BRENDON SMALL Says METALLICA's 'Some Kind Of Monster' Was 'An Important Part Of The Genesis' Of 'Metalocalypse'
August 12, 2023
During an appearance on the latest episode of "Nu Pod", the Knotfest podcast hosted by Joshua Toomey and Ro Kohli, Brendon Small, co-creator of "Metalocalypse", the hit animated series on Adult Swim featuring the fictitious metal band DETHKLOK, spoke about how he drew inspiration from METALLICA's 2004 documentary "Metallica: Some Kind Of Monster". He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "That documentary was an important part of the genesis of 'Metalocalypse', because it came out around the time when we were developing it anyway, and heavy metal was seeing this kind of major resurgence, or at least I was seeing it from where I was sitting. And that movie showed something that was really important."
He continued: "Preparing to make a show like 'Metalocalypse', I tried to do as much research as I could; I tried to find every rock and roll, heavy metal documentary about creativity and musicians. I think that's one of the best ones. And you get to see how this record [METALLICA's 2003 album 'St. Anger'] — love it or hate it — was made and what the trajectory was and the crazy maze of logic that got us to this place. And you also got to see a band that was incredibly famous. And it's hard to have a reason to make a record, I think — even after your first one. You've got enough material for your first one, and the rest of 'em is, like, 'What are we gonna do now? How are we gonna make any of this stuff work?' And you got to see METALLICA go through all that stuff and have to audition a new way of communicating with their own band. Or they were all gonna lose each other, because [then-METALLICA bassist] Jason Newsted walked out and they were a little confining and, I'd say, jealous of any other projects. But they came back and they're still together and they found Robert Trujillo, and Robert Trujillo is a monster. And Jason Newsted gave so much to METALLICA as well. But it's brutally honest, and I think that takes guts — just crazy guts."
Small went on to speak in more general terms about the way METALLICA inspired his mindset while initially developing "Metalocalypse".
"METALLICA is such a monumental band to me because they were inventing their own genre as they went," he said. "And when I think about the ultimate METALLICA, [I think about] 'Master Of Puppets' and '…And Justice For All' because that's the age that I was when I was discovering heavy metal — '…And Justice' had just come out. And so I could not believe this through-composed, non-repeating kind of maze of riffs that were just all one compelling idea or ideology of one riff to an iteration of another, to another, to another, to another. And that, to me, is some of the coolest and such creative and melodic and brutal and tumultuous thrash, epic metal all in one place. And then the 'Black Album' comes out. And the 'Black Album''s, like, 'Okay, let's bring this to everybody'. So METALLICA, without a doubt, is a huge influence to the sheer notion of DETHKLOK and 'Metalocalypse'."
Originally intended to be a promotional video paid for by Elektra Records to document the members of METALLICA going back into the studio for the first time in five years, "Some Kind Of Monster" ended up following METALLICA through the three most turbulent years of their long career, during which they battled through addiction, lineup changes, fan backlash, personal turmoil and the near-disintegration of the group during the making of their "St. Anger" album.
While initially helping METALLICA towards restoring band harmony, "Some Kind Of Monster" shows "performance coach" Phil Towle, a former psychotherapist who was brought into the picture in January 2001 to help James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett and Lars Ulrich repair their relationship with Newsted, attempting to increasingly insert himself into the band's creative process, submitting lyrics for the album and even attempting to join them on the road.
"Some Kind Of Monster" also documented Hetfield's spiral into alcoholism and decision to check himself into a rehab facility. Hetfield's re-emergence from rehab is when the film really gets into gear, with the chief worry in his mind whether or not he could do METALLICA sober.
The new "Metalocalypse" movie, "Metalocalypse: Army Of The Doomstar", will be available to purchase digitally and on Blu-ray August 22, the same date that DETHKLOK's long-awaited "Dethalbum IV" is set to be released. "Metalocalypse: Army Of The Doomstar (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)" will follow on August 25.
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