“I saw the thing with James on stage where he was saying that he was going through a rough patch,” referencing a widely circulated video of Hetfield from last May in which he told an audience in Brazil that he was “feeling a little bit insecure” prior to taking the stage. “I was sad to see that because it’s been one of those really weird love-hate relationships. And the whole reason that I ever even pursued any of this was I really liked those guys. If I didn’t like ’em, I would just say, ‘F**king flush the toilet and be done with it.’
“He’s always been somebody that I really liked playing with. I wished things wouldn’t have ended the way that they did. But que sera, sera [Editor’s note: from the Spanish ‘Lo que será, será’ meaning ‘what will be, will be’]. It was a dumb thing that I did by taking my dog up to practice, and it was even dumber to punch [James]. I really respect him and I respect his playing. And I hope he knows that there are a lot of people out there, like me, that like him as a person and don’t give two f*cks about him being in METALLICA.”
During a recent interview with Classic Rock magazine, Mustaine was asked about a comment he made in his 2010 autobiography, Mustaine: A Heavy Metal Memoir, where he referred to himself as “the leader of the band” when he was in METALLICA in the early 1980s.
After the interviewer said that the statement was “a bit strange” because the guys who founded that band, James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich, are “such alpha males,” Mustaine responded: “Oh no. I am clearly the alpha male between the three of us. Why did I have to do everything when I was in the band? Why did they always ask me talk to the promoters and collect the cash? Why was I the one who had to do the fighting? Why did I have to talk in between songs?”
He also added that it’s not difficult for him to talk about METALLICA.
“I really don’t give a **ck,” Mustaine said. “And you know what? I love those guys. I sent a text message to James just a couple of days ago after he’d said that he was insecure about his playing. I said: ‘James, I love you and I really like your playing.’ He didn’t answer. Of course not. Why would he? The point is I wanted him to know that I’ve had those feelings too, but I don’t now.
“I must remind you that when I joined METALLICA, James did not play guitar. He just picked it up and started playing when I was in the band. But let’s be honest, James is one of the best metal guitar players in the world. So for him to have those feelings, that’s a lie, because he’s a mind-blowingly talented guy. So I just felt I needed to say something to him. I didn’t tweet it. I didn’t want anybody to know what I said. But I’m telling you because, hey, you brought it up.”