"With the passing of Lemmy, it's really, really important for me to see Motörhead acknowledged in that," he said during a recent interview with Gary Moore at 95.5 KLOS, via Teamrock.com. "'Cause there's no more rock and roll person on this planet than Lemmy and Motörhead."
Metallica's first LP in eight years, the double album Hardwired … to Self Destruct, features the song "Murder One," which pays homage to Lemmy. The song was named after Kilmister's amplifier, "his favorite amp onstage," Hetfield explained in the interview. "I loved being murdered every night by that thing, man. He was just such an icon, such an inspiration to us as a band. There's certainly no way we'd be around if there was no Motörhead.
"And you know, to see your idol, your immortal one actually be mortal, it hit us pretty hard," Hetfield continued. "So I felt lyrically it makes sense to acknowledge him and how much he's meant in our lives."
Metallica was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009. Motörhead has been eligible since 2002.
The frontman also discussed Metallica's upcoming LP, joking that the material is "Really happy, mostly about flowers and unicorns. Probably a few rainbows in there, too," he teased. "That's not the truth."
He added that Hardwired is "probably a little more cynical than some of the other records" and also suggested that fatherhood has influenced the lyrics as well. "Kind of like a bigger overview, at least for me being a father, there's some stuff in there about, you know, just life inside and outside of me, you know, just giant question marks," he said.
Metallica's Hardwired … to Self Destruct will be released on November 18th.