METALLICA's JAMES HETFIELD On 'Hardwired': I Wanted To Combine 'Kill 'Em All' And The Black Album

November 26, 2016

Bebe Contepomi of the Argentinian show "La Viola" recently conducted an interview with METALLICA frontman James Hetfield. You can now watch the chat below. A couple of excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).

On whether METALLICA ever goes through previously unused ideas when writing a new album:

James: "It's never old songs. Once an album is finished, the box of riffs is thrown away. We use the best. There's no reason to save it if it's not good, 'cause we will write new stuff. I'm very interested in keeping moving forward. And even it was difficult, 'cause having eight hundred riffs on my phone or my computer or something, and alls I wanted to do was, 'Let's write a new one now. Let's just do it.' There's something magical that happens when Lars [Ulrich, drums] and I get together and I plug into a loud, crunchy guitar sound. It moves me and I can create riffs. It's great."

On his relationship with Lars Ulrich:

James: "Well, you're married, right? That's it. It is like that. Oh, of course it is. It's harder than marriage, 'cause we're both male, and we both want what we want. [Laughs] Well, you know, we're brothers. We love each other, we hate each other and everything in between. We've done so much life together. That's the longest relationship, besides my family, that I've had with anyone, and it's difficult — I tell you, it is. It takes a lot of work, and you have to be honest with each other all the time and you have to communicate, or else. 'Cause we're creative, and in my head, I start making things up about, 'What is he doing? Ahh…'"

On METALLICA's new album, "Hardwired… To Self-Destruct":

James: "'Death Magnetic', I really liked. It was a little more harsh to the ear. This one sounds a little easier to listen to, but heavy still. I wanted to combine 'Kill 'Em All' and The Black Album, somehow, with some layers, harmonies and simplicity."

On other bands who have been around for as long as METALLICA has who are not able to produce quality new music like METALLICA is:

James: "I think that's a compliment. We're very competitive, [and] we're very competitive within the band too. No one wants to disappoint each other, so we keep our chops up, we keep our throats in good shape. And the older we get, the harder it is, but we're doing what we can. We're giving a hundred and ten percent of whatever our mind, body and spirit can do. I think there are bands… I mean, not to disagree, but there are a few — SLAYER, MEGADETH and ANTHRAX — they are still going strong out there, and it's impressive. That's all we're trying to do — we're trying to do better than the last record. The next record will be better. The next record, I'll sing better, have a better guitar sound. There's a hunger for that for us."

On still being a fan of new rock music:

James: "Every time I think that I'm tired of new music, I'm tired of listening… 'There's no good new music'… And then something happens, I hear something and, 'Wow! There is hope!' I mean, for me, and my wife will tell you, if she was here, I'm a boy trapped in a man's body, and she treats me like a child a lot. [Laughs] I'm just one of the kids. 'Go to your room.' I don't know… It's just how I am. Yes, I'm maturing. And in rock and roll, you're not supposed to mature; you're supposed to stay young and all this. But I'm not doing it for them."

According to Billboard, METALLICA will likely top The Billboard 200 albums chart for a sixth time next week, as "Hardwired… To Self-Destruct" is expected to debut at No. 1. The set, which was released on November 18 through the band's own Blackened Recordings, is projected to move 300,000 equivalent album units in the week ending November 24, with traditional album sales accounting for 280,000 of those units.

The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week based on multi-metric consumption, which includes traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA).

Next week's The Billboard 200 chart is scheduled to be revealed on Sunday, November 27.

"Hardwired… To Self-Destruct" consists of two discs, containing a dozen songs and nearly 80 minutes of music.

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