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James Hetfield has pre-tour nightmares about his guitar neck being made of rubber and only having two strings on it

“I start to feel insecure that we’re old, we can’t do this and all that bullshit everyone tells themselves before they go into something that they care about.”

James Hetfield captured smiling at the crowd as he plays guitar in Munich on tour.

Image: Mark Wieland / Getty

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Weird dreams are a common thing when you’re feeling a little worried or stressed. Standing in front of a crowd naked? All of your teeth falling out with no logical reason why? Both are pretty standard anxious nightmares.

For James Hetfield though, when he’s not on stage with Metallica he’s still dreaming about it, and not in a good way either.

During a new episode of The Metallica Report podcast, Hetfield says that often before they hit the road he starts to experience weird nightmares of basically all the things that could go wrong on tour, going wrong. But some are even much weirder than that, with Hetfield even dreaming that his guitar neck is made of rubber or missing a bunch of strings.

“Obviously before heading out on tour, sitting there trying to remember the myriad of pretty awesome songs we have and then just trusting that once we get together, it’s like, oh yeah, it’s muscle memory. But yeah, over the last month, I will say that the normal thing happens where I start to doubt myself,” he says.

“I start to feel insecure that, whoa, we’re old, we can’t do this and blah blah blah, all that bullshit that everyone tells themselves before they go into something that they care about and is important. So having the nightmares of, you know, I’m the only one who cares about what we’re doing here. You know, where is everybody?

“I show up at the gig, everyone’s goofing off or there’s 200 people backstage and where’s my stuff? You know, where’s the set list? What songs are we doing? And then typical things like, the guitar neck is made of rubber and there’s only two strings on it and where’s my roadie? And the guitar cord won’t let me get to the microphone. Silly stuff like that.”

As stressful as these dreams sound, it seems Hetfield is used to it, and takes it all in his stride as part of the process: “That has to happen. And I don’t freak out over it. All you do is you practice and then you build, that comes back pretty quickly…” he explains.

“It’s part of the cycle. It just is. You have anxiety build up, but don’t let it get the best of you because you have that balance of anxiety and faith. And as soon as you get up there, it’s all gonna be good.”

Check out the podcast below:

View all of Metallica’s remaining M72 world tour dates.

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