This has to be a first. Metallica's James Hetfield is sitting in the oak-paneled library-cum-lounge of the band's Paris hotel, the très posh Saint James's Club, and he's wearing a tie. There are extenuating circumstances, however.
The blond, leonine singer-guitarist came down from his room in standard gear — black T-shirt, black jeans, black boots — all psyched up to order his first beer of the evening, when the maitre d' informed him with frosty politeness that club rules require gentlemen to wear ties. Hetfield, who sings a lot about death and destruction but likes a good gag as much as the next guy, agreed to put one on — over his T-shirt. Without another word, the maitre d' presented him with an ugly pink number with a big dark stain on it, pulled from a drawer behind the bar.
So Hetfield has his tie and his beer, and he's talking about the recording sessions for Metallica's latest album when an elderly, balding American businessman in an expensively tailored suit comes up to the table and brusquely interrupts the conversation. "I would just like to say that you don't have to go to this extreme to look ridiculous," he says, looking at Hetfield with icy disdain. "I know you don't normally associate with people that do this. But you're just like a child."
Hetfield keeps a civil tongue until Daddy Warbucks walks away. "Put a tie on, don't put a tie on," he says, his eyes narrowing into hard, angry slits. "Fuck you. I'll come down here naked next time.