Britain's Metal Hammer magazine (web site) recently conducted an exlusive interview with METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich about the progress of the recording sessions for the group's new album, among other topics. A few excerpts from the chat follow:
Metal Hammer: How easy was it to can Bob Rock?
Lars: [Frowning]: "That's not a term I'd like to use. We'd been making records together for almost 20 years. That's as creative a relationship as you can come up with in music, film...just about anything. But it had got to a point where we would both finish each other's sentences. We needed to look somewhere else for our own sanity, survival and fulfillment."
Metal Hammer: Kirk [Hammett] has said that although this is METALLICA's 11th studio album. It feels like the band's sixth. Does a part of you consider "St. Anger" was a mistake?
Lars: "Not at all. The mistake was the white leather jacket [worn in the drummer's infamous rock star phase, circa a stadiom tour with GUNS N' ROSES in 1992]. The Napster dispute wasn't a mistake, but it caught us off guard. The music has always been pure. It was the right thing to have done in 2003. That said, I listened to it a couple of months ago and it's a difficult record. I can hear that. But when I finished it, it made me do the same kind of backflips as all the other records."
Metal Hammer: You must've known that after the whole "Some Kind of Monster" thing, some people — including Kerry King [of SLAYER] who called you "fragile old men" — would never take the band seriously again.
Lars: "Oh listen, the reason we did that movie was to piss Kerry King off. Being the source of his amusement, that's great!"
Metal Hammer: As fascinating as it looked on screen, wouldn't it have been better to keep those things behind closed doors?
Lars: "There's certainly an argument for that. But right from day one, METALLICA has always been about the relationship with the fans. Unlike bands like LED ZEPPELIN who tried to keep things mystical, we've gone out of our way to be as accesible as possible. Our roots are alot more punk than that. 'Some Kind of Monster' was the logical conclusion of that mindset".
Metal Hammer: Then presumably you disagree with Kerry's ageist comments?
Lars: "Of course I do. If he hated 'Some Kind of Monster' that's the only stamp of approval that I need".
Metal Hammer: Does it feel like you owe anything to people who loved METALLICA in the early days but haven't liked too much of the band's music since the "Black Album?"
Lars: "Um, no. Not at all. I've a responsibility to my kids and to my lady to be a good partner. Also to myself, to create music that's honest, real and gets all three inches of my dick hard. Of course it's great to have as many people along for the ride as possibe. But when we put acoustic guitar into 'Fade To Black' 200 years ago, that's when the moaning started. We realized those people would always be around whatever we did. So, basically, we stopped trying to please them a long time ago."
To order a copy of the new issue of Metal Hammer containing the Lars Ulrich interview, visit www.metalhammer.co.uk.