In the latest episode of the weekly Metallica Report podcast, James Hetfield confirmed he's been writing new music during downtime between tours.

Metallica's last concert took place last December and the band is gearing up for another series of dates this spring and summer. Over the last few months, Hetfield has kept busy.

What James Hetfield Has Been Up To

"The time off has been pretty fantastic and, at the same time, I miss playing with the guys," Papa Het says on the podcast, "And I let them know, 'Man, I miss jamming with you guys.'"

"We've done a few things here and there," he continues, singling out the band's appearance and performance at the Gershwin concert recognizing Elton John and Bernie Taupin. "The Elton John thing was so fantastic. I had a blast there. Elton, what a beautiful soul."

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Hetfield has also been hitting the slopes, getting in some skiing thanks to "tons of snow" where he lives in Colorado.

James Hetfield Has Been Writing Music

As to what else, Hetfield demonstrates that music is still as much his passion as it is his profession. "[I've been] Writing lots of music, playing guitar pretty much every day," he says. "I have to. It's like breathing."

The Metallica frontman did not, however, express his intentions with this music he's been writing.

When asked about the "idea machine," Hetfield says he's "so grateful it doesn't shut off." He has a "little music room basement" that he spends a lot of time in. It's outfitted with a computer, "a few guitars and a little rig setup," affording him his "soul-nourishing place to go in there and just play and write."

"Not to much practicing," he asserts, "it's just writing."

Talking about the well of new ideas, Hetfield also acknowledges he maintains an open mind to other influences.

"I get inspired from all kinds of different music, listening to it. Even the Elton John thing — hanging out with Elton and Bernie Taupin challenged me. Watching [them play] 'Rocket Man' and seeing how they wrote... Elton is just such a visionary in a way that Bernie sets a set of lyrics — a poem — in front of him and he sees the music just appearing which is bizarre to me," the frontman explains.

Hetfield contrasts it to how he writes songs, which is more rooted in Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi's approach — build everything around the riff.

Listen to the full podcast below.

READ MORE: Metallica's James Hetfield Has a Message + Goals for 2024

Metallica on Tour

Metallica's M72 world tour starts up again on Friday (May 24) in Munich, Germany. They'll return to North American this August, stopping in only six cities on that leg.

See all of the upcoming dates at the Metallica website.

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