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James Hetfield plays on…

James Hetfield plays on…

James Hetfield, Metallica‘s leading man, was just beginning his teenage years back in 1976 when Virgil Hetfield, his father, left him and his family to fend for themselves.

Virgil was apparently unable to, or just didn’t want to, deal with the responsibilities of marriage and fatherhood.  He left the family — James, his mother and younger sister — to make their own way through life, without a father.  Family life just kept getting worse as James’ mother became terminally ill.  Her faith in Christian Science kept her from getting treatment as she relied solely on prayer in an effort to find a cure for her cancer. She eventually died in 1979; meaning James had to make his home with his half-brother. With his parents gone, James found comfort in alcohol and 70’s heavy metal music which seemed to provide a kind of primal-scream-therapy.  Bands such as Aerosmith and Motorhead taught him more about the world than his dad ever did. He was just 16.

Today, James Hetfield has been in substance abuse recovery for a decade and he continues to lead a Metallica through its continuing success. A beautiful Marinwood estate is now his home a decade into his recovery.  He continues to be the voice for millions of dispossessed children all over the world.

However, he will definitely tell you that “Dad” is the job title that’s most important — and the toughest — to him.

“It’s not easy,” Hetfield recently told the Pacific Sun.  “And I understand some of the struggles that my father had. But I would never abandon my family, no matter how tough things were.”

The new documentary “Absent” features Hetfield sharing his story of what it is like growing up in a home without a father. Click here for the full text of his interview.

As a side-note, James Hetfield is at work developing new homes in the Lucas Valley area on San Rafael:  Here is a link to an article from the Marin IJ in 2010 about the homes:  http://www.marinij.com/marinnews/ci_17416018

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