The Darkness Frontman Recalls How Metallica’s James Hetfield Treated Him on Tour, Reacts to James’ Recent Emotional Speech

Justin Hawkins of The Darkness has been making rounds online with his commentary on various rock-related topics. Shared through his YouTube channel, the videos reflect on various issues. Most notably, he got a lot of attention for discussing Jon Bon Jovi’s vocal issues, as well as The Darkness touring with Disturbed back in the day.

This time around, in a new video, Justin addressed a recently fan-filmed video of James Hetfield’s speech during a recent Metallica show. Hetfield, who’s currently going through a divorce, stopped during “Fade to Black” to address the controversial topic of suicide. James said (transcript by Killer Guitar Rigs, source in the embedded player below):

“We’ve all felt darkness before, right? That’s what this song is about. It’s about something we’re not supposed to talk about. We’re not supposed to talk about suicide, right? Because it’s scary. It’s really scary.”

“Everyone here’s been touched by it one way or another. We all struggle, we all know what darkness is. And if you are feeling like you need to take your own life – please do not. Please wait. Please talk to somebody. Somebody loves you always. There is someone who will listen.”

“And I love you. No matter what. No matter what you’ve done. You are not alone!”

James Hetfield Suicide Speech + Fade To Black Outro | Pittsburgh, PA 8/14/22

After watching the footage of the said speech, Justin commented on the matter and the recent news of James’ divorce. Along with this, Justin also recalled chatting with James while The Darkness was on tour with Metallica. He said (transcript via Killer Guitar Rigs):

“Many years ago, The Darkness was on tour with Metallica. And James Hetfield took me to one side and gave me his number and offered some emotional support. Because he could see that I was ‘burning the candle at both ends.’ And he was worried about me. He’s lovely.”

“So the fact that he’s saying these things is particularly important. Because we must reflect on the passing of other male singers of note, like Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington. And this issue is particularly prevalent among middle-aged men.”

“He’s 59 years old, so he is in the age bracket that is considered the most at risk. I really hope that this isn’t some sort of a cry for help. If indeed it is, come to Switzerland James, I’ll look after you.”

“The message that James is trying to put across is that you must wait. And don’t act on the impulse, just wait for it to pass. It’s good advice, I think.”

He also adds:

“So James Hetfield operates in the metal sphere. And that’s a genre that often talks about aggression and sadness and despair and the darkness, in general. Not the band, but, you know – just the darkness, and it touches it all the time, just as James Hetfield has said.”

“But when he stops the show and says ‘People are sad and you’ve gotta watch for [suicide], then that’s a moment of note. Because you can’t actually talk about these things.”

Photo: Drew de F Fawkes (The Darkness, La Laiterie, Strasbourg – 49746121698), DoD News (141111-D-DB155-021 (15771398435))


  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor.