Metallica frontman James Hetfield replied to queries about the band’s future by saying he didn’t know what they’d do next.

He was speaking at the opening of his car exhibition at the Peterson Automotive Museum in L.A. – his first public appearance since returning to rehab in 2019.

“That’s a great question,” Hetfield said (via Blabbermouth) when asked about the next Metallica album. “We don’t know. Right now, I’m sitting in Peterson Museum and I don’t know what’s going to happen next. That’s the beauty of this. We’ll sit down and figure out what works best for us. Whatever is coming up, we don’t know.” He added: “And we kind of thrive off of the fear of the unknown, a bit, and being scared just enough to feel alive.”

James Hetfield Interview at Peterson Automotive Museum

In 2018, drummer Lars Ulrich reflected on how Metallica may have changed too much over the years as they struggled against the concept of repeating themselves. “We've always felt like we've been on a creative journey that always needs to be reinvigorated, reinvented," he said. "And I think we, as people, have a fear of repetition or fear of being stuck. And maybe even to the point where you could argue that we fight it too much.”

He added: “I think we may have made a couple of turns at some point that were almost too much, just because we don't wanna be fucking trapped in what people want from us, what the community expects from us. And we are so fiercely independent and autonomous, and nobody's gonna hold us back, and we're just gonna keep changing it up all the time.”

Bassist Robert Trujillo predicted last year that fans wouldn’t have to wait so long for what will be Metallica’s 11th album, after five years elapsed between St. Anger and Death Magnetic, then another eight years went by before Hardwired… To Self-Destruct arrived in 2016. “This time around, I think we'll be able to jump on it a lot quicker and jump in the studio and start working,” he said – although his comments came before Hetfield’s rehab stint.

 

See James Hetfield's 'Reclaimed Rust' Museum Exhibit