PLAYBOY: James, you're progun and proenvironment. Did you vote for Al Gore?
HETFIELD: No. I'm afraid of someone taking my guns away.
PLAYBOY: Then did you vote for Bush?
HETFIELD: No. You have to go into the city to vote. So I'm not going to vote.
PLAYBOY: You describe drinking and performing as therapeutic. Have you ever been in real therapy?
HETFIELD: [Nods] Around the time of Load, I felt I wanted to stop drinking. "Maybe I'm missing out on something. Everyone else seems so happy all the time. I want to get happy." I'd plan my life around a hangover: "The Misfits are playing in town Friday night, so Saturday is hangover day." I lost a lot of days in my life. Going to therapy for a year,I learned a lot about myself. There's a lot of things that scar you when you're growing up, you don't know why. The song Bleeding Me is about that: I was trying to bleed out all bad, get the evil out. While I was going through therapy, I discovered some ugly stuff in there. A dark spot.
PLAYBOY: So did the biggest drinker in Alcohollica stop drinking?
HETFIELD: I took more than a year off from drinking - and the skies didn't part. It was just life, but less fun. The evil didn't come out. I wasn't laughing, wasn't having a good time. I realized, drinking is a part of me. Now I know how far to go. You can't be hungover when you got kids, man. "Dad, get the fuck off the couch!" Well, they don't say that - yet.
PLAYBOY: Did you ever go to AA?
HETFIELD: I wouldn't say I'm an alcoholic - but then, you know, alcoholics say they're not alcoholics.
PLAYBOY: By then, you were spending more time with your father. How did that go?
HETFIELD: It started off really bad. Very mad at him for making the family the way it was. It was never a real father-son kind of thing again.
HAMMETT: James used to be a raging, out-of-control drunk, alway fighting, always getting into trouble. He's a lot more patient now. I think a lot of that had to do with the passing of his father [in 1996, during the Load tour]. After that, he was just a lot more appreciative, thoughtful and compassionate.
PLAYBOY: James strikes us as kind of an enlightened redneck.
HAMMETT: I'll agree with that 100 percent. He lives a certain lifestyle that's easy to poke fun at: He lives out in the country, drinks a lot of beer, has a bunch of guns, goes hunting.
HETFIELD: I eat vegetables, too, man. They're just too easy to kill. Carrots don't get a chance to run. I think animals are there for us. We're on top of the food chain.
PLAYBOY: Maybe you should have a hunting trip with one of the bands that supports PETA, like the Indigo Girls.
HETFIELD: Which one should I kill first? Oh, them hunting with me?
PLAYBOY: Are you uncomfortable with the degree of homophobia in metal?
ULRICH: Totally. Ultimately, why do me and Kirk stick our tongues down each other's throat once in a while in front of the camera? The metal world needs to be fucked with as much as possbile. When the band started, everybody would sit around proving their heterosexuality by gay-bashing and stuff like that. Like, "Oh, fucking faggot." Does that elevate you to some greater he-man status? I never understood that.
PLAYBOY: We've heard James use the word fag jokingly. Does that mean he's homophobic?