Hugh Tanner, James’s childhood friend, who had never spoken about his involvement.
Many Metallica fans know the on-stage James Hetfield. What’s the off-stage James like?
James has an endearingly witty and, at times, sarcastic sense of humor offstage. Given that he’s a fifty-something man with a wife and family, he tempers his onstage persona nowadays by being something of a homebody.
James has gone through a lot of changes through the years. How is that addressed in the book?
James has changed considerably over the years, as most of us have. He has become a very skilled communicator who always gives an insightful interview—which is in stark contrast to the angry teenager he once was. He still has a drive and intensity to him, which have allowed him to continue doing what he’s been doing for so long.
How is James regarded by his metal peers?
Everyone I have spoken to, over many years, has great respect for James, both as a person and a musician. Yes, there’s that strong, uncompromising side to him at times—but that’s all part of what makes him and Metallica work. Chuck Billy of Testament, who was kind enough to write the book’s foreword, was one of the musicians who was part of the Bay Area scene that existed before Metallica moved there from L.A. in 1983. Billy respects what James has done for this style of music, while stressing that, despite all the money and fame, James has remained grounded. Rex Brown of Pantera and Down, who spent time with James when Down toured with Metallica on the World Magnetic tour, went to great lengths to say how intelligent and intuitive James was. Rex tells a great story about when, while he was watching Metallica perform from the front row, James caught his eye and came over to high-five him mid-song. Megadeth’s David Ellefson shares terrific insight into how James has evolved as a person over the decades.
Metallica released their new album, Hardwired . . . to Self-Destruct, in November 2016, their first album since 2008. What are your thoughts?
I view the record as the Metallica album for all seasons, and I say that in the most positive way possible. It’s an amalgam of several different eras. Some of the sonic tricks that made Metallica so effective are there: the hook-heavy songs, the vocal harmonies, etc. Some of the hallmarks—groove and feel especially—that contributed to some of the best moments of the Load and Reload era are evident. And then, as if to appease the lifers, there is the occasional nod to the halcyon days of Kill ’Em All. The album is a fantastic summary of everything Metallica do well, with almost no missteps.