Metallica’s James Hetfield Worked Cigars Into His Pre-Show Routine

His foray into cigars has also received high marks

James Hetfield
James Hetfield of Metallica onstage earlier this year.
Ashley Ooms/BSR Agency/Getty Images

Metallica has always been a band with prominent extracurricular activities, beginning with Lars Ulrich’s youthful penchant for tennis. That’s continued through a foray into whiskey and their purchase of pressing plant Furnace — but it also veers into lower-key territory — like, say, singer/guitarist James Hetfield’s penchant for cigars, which resulted in him becoming the subject of a Cigar Aficionado profile earlier this year.

It’s worth mentioning from the outset that Hetfield stressed that he took up the habit only after being confident that it wouldn’t affect his singing voice. That realization came to him, of all places, while at a Billy Joel concert. “[Joel] was smoking a cigar backstage. I said oh, this is OK. This is doable,” Hetfield recalled. “His voice doesn’t suck.”

As Ultimate Classic Rock reports, Hetfield often smokes a cigar while onstage prior to the start of his band’s set — and will sometimes light attendees’ cigars as well, should anyone in close proximity to the stage have one on hand. (Judging by the photos accompanying the article, a lot of people do.)

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Hetfield’s also made a foray into cigars of his own, with Blackened Cigars “M81” by Drew Estates. To date, that’s gotten enthusiastic reviews from those who have tried it, with one review noting that “is very complex and is full in body and strength” and another calling it “[d]eliciously bold with earthiness, yet balanced with softer flavors.” This band knows how to stay busy, but it seems like time well spent.

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