June 3, 2009

METALLICA frontman James Hetfield was interviewed for the July 2009 issue of U.K.'s Classic Rock magazine. A few excerpts from the lengthy chat follow below.

Classic Rock: Were you glad to see the back of [former METALLICA guitarist and current MEGADETH leader] Dave Mustaine?

Hetfield: I don't know if "glad" is the right word, but it was necessary. There would have been myself, Lars [Ulrich, drums] and him all trying to drive and it would have been this triangulated mess. It's obvious that he had the same drive as us — he went on to do great things in MEGADETH. The way things are now, the character dynamics, Lars and I are one half of the scale with Rob [Trujillo, bass] and Kirk [Hammett, guitar] on the other. They're great idea people but very good at being okay with someone else driving. It does take that, I think. They're very un-ego-driven and Lars and I are the other way, it seems. That's what I've been told. [Laughs] So back then Dave had to go.

Classic Rock: In "Some Kind Of Monster", he seems fairly unhappy about that.

Hetfield: He's an amazing, talented person. Maybe just part of his character is having a chip on his shoulder. If I got kicked out of METALLICA, I would have one too. Ron McGovney, our first bass player — very big chip on his shoulder. They're never able to really be comfortable in the now, and that's tough to see. Lars did say that too in the interview: "Can't you see what you've done?" But none of that matters because he's chasing something unreachable.

Classic Rock: Were you uncomfortable with the band's new image for "Load"?

Hetfield: Most definitely. Lars and Kirk drove on those records. The whole "We need to reinvent ourselves" topic was up. Image is not an evil thing for me, but if the image is not you, then it doesn't make much sense. I think they were really after a U2 kind of vibe, Bono doing his alter ego.

I couldn't get into it. The whole, "Okay, now in this photoshoot we're going to be '70s glam rockers." Like, what? I would say half — at least half — the pictures that were to be in the booklet, I yanked out. The whole cover thing, it went against what I was feeling.

Classic Rock: What didn't you like about the cover?

Hetfield: [Laughs] How can I put this? I guess when I talked [earlier in the interview] about the resentments of being left out of the bond that they had through their drug use — Lars and Kirk were very into abstract art, pretending they were gay. I think they knew it bugged me. It was a statement around all that. I love art, but not for the sake of shocking others. I think the cover of "Load" was just a piss-take around all that. I just went along with the make-up and all of this crazy, stupid shit that they felt they needed to do.

Classic Rock: A lot was made of the haircuts at the time. Was that a group decision?

Hetfield: [Laughs] It wasn't like we went in together and went, "Hey, can we get a deal on four haircuts?" It just slowly happened, with age, thinning hair. Long hair just didn't feel right anymore.

Classic Rock: Musically, was that the first time METALLICA was unsure?

Hetfield: I would say so. That whole period. Why do we need to reinvent ourselves? A lot of the fans got turned off quite a bit by the music, but mostly, I think, by the image.

Classic Rock: Were you uneasy about Kirk and Lars kissing in the photographs?

Hetfield: Totally. That's why they did it. I'm the driving force behind their homosexual adventures. I think drugs had something to do with it too. I hope. [Laughs] There are many times in our career that people have jumped ship, and that's going to happen. It's more hurtful to hear, "Okay, people are stomping METALLICA records because they're suing Napster."

Find more on
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • reddit
  • email

Comments Disclaimer And Information

BLABBERMOUTH.NET uses the Facebook Comments plugin to let people comment on content on the site using their Facebook account. The comments reside on Facebook servers and are not stored on BLABBERMOUTH.NET. To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@) with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).