Speaking recently to the Reno Gazette Journal. Kirk Hammett has said he has a hard time watching the documentary “Metallica: Some Kind of Monster,”.
Unlike most rock films, which usually celebrate the god-like status and excesses of a band, this one captures a 2 1/2-year period that saw the metal band lose bass player Jason Newsted, lose respect by suing fans over file sharing and hire a $40,000-a-month therapist to keep things from getting worse.
“Watching the movie is like reliving it all over again,” Hammett said backstage at Lawlor Events Center before a concert earlier this year. “By the end I have a lump in my throat and I feel like just storming out and going, ‘God, we’re a bunch of f—-ing spoiled a—holes.’”
Although the band owns “Some Kind of Monster,” it gave documentarians Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky free rein to do what they wanted, including filming the band’s group therapy sessions.
“If there was something said that was relevant to the storyline, we left it in, no matter how painful it was to watch on the screen,” Hammett said.
The film sees Metallica undergo a “paradigm shift,” as Hammett calls it, thanks to therapy.
For example, band member James Hetfield used to curse at crowd members from the stage and call them losers. But at the end of “Some Kind of Monster,” he’s seen yelling out “Metallica loves you!”
“I suspect James used to say that stuff because he really loved the audience,” Hammett said of the insults. “He would say those things because of the veneer he was wearing at the time. That veneer has all been worn away and what you see now is the truest version of James Hetfield that you’ll ever see. It’s weird because James Hetfield nowadays is a lot closer to the James Hetfield I met 21 years ago before all this started. James is a lot more comfortable with really saying what he means.
“You know, it always felt weird if we said we loved each other and it was always after tons and tons of alcohol and whatever. But nowadays, things are a lot more real around here and things are a lot more honest. It’s a great progressive time for us.
“And it all started — I hate to say it — when Jason left. He was the cathartic experience that changed everything. We view everything differently now, everything, from the music to the shows to how we treat people to how we treat each other to how we make decisions.”
In one film segment, singer Hetfield cuts rehearsal short to attend his young daughter’s ballet recital. If this causes a few fans to cry “wusses!” Hammett says so be it.
“We’re just being honest. There’s power in truth. And hopefully when people see this, they’ll maybe even feel closer to us. If people can pick up on this intimacy we’re offering, hopefully they’ll find respect.”
Although he hopes the film makes money, Hammett found the experience priceless.
“We came out of it still standing and a better band with the relationships between band members at an all-time peak,” he said.
“For me, if people can watch this movie and get something out of it that can help them in their lives or if another band can watch it that’s on the brink of splitting apart, if they can see it and maybe make amends, I think that’s a great thing. I think that’s a wonderful contribution we’re making even though it’s hard to watch and I personally cringe.”