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Jerry Cantrell penned a really cool tribute to James Hetfield for Louder, which was published today (August 3) on Papa Het’s birthday.

Cantrell recalls he and Alice In Chains drummer Sean Kinney being invited by Hetfield and Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo to take part in a benefit show a number of years ago.

“James actually asked me to sing ‘Them Bones’ and ‘Would?’ and I was thinking, ‘Right on!’ So we did those two songs and then we did ‘Nothing Else Matters.’ It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done in my whole life,” writes Cantrell.

Cantrell would then go on to explain just what sets Hetfield apart from all the other rhythm guitarists and lead singers in rock.

“What makes James such a great frontman is his physical presence. Nobody else commands the same kind of respect and attention without it being self-seeking or egocentric,” writes Cantrell. “He’s all about the music; all about the fun and the celebration and the connection with the fans…He took an underground thing and took it worldwide. Metallica is a huge thing for me and for any hard rock or metal band. Will he go down in history as a rock icon? He already has – he’s the godfather, man.”

If Metallica doesn’t create Hetfield merch that features the phrase, “He’s the godfather, man,” they are simply leaving money on the table. Not that they really need any more money, but you get the idea.

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Erica Banas is a rock/classic rock news blogger who's well versed in etiquette and extraordinarily nice.