METALLICA frontman James Hetfield says he will keep his opinion about President Donald Trump to himself, explaining that politics "polarizes people."
Hetfield made his comments during an interview with journalist Claudio Vergara of the Chilean newspaper La Tercera, conducted before METALLICA's April 1 appearance at Lollapalooza Chile in Santiago.
Asked how he views Trump's first two months in the White House, Hetfield said: "Everyone has an opinion about Donald Trump, I think. My opinion stays with me.
"I'm a singer and guitar player in a rock band," he continued.
"I hate politics. I don't wanna talk about politics. It's not important to me. What's important to me is connecting people with music. Politics, religion… things that sep… they separate people. They make people…
"I love talking about it and my thoughts, but I think it gets in the way of people getting to understand all of you."
Hetfield added: "I have no idea. I could probably sit down and like everyone on the planet, if you get to talk with them and understand them.
"But, yeah, politics, we try to stay away from that 'cause it polarizes people. If I sit here and say that I hate Trump or I love Trump, someone will think, 'Oh, I don't like his music anymore.' It's silly. So I like to keep it about music."
Asked if he thinks America under Donald Trump is a "new America," Hetfield responded: "It's always a new America when someone comes in. But it's about balance. You have far left, far right, and it goes back and forth to keep it balanced. In the middle is the best, we know that. In the middle… accepting everything, understanding everything. But it's not like that. People aren't like that. Humans aren't like that."
Both METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich and guitarist Kirk Hammett have voiced their dislike of Trump to different degrees, unusual for a band whose members have never spoken out much on politics.
Ulrich told Mexico's Las Estrellas television network about Trump's plan to build "a great wall" along the U.S.-Mexico border: "I don't think the world needs any walls. I think we need to bring people together. METALLICA travels all over the world, and through music we try to bring people together. So whether we're in Mexico or whether we're in Asia or whether we're in Europe or whatever, we encourage as many different people from as many different backgrounds to come together and share music and life and culture and all these experiences."
After Trump — one of the most polarizing figures to assume the office — was officially sworn in as the 45th president of the United States on January 20, a number of celebrities took to social media to share their thoughts, including Hammett, who urged fans to "defend democracy" and "reject American carnage."
In a series of tweets, the METALLICA guitarist was critical of Trump's inaugural address, which painted a bleak picture of life for some in the United States. "To say America is not great, that it lacks greatness, sets up a scenario for manipulation and control from others —pay attention, people!" Hammett wrote.
In October, Ulrich said he would consider moving back to his native Denmark if Trump were elected president.
"I am a hundred percent Danish citizen. I pay taxes in the U.S.A., but I can't vote in America," he said. "Yes, certainly sometimes I think about moving home to Denmark… If Trump becomes President and everything goes to shit, I might make my way to the airport and ask if I can get back in again."
(Special thanks to Claudio Vergara of La Tercera for providing BLABBERMOUTH.NET with the original audio of the Hetfield interview.)