METALLICA's Former Producer: We Knew 'Master Of Puppets' Was Gonna Be A Killer Album
March 3, 2011
Record producer Flemming Rasmussen, who collaborated with METALLICA on three of their albums in the 1980s, was recently interviewed by Mike Meyer of Phoenix New Times regarding the 25th anniversary of the release of the band's iconic "Master Of Puppets" LP. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Phoenix New Times: "Master of Puppets" is widely regarded as one of the best heavy metal albums of all time. Did you know you were onto something special when you were working on it 25 years ago?
Flemming Rasmussen: Oh, yes. Right from the demos, we pretty much knew this was gonna be a killer album. I think we all felt that this was gonna be the best METALLICA album yet, as we had a bunch of really strong songs. Even the instrumentals were awesome.
Phoenix New Times: "Puppets" was the last album to feature the late Cliff Burton on bass. Were you very close to him? How did his death affect you? Was it any different working on "...And Justice for All" after Jason Newsted had joined the band?
Flemming Rasmussen: No, I wouldn't say I was close to Cliff, as he was spending the least amount of time in the studio, but it affected me greatly when he died. He was surely one of a kind, and even though Jason is a great bass player, it was impossible to fill out Cliff's shoes. Jason is a bass player in his own right, and never got the recognition he deserved.
Phoenix New Times: You produced three consecutive METALLICA albums — "Ride The Lightning", "Puppets" and "Justice" — but they have three distinctly different sounds. Was that a conscious decision by you and the band?
Flemming Rasmussen: Yes. The difference between "Ride" and "Master" is evolution, as "Master" is a perfection of the sound we started to evolve on "Ride". And in my opinion, we did really master it on "Master". That album sounds so good. When I got onto the "Justice" album, they were a month into the session, and it was a new studio, etc., so we decided on a more up-front and dry sound. As for the mix, they had already hired someone else to do this, so I had no say in that. But it's still a classic metal album, and the sound has inspired a whole new generation of metal bands.
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