Metallica’s James Hetfield makes first appearance since rehab at his car exhibition launch

Metallica frontman James Hetfield made his first appearance since rehab at the launch of an exhibition of his custom car collection in Los Angeles last night (Thursday 30th January).

The ‘Reclaimed Rust: The James Hetfield Collection’ exhibition runs from 1st February at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles and features 10 of Hetfield’s classic custom cars, that originate from the 1930s to the 1950s.

Papa Het personally attended the opening reception last night where he cut the ribbon and took part in a ‘fireside chat’. There was also a live auction which included two guitars – an ESP Snakebyte in Snow White and ESP Vulture in Black Satin.

James Hetfield opens the exhibition © Getty

Former Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony was among those in attendance at the exhibition launch.

Among the vehicles on display is Voodoo Priest based on a 1937 Lincoln Zephyr, a ’36 Auburn roadster named Slow Burn, a Delahaye inspired ’34 Packard, a ’36 Ford in bare metal called Iron Fist, a purple ’56 Ford F-100 pickup truck, and Skyscrape Hetfield’s 1953 Buick Skylark.

James Hetfield’s custom concept car Iron Fist © Getty

James Hetfield’s custom concept car Skyscraper © Getty

As well as putting his vehicles on display, Hetfield has supplied photos of their building process and lent some of his guitars to the exhibition.

James Hetfield’s custom concept car Voodoo Priest © Getty

The launch event was the first time James Hetfield has been seen in public since he entered rehab in September 2019 for addiction.

Het thankfully seemed in great form at the event, filmed below chatting onstage about one of his custom ESP Snakebyte guitars, on display alongside his cars, and bringing laughter from the crowd with humorous quips.

James’s ongoing struggles with addiction and alcoholism were detailed in the acclaimed 2004 documentary Metallica: Some Kind of Monster, and he entered rehab during filming.

Metallica postponed their entire October 2019 Australian and New Zealand tour due to James entering rehab and vowed to return “as soon as health and schedule permit”.

Earlier this month, Metallica donated a massive A$750,000 (around £392,000) to the Australian bushfire relief effort.

Lars, James, Robert and Kirk made the sizable donation via their non-profit All Within My Hands Foundation and the money was split between the NSW Rural Fire Service and to the CFA (Country Fire Authority) in Victoria.

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