James Hetfield recently spoke to Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune about the making of the band's $4.3 million documentary "Metallica: Some Kind of Monster":
Q. Of all the band members, you seemed the most skeptical about the therapy sessions and the presence of the cameras.
A. I wasn't able to even trust my own intuition especially after rehab, being such a raw personality again, not really knowing what is good and not so good for me, who do I trust and who don't I trust. I started to see different things [in therapist Phil Towle]. Why is he contributing lyrics? It started to feel like he was very invasive, and I didn't know if it was just me feeling that way. Was I supposed to be open to everything and everyone? I could have stopped it all if I wanted to, but my own fears prevented me from realizing that I could. There is a scene in the movie where Lars and I agree that it was time for us to fly, and maybe crash on our own if it was meant to be, and we said goodbye to Phil. Lars [Ulrich] backed me up on that and that was pretty important growth moment for us.
Q. Ulrich said that the Metallica that exists now is the Metallica that Jason Newsted always advocated when he was in the band. Would you agree?
A. Jason certainly sparked the inward look in us all, but unfortunately he was the one that chose not to look inward, he just ran outward. Right when it started to get heavy, he bailed on it. I'm glad we continued with what we had to do. In a way, we were disappointed that he wasn't willing to do the work. He just wanted to get to the destination. He didn't want to travel the journey.
Q. So what exactly do you and Lars have in common besides fighting for leadership in a multimillion-dollar rock band?
A. [Laughs] You're not wrong in saying that we are very different people as far as our outside interests. But inside, music moves us somehow, and the same music touched our lives at an early age. Also, we share control issues, trust issues, power issues. So there is a lot that we have in common, and we used it against each other for a long time. That's why it's so difficult for us to get closer, because we both used the same weapons and the same shields. We've been able to lay those down and at least get to know each other, and now we know when each of us is using the old tactics to get his way.
Q. Did you every worry this movie was going to turn into a real-life "Spinal Tap"?
A. [Laughs] When someone says something like that, there are two things that come to mind. One is, `Oh my God, what have we done? What did we do wrong? I can't take it back now.' And the second is how sad it is that someone thinks what we did is so shocking. That someone being themselves, and open -- what an amazing gift to have cameras there during our most traumatic time. No one gets that really. Why not put it out?
This is a movie about relationships. It's four guys who are going through life together and we just happen to play music. It's not really about rock. It revolves around us being in a band, but it could've been a movie about four guys who aren't in a band. The most interesting part is that we are in a band in the public eye and in a career that is very image-conscious and very controlling of the image, and this is just blowing that out of the water.
In a recent interview with the Washington Post, Hetfield said that he had no regrets about his long career. "The things I did that hurt myself, it got me to where I need to be now, and all happened for a reason."
But then he amended. "I do regret the wreckage on the road. The people I treated with such soullessness . . . the cheating, destruction, just completely abusing people, being drunk. I do wish I hadn't hurt other people."
Back in the wild days, "there was total disregard for anybody and their authority, no respect for any security people, total objectification of women, just degradation, that was enough. . . . Playing music was fun. But I went on the road for that other stuff. . . . I could say three little words: Rush the stage. And people would die. It's a lot of power and I used to not give a damn."