Hetfield has recalled how watching a documentary film about Amy Winehouse inspired Metallica song Moth Into Flame.
It was one of the first songs to be released from Metallica’s 10th album Hardwired… To Self-Destruct, which arrived last month.
He has previously mentioned how his lyrics cope with the wider concept of habit, and not just to drugs.
Winehouse died after a drinking binge in 2011, at the age of 27, following years of scuffling with psychological sickness and abuse of varied substances.
James Hetfield tells 102.1 The Edge: “Just watching that film was extremely saddening – how Winehouse’s life went from such a lively joyous person, to somebody who was just making an attempt to escape the truth of where she was.
“It actually hit me in the one a part of the movie where she was lost in her mind, it appeared, and Amy Winehouse was just leaving her flat in England.
“The press were just hanging out in front of her place all the time, snapping these photos of her. ‘Hey, Amy, how’s it going?’ Speaking to her like they know her.
“They just don’t discover – they wouldn’t say, ‘You look skinny, you look unhealthy.’ There was a complete misconnection there with reality.”
James Hetfield provides that there is also an affect from the band’s own experiences: “The fame part, and how that may really be a drug for some people. It definitely has been in our career.
“Growing up with it, how do you cope with fame? How does it have an effect on you? At what point do you realise this might not be as healthy as I think it’s for me?”
After dealing with his own addiction points, Hetfield says he has a strong grounding community. “I have got a wife that kicks my ass, initially. Children that tell it like it’s – ‘Dad, you’re being a jerk.’ I like that.
“The guys within the band, too, all of us keep each other in check. Like, ‘Dude, is that limo a little too long?’ Just goofy things like that. We try and keep each other real.”
He lists one other saving grace: “Not surrounding ourselves with yes-men too, which able to really just distort your reality.”
Other people to have affect material on Hardwired… To Self-Destruct include late Motorhead icon Lemmy Kilmister and the Metallica’s late bassist Cliff Burton. Metallica’s WorldWired tour is expected to continue for at the least 2 years, with more dates to be confirmed in due course.