Metallica 2000 © Anton Corbijn
HIGHLIGHTS:(über Napster) James: "Meine Frau bekam zu der Zeit gerade ihr zweites Kind, also musste Lars die Sache in die Hand nehmen. Und der kann halt manchmal ziemlich großmäulig sein. Bei einigen Interviews mit ihm hab ich nur gedacht: 'Ohmann, das hast du jetzt nicht wirklich gesagt..'. "
Lars: "Ich hab einige Dinge gesagt, die ziemlich dumm waren, zum Beispiel die Sache mit Limp Bizkit und den kostenlosen Gigs.. ich hab gesagt, dass das totaler Scheiss wär, dabei machen wir selbst sowas auch. Ich weiss, dass viele Leute Fred Durst hassen, aber ich glaub er hat wirklich Talent. Wenn ich meinen Mund aufmache, kommt meist etwas eloquentes heraus, aber manchmal eben auch absoluter Scheiss und das weiss ich auch."
James: "Ich hab mit vielen Fans gesprochen die über die ganze Napster-Sache 'diskutieren' wollten. Dieses arme Mädchen aus Atlanta hab ich zum Heulen gebracht, sie meinte Geld wäre böse. Ich hab gesagt 'Warum ziehst du nicht nach Kanada oder in ein anderes sozialistisches Land'."
Kirk: "Ich bin immer noch geschockt von der Reaktion der Leute. Ich dachte es wäre offensichtlich: Die Leute nehmen sich unsere Musik, obwohl sie das nicht dürfen und wir wollen das verhindern. Computer erwecken den Anschein, dass sowas kein Diebstahl ist, weil man nur einen Knopf drücken muss."
Auf die Frage: "Was war die respektloseste Handlung der Band dir gegenüber?"
Jason: "Dass sie den Bass auf der "..and justice for all" runtergedreht haben. Dass sie nicht auf meine Ideen hören."
Über Metallicas schlechtes Ansehen:
James: "Metallica liebt es gehasst zu werden"
Lars: "Bei den MTV Awards wurde gezielt geplant aus mir den Buhmann zu machen. Ich habe das durchschaut und probiert denen einen Strich durch die Rechnung zu machen."
Über die Änderungen nach dem schwarzen Album:
Jason: "Am Anfang hat sich das für mich nicht nach Metallica angehört. Ich mag die harten Sachen. Ich glaube nicht Metallica sollte Country spielen."
Lars: "Nachdem James ein komfortableres Leben führen konnte hat sich auch seine Einstellung geändert. Erst hiess es: Es ist scheisse und ich töte alles, während es jetzt wohl eher heisst: Es ist scheisse und ich leide dadrunter"
Kirk: "Als ich NEM das erste mal hörte, dachte ich er schreibt einen verdammten Liebessong für seine Freundin."
Jason: "In der Band herrscht die Meinung vor, dass wir es im Gegensatz zu anderen Bands nicht so machen sollen, dass jeder hier und da ein Seitenprojekt hat. Ich hab einige unglaublich schöne Stücke mit anderen Musikern geschrieben, von denen die Leute überwältigt sein würden. Aber ich kann sie nicht veröffentlichen."
("James und Lars hindern dich also daran?") "Lars ist es nicht.. aber wir müssen jetzt das Thema wechseln, wir kommen einigen Dinge, über die nicht gesprochen werden sollte, gefährlich nahe."
James: "Wir sind uns beim Thema 'Seitenprojekte' einfach nicht einig. Die Fans sehen Metallica als etwas, auf das sie sich verlassen können, das immer da ist, und das immer stark ist. Wir sind die gleichen Typen seit dem ersten Tag und der einzige Weg, wie du aus Metallica rauskommst ist zu sterben. Wenn du sagst "Metallica", dann weisst du wer das ist: Lars, James, Kirk und.. ähm wer ist dieser Typ?. Wenn jemand ein Seitenprojekt hat, dann entzieht das etwas von der Kraft Metallicas, deswegen haben wir in letzter Zeit einige Streitigkeiten, aber darüber sollte nicht in der Öffentlichkeit gesprochen werden. Wo soll das ganze denn hinführen? Will er mit seiner Band auf Tour gehen? Verkauft er T-Shirts? Ist das ganze seine eigene Band? Das sind die Dinge die mir daran nicht gefallen. Es ist so, als ob du deine Frau betrügst. Wir sind mit Metallica verheiratet."
Über Jasons eigenes Material:
Kirk: "Es ist ein großartiges Album."
Lars: "Es ist ein gutes Album, sehr bluesig, wie eine poppigere Version von Stevie Ray Vaughn."
James: "Es ist respektabel."
Über Metallicas Zukunft:
Jason: "Musik ist für mich im Moment die Priorität in meinem Leben. Ich kann es nicht aushalten sechs Tage ohne Musik zu leben. Die anderen Jungs haben ihre Familie und sind froh, wenn sie mal sechs Monate nichts mit Musik zu tun haben. Vor 5 Jahren war Metallica absolute Priorität. Metallica hat mehr für den Metal getan als jede andere Band. Ich möchte das aufrecht erhalten."
Weitere interessante Punkte:
- Kirk hatte eine schwere Kindheit. Sein Vater misshandelte seine Mutter und verlies die Familie als Kirk 16 war.
- Kirk hatte ein ernsthaftes Kokain-Problem während der "Justice"-Tour
- Jason hat seit einiger Zeit kein Wort mit James gewechselt, ebensowenig James mit Lars.
- James hat wieder angefangen zu trinken.
DAS KOMPLETTE INTERVIEW (ORIGINAL):
You spent much of last year fighting Napster. Now it's gone into business with BMG and is changing from a free service to a pay service. Is the therat over? Or will a similar site pop up?
ULRICH: There are all sorts of mini-Napsters out there. But Napster is successful because it's Computer 101-with some of the other companies, the software becomes really complicated. And they're not going to get out of the gate in the same way Napster did. Now everybody has their guard up. With every new technology some 19-year-old kid can come up with, somebody five minutes behind can come up with a way of blocking it. It's never going to go away. But I think it can get to a point where it becomes sort of nuisance,comparalbe to, say, bootlegging and piracy.
What did you accomplish by going after Napster?
ULRICH: What we've accomplished most is to bring an awareness to the American public. It turned into the first big issue of the 21st century. People seemed to be more passionate about it than the presidential thing. Obviously, this has been the fucking wake-up-call of the millennium to everybody who has anything to do with intellectual property. There's this whole circle of older ladies who create sewing patterns. All of a sudden, these sewing patterns are being stolen and traded on the Internet. And these litlle old ladies aren't getting their royalties.
So now Metallica is allied with a bunch of old ladies.
ULRICH: [Rolls his eyes] There's your sound bite.
Some of your fans took Napster's side, instead of Metallica's.
HETFIELD: [Grins] Because they're lazy bastards and they want everthing for free. I think Napster won the press war. It hurt the fans' perception of us - they see Metallica as some big bad guys who wanted to take their free stuff away. I like playing music because it's a good living and I get satisfaction from it. But I can't feed my family with satisfaction.
So Napster damaged Metallica?
HETFIELD: I don't want it to read "Napster has damaged Metallica". It's pretty difficult to hurt us. They did damage to how Metallica fans perceive us.
ULRICH: I don't agree. We've taken hits from day one: between haircuts and using Motley Crue-Bon Jovi producer Bob Rock, to headlining Lollapalooza to writing ballads to making records with a symphony orchestra. That's part of being an instigator and a forerunner.
Aside from his natural garrulousness, why did Lars become the band's spokesman against Napster?
ULRICH: I'd never met anyboday that shy. He was really withdrawn, almost afraid of social contact. He also had a bad acne problem.
HETFIELD: There wasn't much to say, I guess. When I met Lars, my mother had just passed away. Everyone was the enemy back then. I wasn't the best at talking - that came just from growing up in the environment I was in, kind of alienated. I was tired of explaining my religious situation. Once the band formed, I thought, I don't have to talk anymore. Lars can say it all. The no one really understood what the hell songs were about[laughs].
So, what was you religious situation?
HETFIELD: I was raised as a Christian Scientist, which is a strange religion. The main rule is, God will fix everything. Your body is just a shell, you don't need doctors. It was alienating and hard to understand. I couldn't get a physical to play football. It was weird having to leave health class during school, and all the kids saying, "Why do you have to leave? Are you some kind of freak?". As a kid, you want to be part of the team. They're always whispering about you and thinking you're weird. That was very upsetting. My dad taught Sunday school - he was into it. It was pretty much forced upon me. We had these little testimonials, and there was a girl that had her arm broken. She stood up and said, "I broke my arm but now, look, it's al better." But it was just, like, mangled. Now that I think about it, it was pretty disturbing.
Did you ever run away from home?
HETFIELD: Once, me and my sister split. Our parents caught us about four blocks away. They spanked the shit out of us, pretty much.
So do you believe in spanking your kids?
HETFIELD: Spanking my friends, and their wives. Yeah, as a last resort. But with the spanking comes a huge explanation why.
What was your parents' relationship like?
HETFIELD: It was my mom's second marriage - I have two older half brothers. I didn't really see any turmoil. They didn't argue in front of the kids. Then Dad went on a "businness trip" - for more than a few years, you know? I was beginning junior high. It was hidden, that he was gone. Finally, my mom said, "Dad is not coming back." And that was pretty difficult. There were some bad times-my mom needed to be home when we kids were home, or I'd have killed my sister. We beat the living hell out of each other. I remember burning her with hot oil and that was, "Wow, it went too far". My mom worried a lot, and that made her sick. She hid it from us. All of a sudden, she's in the hospital. Then all of a sudden, she's gone. Cancer got here. We went and lived with my stepbrohter Dave, who's 10 years older. My sister was being unruly, and she got thrown out of the house. I finished high school, then, "See ya, everybody."
HAMMETT: James comes from a broken home, and I come from a broken home, and when I joined the band, we kind of bonded over that. I was abused as a child. My dad drank a lot. He beat the shit out of me and my mom quite a bit. I got ahold of a guitar, and from the time I was 15, I rarely left my room. I remember having to pull my dad off my mom when he attacked her one time, during my 16th birthday - he turned on me and started slapping me around. Then my dad just left one day. My mom was struggling to support me and my sister. I've definitely channeled a lot of anger into the music. I was also abused by my neighbour when I was like nine or 10. The guy was a sick fuck. He had sex with my dog, Tippy. I can laugh about it now-hell, I was laughing about it then.
It does seem that heavy metal attracts a disproportionate number of people who've been abused.
HAMMETT: I think heavy metal is therapeutic - it's music that blows the tension away. I think that's why people who have had really bad childhoods are attracted to heavy metal. It allows people to release aggression and tension in a nonviolent way. Also, heavy metal has a community feeling - it brings outsiders together. Heavy metal seems to attract all sorts of scruffy, lost animals, strays no one wants.
ULRICH: I've always had issues with that, because I don't feel I had major psychological damage in my life. Why is that limited to metal? If you go to an Elton John concert, people have the same emotional baggage. If you lined 10 Metallica fans up against the wall, you would get 10 different stories.
And three of them would piss on the wall.
ULRICH: And one of them would knock his head against the wall, yeah. I'm not so comfortable embracing those types of cliches.
At the beginning, did you consider any names other than Metallica?
ULRICH: We had a list of 20 possible names: Nixon, Helldriver, Blitzer. I was really keen on Thunderfuck.
When did you start to draw female fans?
HAMMETT: Girls were always at the shows. It's just that they didn't look much different from the guys.
ULRICH: Girls would come on the bus and just blow the whole bus. Like, "OK, here's two girls, everybody get in line." People would say, "Eww, she just blew that other guy..."So? You don't have to put your tongue down her throat.
HETFIELD: They enjoyed what they did. And, heh-heh, they were good at it. Back then, we all shared stuff. "I did her. Dude, here! Have my chick." Lars would charm them, talk his way into their pants. Kirk had a baby face that was appealing to the girls. And Cliff - he had a big dick. Word got around about that, I guess.
ULRICH: We used to have this thing called tough tarts - it was fucking great. We'd come offstage and there's be like 10 naked girls in the showers.
HAMMETT: I couldn't figure out why all of a sudden I was handsome. Did I wake up looking different? A fat bank account will make you look like handsome. No one had ever treated me like that before in my life.
Who was the biggest slut in the band?
ULRICH: We all had some pretty slutty moments. I don't think there's anybody in this band who hasn't had crabs a couple of times, or the occasional drip-dick.
What do you remember about the night Cliff Burton died?
HETFIELD: I remember getting awakened with shit flying all over the place. I busted out the emergency window in my underwear, 20 degrees, and Cliff was missing. I remember seeing his legs sticking out from under the bus. He had the whitest, skinniest legs. I knew he was gone then. The bus was right on him. We were all in the hospital, and our tour manager said, "Let's get the band together and go." When he said the word band - it wasn't the right word. "Shit, we're not a band anymore". We went to the bottle and started drinking.
HAMMETT: Cliff was a very smart guy, a reader, very eloquent. I just don't understand why he went, and not one of us.
NEWSTED: Cliff Burton was my God. He was the guru. I mean, no one before him and no one since him has played like that. People have copied him, but nobody ever had his feel of his proness.
So you were a big fan back in Arizona?
NEWSTED: Metallica was the hugest influence for my band, Flotsam and Jetsam. We played mostly around Arizona, at clubs and for desert parties.
What is a desert party?
NEWSTED: You borrow from your parents, put together 80 or 120 bucks, and rent a generator for the day. Get some tables from the highschool to make a stage, and you rent a fog machine. You get some dudes to buy a keg, and you say, "Once people come, you're going to give us 40 bucks." You get the U-Haul stuck in the ditch, pull out some of the tables, put them under the tires and smash 'em up to get the truck out. The dudes that are buying the keg are already drinking. It's one o'clock in the afternoon. They've got .44 magnums on their sides. In Arizona, if you have your gun showing, you can wear what you want. Drunk as fuck already, and you find out that they robbed a Safeway last night. "Oh yeah, we're going to get money out of these guys." Then set up and play for an hour or two and the Scottsdale cops come out and bust everything up and that's the end of it. I didn't make any money playing until I joined Metallica. The most I remember making - for what we tought was a huge gig - was $26 between five of us.
Do you ever miss that?
NEWSTED: I miss being grimy. I miss the hunger. I miss the excitement of taking off work early to set up the gear at the club. And seven people show up but you still play like there are 700. There was a Burger King rigt across from the main club we played - we took down a mountain of 29-cent burgers. Happy about it! "I'm going to get a Coke." "No, man, that's two more burgers! Fuck that! We'll steal beer from a back room, dude." Because otherwise it'd be boiled potatoes with ketchup stolen from Burger King.
Had you seen Metallica while Cliff was alive?
NEWSTED: Yes. In Phoenix, with Wasp, before Master Of Puppets came out. Front row. Right in front of Cliff Burton, worshiping. Drooling. Banging madly. Fourteen bucks for a shirt, which was all the money in the world at that time. We only went to see Metallica. As soon as Metallica was done, we walked out. They just crushed it, and we knew everything they did by heart.
How did you hear he'd died?
NEWSTED: A friend woke me up at six in the morning. He said, "You've got to get the paper, dude."I remember tears hitting the paper and watching them soak into the print. We wore black armbands when we played our next gigs.
After you heard Cliff was dead, how long before you started to think, Hmm, Metallica is going to need a new bass player?
NEWSTED: I daydreamed that day. Just like, What if, what if, what if?
The brought you to San Francisco for an audition. Were you nervous?
NEWSTED: That whole week, I didn't sleep. I might have lain down a couple of times. For five days I stayed up and played as long as I could. Blisters on blisters broke. When I could feel the nerve inside as I played the string, I stopped for a little while. A couple of my friends got together some money to pay for a $140 plane ticket to go do my audition.
Pretty cheap that they didn't pay your airfaire. Where they tough on the people who were auditioning?
NEWSTED: One guy comes in, he's got his bass signed by the guy from Quiet Riot or something. And James just goes, "Next!" Like that, before the guy even got to plug in. Guys were, like, crushed.
Tell me about the first year with them.
NEWSTED: Hazing. And a lot of emotional tests.
HETFIELD: We were mourning through anger. "You're here instead of Cliff, so here's what you get."It was therapy for us.
NEWSTED: One time, it's four in the morning, they're hammered and knocking on my hotel door when we were in New York. "Get up, fucker! It's time to drink Pussy!" You know? "You're in Metallica now! You better open that fucking door!" They kept pounding. Kaboom! The door frame shreds, and the door comes flying in. And they go, "You should have answered the door, bitch!" They grab the mattress and flip it over with me on it. They put the chairs, the desk, the TV stand - everything in the room - on top of the mattress. They threw my clothes, my cassette tapes, my shoes out the window. Shaving cream all over the mirrors, toothpaste everywhere. Just devastation. They go running out the door, "Welcome to the band, dude!"
Did you know they were telling people you were gay?
NEWSTED: No. I mean, dude, there was so much, that's like a minor detail.
Why did they do that and why did you put up with it?
NEWSTED: Because it was Metallica, it was my dream come true, man. I was defintely frustrated, fed up and kind of feeling unliked. They did it so see if I could handle it. If you're going to fill the shoes of Cliff Burton, you have to be resilient.
OK, guys, who was the biggest drinker in Alcohollica?
HAMMETT: James. He would drink half a bottle of Jagermeister by himself, as well as drinking Vodka.
ULRICH: James Hetfield. If me And James started drinking at the same time, six hours of hard liquor later, I would be passed out. For quite a while, he was embracing alcohol at a different level from the rest of us.
HETFIELD: I was. I had to have a bottle of Vodka just for fun. I'm surprised I'm still alive.
NEWSTED: That's a tough call. Fist for fist, I think Lars. He can take it to a different place, because he's Danish. They get conditioned real early.
ULRICH: [LAUGHS] I had much more of the binge mentality; I'd go every night for three days, then I wouldn't touch a drop for the next four.
NEWSTED: James is the only one that ever drank so much he couldn't show up for a rehearsal or for photos. He is the only one who ever actually poisoned himself.
HAMMETT: Jason's not so much of a drinker as the rest of us are. He likes to smoke pot.
People who like fast music usually like fast drugs. Did the band get into speed?
HAMMETT: Speed is a bad word in our camp. But speed freaks love us.
ULRICH: James is the only one who never really engaged in any kind of drug abuse. Me, Jason, Kirk and Cliff were always experimenting with different things to a higher degree.
HAMMETT: Cocaine has definitely been in our lives. You hang out with other musicians, and next thing you know, you have five guys crammed into a bathroom stall. I had a bad coke problem on the And Justice For All tour, but I pulled out of that, because it makes me depressed, basically. I tried smack once. I was so thankfull that I hated it.
ULRICH: I tried acid once; I was shit-fucking scared. The only drug I've ever really engaged in is cocaine. It gave me another couple of hours of drinking. A lot of people use it as a way to get closer to you, and you fall for that. I go through cycles where I say, "OK, I'm going to pull away for a while." And then I take six months away.
Jason, as time went on, did the band stop hazing you?
NEWSTED: They actually got tougher as time went on. The second and third years were the most brutal. Instead of fraternity pranks, there were things that cut deep and were based on disrespect.
What did they do that was disrespectful?
NEWSTED: Turning the bass down on And Justice For All. Not listening to my ideas, musically.
Is Jason even on And Justice For All?
HETFIELD: His picture is on it [big laugh]. Someone sent me a joke CD, with a sticker on the outside that says, "And Justice For All - now with bass!"
ULRICH: It's the only record of ours that I'm not entirely comfortable with. It became about ability and almost athletics, rahter than music.
Bands are usually like families, and it sounds like this familiy fights a whole lot.
HAMMETT: There are a lot of soap operas and petty dramas that come with being in this band. I find myself playing referee. I've been the buffer between James and Lars, I've been the buffer between Lars and Jason.
HETFIELD: Lars' name keeps getting brought up, doesn't it? [laughs] He's usually the instigator, with his mouth. He can be a real ass at times, and pull attitudes. I punched him onstage once - probably our third gig ever. We agreed we were going to play Let It Loose for our encore, and he went up there and started a different song, Killing Time, because it started with drums. I turned back: "You motherfucker!" I couldn't remember the lyrics, it was a complete failure.
ULRICH: I started the song I wanted to play. I don't remember why - maybe I felt it was a more suitable encore. And then he punched me.
HETFIELD: I remember throwing him into his drum kit a couple of times, throwing some cymbals, cutting his head open.
ULRICH: I've gotten into a couple of fights with Jason.
HAMMETT: I've never hit anyone in the band. I practice a lot of yoga now, and read a lot of Eastern philosophy. I'm a huge believer in karma: no meat, no beef, no swine, no fowl.
HETFIELD: I'm definitely not the smartest guy in the band, so winning an intellectual argument is not going to happen. Resorting to violence used to work. And intimidation.
HAMMETT: When James comes at you screaming, he can be intimidating.
A lot of things have happened to Metallica. Does that mean the band has bad karma?
HAMMETT: Quite possibly. Goddamn it, we've been through a lot of things. It has to be karma. I don't know if it's the energy our songs release. People channel the energy of our music - 90 percent of the time it's good, but maybe 10 percent of the time it's bad. I've heard stories of skinheads listening to our music and fucking tattooing song titles on their arms with big swastikas underneath. Maybe it's just personal karma. Maybe the reason James has had so many accidents is because of his own personal karma, and it affects the band.
How would you describe the change that came after And Justice for All, starting with the Black Album?
ULRICH: The earlier records were about brute force, stuff like that. As James became more comfortable, elements of vulnerability and confusion came across, with less banging-on-the-chest type of stuff. Instead of "It's fucked up and I'm going to kill everything in my wake", it was more like, "It's fucked up and I'm really suffering from it."
HETFIELD: On the Black Album, when I went to write lyrics, I didn't know what the fuck to write about. I was trying to write lyrics that the band could stand behind - but we are four completely different individuals. So the only way to go was in.
Of all the stuff you wrote James, what was the song you most hesitated over recording?
HETFIELD: Nothing Else Matters. That was a huge turning point. It was sensitive.
In theme, Nothing Else Matters is kind of like the Styx song Babe.
HETFIELD: Fuck you. Fuck you very much [smiles]. I didn't think the band would like it. But they were really supportive about it.
HAMMETT: All I could think of at the time was, James wrote a fucking love song to his girlfriend? That's just weird.
NEWSTED: At first, it didn't sound very much like Metallica to me. I like the fast heavy stuff. I don't think Metallica should do country. We came pretty close to it on Mama Said (from Load). I don't think that tasted very good to me.
HAMMETT: James always wants to be perveived as this guy who is very confident and strong. And for him to write lyrics like that - showing a sensitive side - took a lot of balls. Lars, Jason and I were going through divorces. I was an emotional wreck. I was trying to take those feeling of guilt and failure and channel them into the music, to get something positive out of it. Jason and Lars were too, and I think that has a lot to do with why the Black Album sounds the way it does.
Before, you had been one of the more popular heavy metal bands. But with the Black Album, you became mainstream.
NEWSTED: Once we hit MTV, better-looking girls started coming to the shows. Just overnight.
HAMMETT: It sounds like a cliche, but girls like melody, they like soft, pretty songs. And if that's what it took to bring them into our little trap, more power to it.
Do you think-
HETFIELD: No. I like to not think.
Only a few albums have sold more than 10 million copies. Do you think the Black Album is the band's best record?
HETFIELD: There are some songs on there I don't like. Through The Never was a little wacky. Don't Tread on Me, probably not one of my favorite songs musically. Holier Than Thou was one of the sillier songs, more the old style of writing.
When Load came out next, you guys had short hair and were wearing makeup and trendy clothes. It was quite a change from the denim and mullets.
HAMMETT: It was just a phase. It was the zeitgeist of the moment. Who knows? We might do something even more complex in the future.
Like Hetfield in a dress?
HAMMETT: I think that would be extreme [laughs]. HETFIELD: I let Lars and Kirk take over a little on the image front. I really don't like looking at it now. Our fans go, "What happened to Metallica, the rebel, longhair, greasy biker, fuck-you band?" Now it was U2 or Stone Temple Pilots, or some band relying on an image. What the fuck did we need that for? That was just stupid. Jason and I were really not into it - Kirk and Lars were gung ho. You either laugh about it or you get wound up. I'm doing both, actually.
You guys were kind of handsome without the mullets.
HETFIELD: Come on! Mullets rule. Dude, I wanted to have long hair and short hair at the same time.
HAMMETT: I never had a mullet, OK?
NEWSTED: I'm not going to fess to the mullet for more than like three months in 1987.
ULRICH: It was probably only James who had a mullet.
Well, it sure looks like a mullett you're wearing on the inner sleeve of Garage INC., Lars. What if James grew back his mullet?
HAMMETT: If he does, I'm going to dye my hair pink. "You can have a funny haircut? So can I!"
James, you're progun and proenvironment. Did you vote for Al Gore?
HETFIELD: No. I'm afraid of someone taking my guns away.
Then did you vote for Bush?
HETFIELD: No. You have to go into the city to vote. So I'm not going to vote.
You describe drinking and performing as therapeutic. Have you ever been in real therapy?
HETFIELD: [Nods] Around the time of Load, I felt I wanted to stop drinking. "Maybe I'm missing out on something. Everyone else seems so happy all the time. I want to get happy." I'd plan my life around a hangover: "The Misfits are playing in town Friday night, so Saturday is hangover day." I lost a lot of days in my life. Going to therapy for a year,I learned a lot about myself. There's a lot of things that scare you when you're growing up, you don't know why. The song Bleeding Me is about that: I was trying to bleed out all bad, get the evil out. While I was going through therapy, I discovered some ugly stuff in there. A dark spot.
So did the biggest drinker in Alcohollica stop drinking?
HETFIELD: I took more than a year off from drinking - and the skies didn't part. It was just life, but less fun. The evil didn't come out. I wasn't laughing, wasn't having a good time. I realized, drinking is a part of me. Now I know how far to go. You can't be hungover when you got kids, man. "Dad, get the fuck off the couch!" Well, they don't say that - yet.
Did you ever go to AA?
HETFIELD: I wouldn't say I'm an alcoholic - but then, you know, alcoholics say they're not alcoholics.
By then, you were spending more time with your father. How did that go?
HETFIELD: It started off really bad. Very mad at him for making the family the way it was. It was never a real father-son kind of thing again.
HAMMETT: James used to be a raging, out-of-control drunk, alway fighting, always getting into trouble. He's a lot more patient now. I think a lot of that had to do with the passing of his father [in 1996, during the Load tour]. After that, he was just a lot more appreciative, thoughtful and compassionate.
James strikes us as kind of an enlightened redneck.
HAMMETT: I'll agree with that 100 percent. He lives a certain lifestyle that's easy to poke fun at: He lives out in the country, drinks a lot of beer, has a bunch of guns, goes hunting.
HETFIELD: I eat vegetables, too, man. They're just too easy to kill. Carrots don't get a chance to run. I think animals are there for us. We're on top of the food chain.
Maybe you should have a hunting trip with one of the bands that supports PETA, like the Indigo Girls.
HETFIELD: Which one should I kill first? Oh, them hunting with me?
Are you uncomfortable with the degree of homophobia in metal?
ULRICH: Totally. Ultimately, why do me and Kirk stick our tongues down each other's throat once in a while in front of the camera? The metal world needs to be fucked with as much as possbile. When the band started, everybody would sit around proving their heterosexuality by gay-bashing and stuff like that. Like, "Oh, fucking faggot." Does that elevate you to some greater he-man status? I never understood that.
We've heard James use the word fag jokingly. Does that mean he's homophobic?
HAMMETT: Um, probably. James hasn't had a lot of experience with gay people, and that's a large reason for being homophobic. He needs to be enlightened in that area.
ULRICH: I know he's homophobic. Let there be no question about that. I think homophobia is questioning your sexuality and not being comfortable with it.
For the first time in years, there are a lot of metal bands on top of the charts. Most of them are pretty bad, aren't they?
HAMMETT: There's a lot of fucking crap. A lot of regurgitated stuff, too. That Papa Roach song (Last Resort), the main riff is from a fucking Iron Maiden song called Hallowed By Thy Name.
HETFIELD: Limp Bizkit seems a little cartoony to me. I don't like some guy just yelling. Like Rage Against the Machine - it wasn't singing, it was just some guy kind of pissed off, telling you his opinion.
HAMMETT: To me, Limp Bizkit sounds like a second-rate Korn. Korn has a much better vocalist who is somewhat intelligent. A lot of these bands get the right ingredidents, the right formula, and - voila - they have a metal band. A band like Godsmack is just a cross between Metallica and Alice in Chains, with a bit of Korn thrown in.
HETFIELD: Queens of the Stone Age is unique. This band Rocket From the Crypy makes me feel good.
Three of you are married, two of you have kids. What has changed?
NEWSTED: Five years ago, the band took priority over all other things. Now, families comes first. I understand that. A family is more important. I'm the only one who's not married, and music still plays the biggest part in my life. I mean, Black Sabbath is my number one band of all time, but Metallica has done more for metal. Metallica is the biggest heavy metal band there has ever been. I want to keep that strong. But Metallica is only one part of my musical life, OK? Those guys will be happy taking six months away from the music. They have other things on their minds. If I even try to go sis days without playing with somebody, I have anxiety-type things happen.
It sounds like this sabbatical is frustrating to you.
NEWSTED: Yes. James and Lars started this thing together. They came through all of the hardshpis. And they have serious, written-in-stone feelings about the band, about how it needs to be run. That's very, very hard to swallow sometimes. I guess our understanding is that we don't want to be like other bands, where people go off and do side projects. I have made some incredibly wonderful music with other musicians. It would just floor people - it has floored people. But I just can't release it.
James and Lars won't let you?
NEWSTED: It's not Lars.
HETFIELD: We just disagree about side projects. Fans have always viewed Metallica as something they can rely on: We're always there, always strong. We've been the same guys since day one, essentially. The only way you can get out of this band is if you die. When you say Metallica, you know who that is: Lars, James, Kirk and - uh, what's that guy? Jason [laughs]. When someone does a side project it takes away from the strength of Metallica. So there is a little ugliness lately. And it shouldn't be discussed in the press.
NEWSTED: James Hetfield is the heart and soul and pride of Metallica, the protector of the name. I'm not out to disrespect him.
But he could respect you by letting you release the album?
NEWSTED: We're getting really close to some things we shouldn't be talking about. I would like him to see that this music is truly a part of me, like his child is a part of him.
What did James say when you told him that you wanted to release the album?
NEWSTED: I won't go there. We have to change the subject.
HETFIELD: Where would it end? Does he start touring with it? Does he sell t-shirts? Is it his band? Thats the part I don't like. It's like cheating on your wife in a way. Married to each other.
So what is Jason supposed to do during the hiatus?
HETFIELD: I don't fucking know. I'm not his travel agent.
HAMMETT: I just hope we can survive this in one piece without tearing each other's fucking throats out.
Lars, do you think that Jason should be able to release his album?
ULRICH: I wouldn't be able to look him in the eye and go, "You can't put that record out." That's not who I am as a person. That's pretty much all I have to say. I just can't get caught up in these meltdowns. I've got some issues in my family life, with my wife, that are a little more weighty than, like, whatever James Hetfield and Jason Newsted are bickering over.
What if Jason were to put it out anyway?
HETFIELD: I don't know. I would disappoint me a lot.
How is the record?
HAMMETT: It's a great album.
ULRICH: It's a nice record, very bluesy, like a poppier version of Stevie Ray Vaughan's stuff.
HETFIELD: It's respectable.
HAMMETT: I've spoken with Jason for hours on end. I'm upset for him. James demands loyalty and unity, and I respect that, but I don't think he realizes the sequence of events he's putting into play. Jason eats, sleeps and breathes music. I think it's morally wrong to keep someone away from what keeps him happy. That album will always be available in some format - whether it's on Napster or in stores, people are going to hear it.
Wouldn't it be funny if Jason released his album on Napster?
HAMMETT: It would be fucking ironic as shit.
HETFIELD: I don't mind being looked at as the asshole in the band. Well, within the band. As long as the fans think Lars is the asshole, that's fine [laughs].
NEWSTED: James is on quite a few records: In the South Park movie, when Kenney goes to hell, James is singing, and he's on just about every Corrosion of Conformity album. That's a shot at him, but I'm going to keep it. I can't play my shit, but he can go play with other people.
HETFIELD: My name isn't on those records. And I'm not out trying to sell them.
You want loyalty and unity in the band, but if you're too much of a dictator, you can end up losing band members. We've got three words for you: Guns n' Roses.
HETFIELD: Those are three ugly words[laughs].They were a prime example of egos out of hand. We're definitely not in a Guns n' Roses situation. It would never get like that. I'd kill us all before that happened.
It's three against one here: You're the only one against letting Jason release his record. Can this conflict be worked out?
HETFIELD: Some of us are just going to have to bend a little.
Or bend over.
HETFIELD: My back hurts, so it won't be me.
Do all these conflicts actually help the band?
ULRICH: You've used the word conflict a lot in the last 15 minutes. Ultimately, we have a love and respect for each other that supersedes the bickering. The key thing is, we're fucking still here. And we're the only ones that are still here. For whatever conflicts you keep talking about, we still find a way to exist as a working unit, and pretty much at the drop of a dime go onstage and kick everybody else's ass.
Is this just the usual tension within Metallica, or is it worse now?
ULRICH: That's a great question. It's an interesting time to interview the four of us separately. You're hearing people get things off their chest - almost using you as the middleman. Like, James and Jason won't call each other, so they're having a conversation through you.
You and James haven't talked, either.
ULRICH: I haven't spoken to him for a while, that's true.
HETFIELD: He hasn't called me. I'm sure he'll say I haven't called him.
ULRICH: It's a little bit of the rock star stubbornness. Like, "He's not calling, so I'm not going to call him. Fuck him."
HETFIELD: We both need time away; me and that fucking guy have been togheter for 20 years, man. It's an extreme love-hate thing, you know?
ULRICH: We've been in this scenario a hundred times before. On the road sometimes, we don't speak to each other for a week. Me and James Hetfield are the two most opposite people on this planet.
Your wife, Skylar, used to date Matt Damon, and he made her the model for the female lead in Good Will Hunting. A few years ago, Matt described you as "a fucking rock star who's got $80 million and his own jet - a bad rock star, too.
ULRICH: He said that before we met. And he's apologized about a hundred times. The first five times I saw him, he would spend 10 minutes apologizing profusely. He really is a sweetheart.
And you're an art collector, which is an unusual hobby for a metal drummer. What schools do you collect?
ULRICH: Abstract expressionism, the Cobra movement, art brut. I own a lot of Basquiat, a lot of Dubuffret, a lot of de Kooning. I have the best collection of Asger Jorn on this planet. I have what is universally considered as one of the two greatest Basquiat paintings; I spent a year and a half chasing it down. Hanging out backstage with Kid Rock is an amazing turn-on, no less so than sitting and staring at my Dubuffet for an hour with a fucking gin and tonic.
Tell us about the summer 1992 tour with Guns n' Roses, when a pyrotechnic explosion set you on fire during a show in Montreal. How bad were the burns?
HETFIELD: It was down to the bone. My hand looked like hamburger. No matter how much water you poured on it, the pain came back instantly. The most painful part was the physical therapy - they would scrape off the skin with a tongue depressor. It was brutal. I was on pills, too, and it still hurt like a motherfucker.
Speaking of pain, do you ever get headaches?
HETFIELD: Are you saying it's too loud? It's got to be loud. You're supposed to feel it all over.
Metallica toured a lot less than usual last year.
NEWSTED: We did maybe 30 or 40 shows, and that's probably the least we have ever done. Metallica usually does from 150 to 250 shows in a year.
HAMMETT: I have no qualms about not doing yearlong tours anymore.
ULRICH: Ten years ago, we wanted to play as many gigs as possible and have as much debaucherous fun as possible. Now, playing 200 shows in North Dakota is not as stimulating as it used to be. Sometimes it's great being onstage, and other times the show themselves become totally mediocre and you're just sort of floating through them. The older we get, and the shorter we tour, the better we are.
How much longer can the band go on, given how physical the music is?
NEWSTED: It's limited. People won't ever see me weak, won't ever see me just standing there onstage. When the day comes that I cannot perform, I will bow out. That's it.
HETFIELD: A gray mullet would look all right.
Are there any tricks to writing a Metallica song?
NEWSTED: About 90 percent of Metallica songs are in E minor, because of James' vocal range is limited - although he's developed by leaps and bounds.
Any chance Metallica will follow the rap-metal direction?
NEWSTED: No. No rap in Metallica.
ULRICH: The chances of James Hetfield going in a rap direction are probably between zero and minus one.
From your perspective as a Metallica fan, Jason, it must be interesting to see James continue to evolve since Nothing Else Matters.
NEWSTED: Where there was darkness before, now thers's a lot of light, since James' children entered the picture. The darkness will always be there, because of the damage done, but there's a big bright spot now.
HAMMETT: We can't sing about flowers and happy shiny days, you know?
So, James, will the next batch of songs be happy?
HETFIELD: Yeah, I'll start writing about my house and family and dog. Look, there's always got to be some turmoil to write, and now, within the band, there might be some pretty good fuel.
On the next record, we can expect a song called -
HETFIELD: Side Project [laughs]. There's always something that's going to piss you off. Something you'd like to change. Something that confuses you. All I have to do is go to San Francisco for one day - I get pissed off enough for a week.
You're happily married, the father of two, you've been to therapy. You even wrote a love song. Can you still find the dark spot?
HETFIELD: I know it's there, and how it got there. I can visit it and leave again. It's a dark spot you can't wash off
April, 2001 by Playboy
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