Tuesday, May 31, 2011

VIDEO: Metallica’s James Hetfield honored at his high school

Who says you can’t go home?

From self-described misfit to metal legend, Metallica’s James Hetfield had a homecoming of a different sort on Friday: James was inducted into his high school’s hall of fame.

Hetfield received a special induction for attending Downey High in Downey, California during his freshman and sophomore years, an era of great personal difficulties for a young man at the centre of a family torn apart.

"I'm here to talk about the tough times that I made it through,”
said James. “My father left when I was 13 and my mother passed away when I was 16. I didn't get to finish high school here, which was very unfortunate, 'cause I did have a lot of friends here, and I ended up moving to a new school and having to live with my older brother. So high school was not the best time for me. But music was a savior — a very big savior in my life — and I was able to climb into other people's heads and their records and get involved in music and, basically, instead of hanging out at school, I went home and practiced guitar, and that was what I did.”

"The other thing I wanna say is that it was a very pivotal time and I did not know until now,”
Hetfield added later in his speech. “A lot of things happened in our lives and they happened for a reason. The thing that happened to me I was on a football team as a freshman, I came back the next year to be on the sophomore team, and Coach Cummings was his name, he says, 'You're gonna have to get a haircut. Your hair is way too long; it's past the ear.' And I look at football players and I say, 'Well… You have to have big hair to be a good football player.' But at that point he said, 'You've gotta cut your hair or you're off the team.' And at that point it was a very major decision. 'Do I wanna be a rocker? Or do I wanna be a football player' 'Cause my whole life growing up, I wanted to be on the Oakland Raiders; that was it. And the other dream was I wanted to be the guy on the poster — the Aerosmith poster I had in my room. So at that point I made a decision, so I handed in my gear and I just concentrated on music. So thank you to him for making [me choose]. [He was[ very distinct, very distinct, and he stood his ground and so did I. So I'm very, very glad that that happened at this school."

"I just wanna say thank you to the Hall Of Fame for inducting this misfit. And to all the people that are here today and all the young kids that I see here that love music and are inspired by it and it drives them in their lives. You get your inspiration from wherever you can and live your dream to the fullest, 'cause it can happen."

Metallica – James Hetfield
Downey High School 2011 Hall Of Fame induction speech

Downey, CA – May 27, 2011

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