METALLICA frontman James Hetfield recently spoke to USA Today about his appreciation for the music of the late "outlaw country" legend Waylon Jennings, who died in February 2002.
Hetfield, who was 12 when "Wanted: The Outlaws" came out, says he became a Jennings fan because of the singer's long hair and electric guitars but also for a more fundamental reason: "My dad liked him."
Later, when he and Jennings befriended each other, Hetfield's appreciation deepened.
"There were a lot of parallels — the business side, the people who always want to say 'no' to you, and then all the 'yes' men around you," he says. "We connected over that."
Jennings' wife Jessi Colter also sees parallels between Hetfield and her late husband.
"Some of this music's got originality," Colter says. "But what I'm looking for is the man — and James has broken the myth, just like Waylon. Waylon broke the Hank Williams myth. James has broken the heavy metal BS that you've got to be out of your mind to do anything."
Fittingly, Hetfield performed a blistering "Don't You Think This Outlaw Bit's Done Got Out of Hand" on the "CMT Outlaws" TV special, which premiered on the CMT network Friday night (Oct. 29).
"When you hear James Hetfield, three things will happen," CMT's senior vice president/general manager, Brian Philips says. "You'll never hear that song the same way, you'll never see James Hetfield the same way, and you'll never see CMT the same way again."