Let me start by saying this if you’re here to read a piece bashing Metallica for canceling 2 of their Spring Festival appearances, or reasons why Tool and Red Hot Chilli Peppers were a better choice then leave now. This is not what this article is about. So if that’s what you’re looking for please leave. Now if you chose to stick around let’s jump in. Rumors started flying early last Tuesday morning Metallica had pulled out of the second annual Sonic Temple Festival and had been replaced by Tool and Red Hot Chilli Peppers. All this came to be after someone in the RHCP camp slipped up and posted the updated flyer to early on the band’s social media. Well, you heard the saying once it’s on the Internet it’s there forever. Well, this is definitely the case when it comes to leaked tour flyers. Though the post was taken down within minutes, screenshots of the post burst forth in a blaze of glory across the internet. Once the official announcement had been made by both parties, people either rejoiced or were heartbroken. And I’m not going to lie the thought did cross my mind “What if they pull out of Epicenter?” See I’m a huge Metallica fan and to say I’m excited to see them 2 nights at Epicenter is an understatement. But the more I thought about it, I realized it’s 100% ok for Metallica and more importantly James to cancel those dates or any date for that matter.
Hear me out. The cancelation of their performances at Sonic Temple and Louder Than Life was not based on selfish intent. It’s not like the band went on Social Media and looked at a group of people fussing about them playing 2 nights and was like “Screw Those Guys!” As many know Metallica frontman James Hetfield has had a long battle with addiction. Most recently this past September when the band postponed their New Zealand and Australia tour, due to James entering a treatment center. In the statement made by James, he states;
As part of my continuing effort to get and stay healthy, I have critical recovery events on those weekends that cannot be moved. I apologize to all of our fans who have bought tickets for these festivals. We are working with the festival promoters to provide for refunds or exchanges.James Hetfield- Metallica
At this point, it’s unclear what these events are, however, according to James they’re Critical in his recovery. So I for one support James and the guys in Metallica for taking the steps to ensure he gets the treatment he needs. Many people think that being a rockstar is the best job in the world, but it can take a toll on both your mental and physical health. Don’t get me wrong I’d love to be playing music for thousands of people each night, but speaking with friends who are professional musicians, it can a very lonely job at times. Yes, you’re traveling the US or the world with some of your best friends, making music. But think about it for a moment. Most of your day is spent traveling, loading in or sitting on your bus or van. Most musicians leave behind families and friends just to be on the road to perform for you. There are lots of facetime calls saying goodnight, lots of texting, and maybe if you’re one of the lucky bands you can schedule a quick flight home to see your family on an off day for a few hours. But at the end of the day, we may think an artist only “Works” 2 hours a night, but those 2 hours cost the artist way more than the concert tickets we bought.
I don’t know about you but I’m tired of losing my heroes. I’m tired of seeing artists I grew up listening to in the headlines, dying from suicide or overdose. I’m tired of my heroes turning to substances to make it through the day because they think it’s the only way to deal with what they’re feeling. In a recent interview with Ultimate-Guitar.com DWP Executive VP, Gary Spivack had this to say about James focusing on his health;
We fully, 100%, support James and his commitment to getting well and his recovery. Because look man, our rockstars are dying – Chester Bennington, Chris Cornell, Scott Weiland, Keith from Prodigy. We need James. We need the frontman of Metallica to be well and be healthy and to be right. So, we support his efforts.DWP Executive VP: Gary Spivack: https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/news/interviews/what_happens_when_metallica_cancels_big
So here we are just a few months away from 5 of the best music festivals of the year. Where do you stand with Metallica? Where do you stand with your favorite artist choosing to focus on themselves instead of focusing on the fans? If you can sit back and say “I bought a ticket because of them and they should play!” Then I’d say you’re part of the problem. It’s time for us the fans to stand in the gap for the artists we love. It’s time for us to let our artists know it’s ok to get help, it’s ok to focus on themselves, we the fans will be OK, as long as they’re OK!