Last year, I wrote about the indomitable guitar man and bee guy Steve Vai. He’s a master of the strings and knows few equals. He’s also quite an experienced beekeeper. Now it’s Mr Metallica, James Hetfield, who draws my beely attention. I wonder what happens to guys like these two when their wrists and fingers get lit up by defensive bees the day before a big concert. I suppose the show must go on.
Anyway, I rather like Steve Vai the Bee Guy, but was never enamoured by the loud, throbbing noise which Metallica generates. Well, not much, anyway. In moderation, I can take a little metal. (For example, I liked the Norwegian band, Miksha, but that’s mostly because they named themselves after me.) So, it’s “Metallica in moderation”, which has a nice oxymoronic quality about it.
Nevertheless, kudos to Hetfield of Metallica. Hetfield, like thousands of other musical beekeepers, has discovered that spending time with bees can do wonders for pre-concert anxieties. It can also swell one’s ankle, as Hetfield describes in one of his bee adventures: “I had to move a hive one time… I’m in my beesuit, everything is fine… [but] one area of my ankle was exposed and, of course, I end up with about 20 bee stings.”
I like this admission from Hetfield, who had to submerge his fat foot in a bucket of ice water for a few hours. There’s something else to admire about the man with a rough childhood, a scary presence, and a long battle with alcohol. He said this about the real nature of manliness: “There’s a lot of machismo in this world, but I suppose the most manly thing you can do is face up to your weaknesses and expose them. And you’re showing strength by exposing your weaknesses to people. And that opens up a dialogue, it opens up friendships, which it definitely has done for me.”
If you need to know more about the iconic 80s metal-man, James Hetfield is the subject of a 2017 biography, So Let It Be Written. Written, not in stone, but in metallica, of course.