Metallica's James Hetfield honored by California high school

Now is that the face of a guy who would call an album Kill 'Em All? Just asking...
Now is that the face of a guy who would call an album Kill 'Em All? Just asking...

Metallica's James Hetfield certainly went all the way in rock 'n' roll - he and the rest of his little band are members of the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame - but the singer-guitarist only completed his freshman and sophomore years at Downey High School in California.

Even so, the metal legend was inducted into the Downey High School Hall Of Fame the other day, and he even showed up for the ceremony.

"The one thing that comes to mind is extreme gratitude to be honored here at the school that I was hiding in for most of the time I was here," Hetfield said. "I hated my school - literally. I hid as much as possible in my music and listening to music. I showed up in classes to get credits and things, just to make it through, but I really did not feel like I identified with anyone. So to be back here is completely surreal."

While Hetfield didn't go out of his way to sugarcoat the negative memories of his high school career, he did accentuate the positive. Drawing a distinction between himself and current Downey students and graduates, he said, "It's testament to the people in the misfit category. They're able to apply themselves and achieve their dreams - just in a different way."

Thanks, Noisecreep.

Joe Bosso

Joe is a freelance journalist who has, over the past few decades, interviewed hundreds of guitarists for Guitar WorldGuitar PlayerMusicRadar and Classic Rock. He is also a former editor of Guitar World, contributing writer for Guitar Aficionado and VP of A&R for Island Records. He’s an enthusiastic guitarist, but he’s nowhere near the likes of the people he interviews. Surprisingly, his skills are more suited to the drums. If you need a drummer for your Beatles tribute band, look him up.