METALLICA's JAMES HETFIELD On 'Hardwired' Album: 'A Lot Of These Songs Deal With Man On The Planet'

November 9, 2016

METALLICA frontman James Hetfield was interviewed by the Colombian radio station Radioacktiva before the band's November 1 concert in Bogotá. You can now watch the chat below. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).

On the title of METALLICA's new album, "Hardwired... To Self-Destruct":

James: "Yes, 'Hardwired... To Self-Destruct', to me… I guess what it means to be is that… A friend of mine told me that… Sometimes he and I would get in trouble a lot, and is it just that we are hardwired that way. I need my friends to tell me some better decisions sometimes, and sometimes I don't. And just wondering if man in general is wired one way or another. But also, I think, a lot of these songs deal with man on the planet. Who do we think we are? In the history of the universe, we have been around a millisecond, and we think we can control the world and global warming and everything. Do we really have that kind of control, or is it [that] our time is finished? I don't know. So, a little bit of a cynical approach to mankind."

On whether the "Hardwired... To Self-Destruct" title was also inspired by how people are connected to each other through mobile devices and how everyone is becoming more dependent on technology:

James: "That as well. Sure. The song 'Spit Out The Bone', which is getting rid of the human flesh part. And machinery is so much more efficient. And ourselves as people, [we're] very… I don't know… We want things quicker, we want the convenience of technology, but at what point is convenience leaning into dependency, and we need it, or else we don't know what to do."

On how he stays a "regular guy" even while he is "a huge rock star":

James: "My family. [Laughs] They kick my ass all the time. [Laughs] I'd say it's difficult… It can be difficult to stay humble when everyone is looking to you for something, but I recognize that, you know, I'm just a person, and, just like them, I am looking for something with the answers. So I understand that. But the transition from being on the road, where everything is done for you — your laundry, your food, everything — and you go home and it's different. Doing the dishes, taking the trash out, just like dad, you know."

On touring and being able to create on the road:

James: "There are times when this feels like work, but most of the time it's play, it's fun. And that's what we really try to make this fun. Touring-wise, not too many shows together anymore, not trying to kill ourselves anymore. But creating on the road is easy — it's easy. As long as I have a guitar and a good sound… Writing… I just discovered today that when my sleep schedule is a little off, traveling, that I have some crazy, crazy dreams. And writing those down, maybe for something — for lyrics or I don't know — so there's always a creative side to everything."

On whether every tour is different:

James: "Every tour is different. Hopefully the same people… I mean, on our crew. We've had a lot of the same crew people for a long time, and it's a great family, the METALLICA crew. So when I come out here, I feel really comfortable — more and more every time. And, you know, trying to tour as a 53-year-old who plays some very athletic music and very aggressive… You know, we're honest with our bodies and with our minds and our spirits, saying, 'Hey, maybe we can't do five shows a week. How about we do show on, show off?' Things like that. So I think we're honest, but also being smart about continuing to tour, and that will allow us to tour on longer and longer in our careers."

The long-awaited follow-up to 2008's "Death Magnetic", "Hardwired... To Self-Destruct" is due out November 18. The album consists of two discs, containing a dozen songs and nearly 80 minutes of music.

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