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Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett admitted that he and his bandmates are far too bonded to each other to ever split. During a chat with Britain's Daily Star, Hammett explained that Metallica is firmly entrenched into one another's lives: "We’ve definitely survived so much and have become ­brothers. We love one another, even if we sometimes hate each other as well. But that’s the way it is with brothers. We realize that we are bound to one another for the rest of our lives. I could say I’m leaving Metallica. And then what? Everyone would look at me and say: 'Hey, that’s the Metallica guy.'"

Hammett defended Metallica's being in the whisky business with it's signature blend, "Dubbed Blackened" — despite guitarist James Hetfield's longstanding issues with alcoholism — which most recently forced the band to scrap a 2019 Down Under tour while Hetfield returned to rehab: "You can't compare the two things. James' struggle to get dry is a completely personal matter mentally and emotionally. The fact that we produce, bottle and sell alcohol is totally independent of this. It is completely up to you whether you drink or not. And I think I can sell what I want. If I were a diabetic, that wouldn't mean that I couldn't sell sweets."

Hammett went on to say that communication between the band is solid these days: "We hold a virtual meeting once a week to keep in touch. James is working his way out of his situation. We can really only try to support him. . . Whenever something happens to a bandmember like this, it's so deeply unsettling. It comes as a shock. You have to do a bit of scrambling just to cover some ground."

He added: "James seemed like he was fine, but then you look back and you try to analyze the situation over time and see where there were red flags. Being on the road can be very challenging, and I would imagine for James, to get up there in front of all those people and have to be 'on,' meanwhile your family’s not with you and all these things are going on, it builds up."

James Hetfield recalled a while back what it was like to tour sober for the first time after going into rehab in 2001: ["The beginning was the most scared. Doing anything for the first time again without the crutches was tough. Really had some good support, good friends that helped me get set up for out there. And I knew what I needed to do to take care of myself, and there were some people that helped me do that, and I'm very grateful to them."] SOUNDCUE (:17 OC: . . . grateful to them)

Metallica’s James Hetfield Recalls His First Sober Tour :

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