In a recent appearance on the Australian news program and talk show The Project, James Hetfield weighed in on the ongoing debate surrounding the claim that ‘rock is dead.’ Hetfield’s insights on the matter offer a unique perspective, given his long-standing and influential presence in the rock music genre.
Despite Metallica’s recent release of their latest album, 72 Seasons, and their status as thrash metal icons, the idea that rock is dead still persists among some fans and industry figures. Hetfield was asked to address this claim on The Project, and he offered an interesting take on why heavy metal, in particular, has continued to thrive.
Hetfield explained that heavy metal is a ‘misfit music,’ an underground feeling that maintains a sense of rebellion. He described it as a genre that requires a fighting spirit and argued that every decade’s proclamation that ‘rock is dead’ fuels hard-rock bands to continue proving the naysayers wrong.
“Gosh, [heavy metal is] a misfit music. It’s an underground feeling, still. It’s like a rebel music. It’s a thing you need to fight for. Every decade, [they say] ‘rock is dead.’ That is fuel for a hard-rock band. Absolutely.”
Other prominent figures in rock music, such as Joe Perry of Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, Dee Snider of Twisted Sister, and Dave Grohl, have also expressed their belief that rock is very much alive. Grohl even suggested that rock now comes in various forms, including the music of Billie Eilish.
In my opinion on this matter, the Metallica frontman effectively underlined the idea that the ‘rock is dead’ debate should inspire new bands to push forward. In fact, a prime example of a band adopting this mindset is Greta Van Fleet, who has been injecting fresh energy into the rock genre.