LARS ULRICH On 'Some Kind Of Monster' Documentary: 'We Wanted To Have The Connecting Door To The Fans Be As Open Wide As Possible

August 16, 2023

In a new interview with Mary Anne Hobbs's BBC Radio 6 Music show, METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich reflected on the band's 2004 documentary "Some Kind Of Monster", which ended up becoming an honest examination of one of the world's most successful heavy metal bands. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Transparency has always been a really big thing for us. And so we decided very early on that the bands that we appreciated and the bands that we were inspired by, most of them were very transparent. And we wanted to have the door, the connecting door to the fans, be as open wide as possible. I think if you decide to open the door, the only thing you can do is open the door completely. You can't cherry-pick when to let people in. It's gotta be the good and the bad, and it's gotta be all of it, and there's gotta be continuous access. So we feel that we've always tried to honor that. And that movie from 20 years ago was obviously… I think for a lot of people that never had that kind of open door access to a rock and roll band and seeing all of it, including the warts and all the crazy shit that was going on behind the doors as we were trying to figure out who we were and trying to figure a way through understanding the growth that had occurred with who we were as people and how we related to each other and the state of our minds and our own mental health and all of it. And at that time, obviously, there were all these camera crews there, and we just decided to go for it, because we weren't scared and we trusted the film people and we felt that that kind of transparency was part of who we were."

You can listen to the entire chat at

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 Ulrich repair their relationship with then-METALLICA bassist Jason 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.

"The presence of the cameras helped keep the process on track," Ulrich told The Wrap in a 2014 interview. "There was another set of eyes and ears there. Sometimes when somebody else is in the room, you watch your p's and q's a little more. I think it kept the whole thing from derailing in some peculiar way.

"We were at a crossroads," Ulrich added. "We had been really good at being able to compartmentalize a lot of this stuff. Suppress it with drinking or other extravagances. This was the first time we had to talk to each other, get to know each other and work stuff out … The cameras were there catching all of it."

"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.

"Hetfield went away, but we said, 'Why don't we keep filming? Because we think it's interesting,'" Ulrich said. "We said, 'We trust you guys.' And they ended up being another set of eyes and ears in those rooms for the next 18 months as we dealt with the aftermath of Hetfield going away and all of the subsequent domino issues that came in the wake of that."

According to Ulrich, METALLICA had no idea how fans would respond to seeing footage of the band's touchy-feeling therapy sessions that ultimately healed the group and kept METALLICA from splitting up.

"As much as you want to control how people react, there are always things that throw you for a loop," Ulrich explained. "The fact that the music world was a little bewildered by it and the fact that the movie world sort of embraced the film was not something we would've predicted."

METALLICA released a tenth-anniversary two-disc Blu-ray edition of "Some Kind Of Monster" in November 2014. The new edition of the film was made available digitally and via VOD for the first time. It also contained a new bonus feature, "Metallica: This Monster Lives", a 25-minute follow-up segment filmed at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival during the premiere of the band's second film, "Metallica Through The Never". The segment featured interview footage with the band and directors Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky, in which they all looked back at the decade since the release of the film.

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