James Hetfield returned to California’s Downey High School last Friday to be inducted into the Downey High School Hall of Fame. The ceremony was the singer-guitarist’s second Hall Of Fame induction, since he and his fellow Metallica members have already entered a little institution you may have heard of called the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Hetfield attended Downey High for his freshman and sophomore years. In his acceptance speech, he recalled his rather unhappy time at the school. “I was a misfit,” Hetfield said. “I didn’t fit in. I didn’t wanna fit in.” Spoken like a true rock ‘n’ roll rebel, which Hetfield has proven to be by partying hard, going to rehab, and selling millions of records along the way.
Hetfield was brutally honest about disliking the time he spent at the school, saying, “I hated my school — literally… I hid as much as possible in my music and listening to music. I showed up in classes to get credits and things, just to make it through, but I really did not feel like I identified with anyone. So to be back here is completely surreal.”
While Hetfield’s speech may have emphasized the negative aspects of his high school career, the rocker also made an incredibly poignant and positive point. “It’s testament to the people in the misfit category,” he said. “They’re able to apply themselves and achieve their dreams — just in a different way.”
Are you listening, all you misfits out there? You don’t need to be a popular kid to go far. James Hetfield is living proof of that.