Metallica frontman James Hetfield and southern California concert promoter Bill Silva were the honorees at a May 2006 fundraiser for the MusiCares MAP Fund, a music industry group that helps musicians who have fallen on hard times, health-wise or financially.
Alas, no alcohol was served at the Music Box @ Fonda event in Hollywood, which annoyed me immensely. Lemmy from Motorhead, however, seemed to have snuck in a Jack and Coke. I did the same thing in subsequent years.
On the upside, there were some great performances. Tom Waits did four songs. Velvet Revolver did an acoustic version of Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here.” And Hetfield & bandmate Robert Trujillo joined forces with Alice in Chains’ Jerry Cantrell & Sean Kinney for a one-off Metallica/Alice in Chains performance of “Would?” and “Them Bones” plus “Nothing Else Matters.” It was a headbanger’s wet dream. Afterwards, I scooped up Hetfield’s and Cantrell’s picks, as well as their annotated cheat sheets for “Them Bones” and “Nothing Else Matters.”
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Here’s James’ emotional speech in full. It’s a masterpiece:
Who needs alcohol and drugs when you have Tom Waits? The emotion is amazing. And who needs drugs and alcohol or whatever when you have friends like this here tonight. I’m very honored that everyone is here and shown up for this.
I do want to take a moment for the people who didn’t make it, that aren’t with us, who could be and I think should be. And I would like to take a moment of silence for those who aren’t here.
Dying, dying, someone told me just the other day, dying is easy. Dying is easy. Living is hard. And it is. For everyone. Not just the wounded and the ones that keep opening their wounds. But I love challenges and it’s not an option at all for anyone. It is the easy way out. For those of the musicians that are up there or out there now, whatever it is, whatever the fuck it is that you are hiding or got deep down inside, you can survive it. It’s survivable. I’m standing here because it’s survivable. [Applause]
Five years ago, things were mighty different, and in the movie Some Kind Of Monster, we put it out there. That was a gift. We were recording a record, let’s film the making of the record, then huge things happen in our lives. You never have a camera around for those moments, and they were there. And what a great gift that was.
It is amazing. I stand up here and say why am I here? Why am I getting an award? I feel unworthy, which is something I’m working on. I think that movie helped some people, and it took the black veil away, it took the mystique and the mystery out of the rock myth ‘sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll.’ What a horrible statement, to me. It is a myth. And to have those things attached to music, which is the best drug in the whole FUCKING world, moves me like no other. And I thank God that I discovered that gift [sniffs] early on. And had to get close to the fire. No one has to walk straight into the fire like I did, to know how hot it can get. Some do, some don’t. It’s not up to me. I’m not here to preach about it. MAP, MusiCares, people who that here care, and there is help, and you’re not alone. So don’t believe the myth.
I had all that stuff in my life. I’m somewhat of a control freak, trying to control my emotions with that stuff, which is absolutely silly. Emotions is what I connected with in music, and I wanted to create emotion by drinking, druggin’ whatever it was and write music. I don’t think a majority of the people on the planet are like that. So who am I trying to connect with? Connect with real emotions. Fear. Hugest driver of that. Nervous being up here. It’s crazy. I’m in a room full of love, and I don’t know what to do with it at times. It’s foreign. But it’s always been there. I want to thank MAP and MusiCares and those people who have put that together. I’m not really familiar with all of the people that do that, but thank God that you are around. And for the musicians that need the help, what an awesome thing. It makes complete sense to me. So thank you [MAP MusiCares official] Wynnie [Wynn] who I met who put this whole thing together.
And other people who save my life daily, I want to stand up. Lars, Kirk and Rob, stand up … [Metallica producer] Bob Rock. Where are you, Bob? Please stand up. Yeah, and my children. You can sit down now. I didn’t know how to end that one [laughs]. My children, who are one of the main reasons that I have chose [sic] to live and take the right path. My daughter Cali, who is 7, who really wanted to be here. My boy Castor, who is 5. And my little angel Marcella [voice breaks] who was born right at the time my wife and I were going through all the rough stuff. She is an angel, a true angel, and the glue that helped us come back together. And the person I admire most on this planet, I love, who stood by me through all the hell and took the heat more than I did at times and is still here with me today, my beautiful wife Francesca. Please stand up. I love you, sweetie.
And I really appreciate everyone being here, talking like I’m the reason everyone’s here! A lot of great things have happened tonight, and all the bands that have been up here, appreciate it very much. And all the people that have shown up here, friends, family, fans and complete strangers here to show love for who we are, not what we are. I thank you very much.
NOTE: Unrelated to the above item, my gossipy rock anthology Strange Days: The Adventures of a Grumpy Rock ‘n’ Roll Journalist in Los Angeles, is available here. For more info, go to strangedaysbook.com
Copyright © 2006-2014 by Dean Goodman. PLEASE DO NOT CUT AND PASTE THE WHOLE THING