Jon Bream of the Minneapolis Star Tribune is reporting that when shit hit the fan, METALLICA "brought in sports psychologist Phil Towle, who has worked with pro football's St. Louis Rams, an Olympic silver-medalist swimmer and other athletes.
"Towle's first session with METALLICA was coincidentally the day bassist Jason Newsted unexpectedly announced he was quitting after 14 years. The members of the quartet were confused about dynamics, direction and decision-making. They clearly needed group therapy.
" 'Phil gets guys on the same team to stop letting their differences and their idiosyncrasies get in the way of the progress of the team,' said METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich. 'He helped us try to understand who we were, where we were coming from, why things ended up the way they did with Jason.'
"After several sessions with Towle, lead singer and chief control freak James Hetfield decided to head to treatment for alcohol issues. Meanwhile, the shrink continued to meet with Ulrich, guitarist Kirk Hammett and producer Bob Rock.
"The group therapy intensified after Hetfield's four-month stay ended. 'We were getting to know each other again,' said Ulrich, 39, 'or maybe getting to know each other for the first time, like my wife said when I came home one day. That's pretty scary after 18 years.
"I know that sounds terribly black-and-white. It's about being comfortable about opening sides of yourself up. There were certainly sides of James and a whole new truth and honesty. The facade of 'Hi, I'm James Hetfield the lead singer of METALLICA' — that was left in rehab. What he came back with was more like, 'Hi, I'm James Hetfield, human being on planet Earth.' " Read more.